The parents have left, dinner is done, and the kids are waiting to have fun. They're too old for coloring books, but too young to play tackle football in the backyard. What is there to do? Watching television is an option but you want to leave a good impression on both children and parents. From personal experience, here are the best things to do to be considered the best babysitter on the block.
Make a movie
(All ages): This requires a decent camera or iPhone, some willing children, and imagination. Some of the best nights I've had babysitting involved high-tech camera angles and silly actors. The best part? Getting to keep the movie and rewatching it whenever you want. Leave a copy for the family, too. You'll get a "two thumbs up" family-wide.
Bake a cake
(All ages): Even with little ones, making any type of treat is always fun and delicious. The older ones can mix and stir and the younger ones can decorate. Allow each child to make their own mini-cake and have a decorating contest. Offer bonus points for being able to eat your fabulous creation.
Go to the park
(All ages): While the baby plays in the stroller, you'll be able to watch everyone at the local park. If the kids are older, bring a ball or Frisbee. It's cheap, easy, and fun!
Let each child pick his or her favorite activity
Throughout the night, each child will feel special as you all play his favorite game or watch her selected movie. The other kids will become more excited as their turn awaits, and it will be fun and fair for all.
Use your resources
Can you drive? Ask permission from the parents, then go get ice cream. Is there a trampoline in the backyard? Use the activities around you to get creative and keep the night exciting. The best babysitter secret is this: The more you wear them out, the faster they will fall asleep!
Then, after a long night of fun and games, the parents will come home and ask their children how the night went. After using these tips and tricks, don't be surprised when the kids won't stop talking about the great night they've had. Better yet, you'll be invited back again. Don't worry about being fun all the time, the important thing is staying positive. Find a balance between being a "ball of everlasting energy" and a "calm, collected caregiver" for the night. When you find fun things to do as a babysitter, time will fly.
Jenna Koford is on the content team at FamilyShare. She graduated with a degree in Communications—Journalism and a minor in editing. Jenna enjoys painting and calligraphy, planning a wedding, and Pinterest and Netflix.