Babysitting can sometimes be hard enough with kids who want your attention all of the time. When you add in a special need, things can be a little more complicated. I have a disability myself but I have also babysat children with special needs.
There are so many things that I could say about babysitting children with special needs but here are my top five tips:
1.Do your research. Make sure you get the diagnosis of the special need before you babysit and do some research on the special need. Every child is different but if you have never come in contact with this special need before, background information is very helpful.
2. Treat the child like everyone else. They just want to play and explore the world like any other child. They want to play want to play games, go to the park and play ball.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask the parents or child questions. If the child can talk, don’t hesitate to ask them for information about their special need. In addition, don’t forget to ask about what they like to do for fun and any other important pieces of information. If the child cannot talk then you are going to left to ask the parents for those important tidbits of information. Make sure that you get the parents phone numbers and don’t be afraid to text/call them with questions.
4. Stick to a routine. Often times children and especially children with special needs are very tied to a schedule and routine. Make sure that you try and stick to that routine especially if you are watching the children on a school night.
5. Have FUN! Above all, Have a wonderful time with the child. Babysitting should be fun despite the special need. These children just want love and acceptance like every other child.
Jessica Ebersole is a twenty-something who lives in Chicago and explores life through the eyes of someone with a disability. Jessica has cerebral palsy but she does not let that stop her. She spends her days at a children’s museum and enjoys serving the community in various ways. She loves spending time with family, connecting with friends and photography.