Most of the time I teach a class of kindergarten students, but I also “babysit” three to six students each year. We’ve talked about the difference in class and I now call attention to my services by asking “Do you need a babysitter?” That is their cue that they are not behaving responsibly. We have discussed using their brains to make good choices, but many are so accustomed to parents making every choice for them that they have very little experience with the concept.
Here are some characteristics of a child who needs a babysitter:
- Behaves only under direct supervision because he/she has no sense of personal safety or responsibility. Example: Would your child look both ways before crossing the street if you were not there to remind him? If you gave your child a task to do and left him/her alone in the room for five to ten minutes, would they still be doing it when you returned?
- Will do whatever he/she chooses if there is little chance of “getting caught”. Example: I have a student who routinely misbehaves (very quietly) when I am tutoring other students, but his actions always escalate to the point of disturbing the whole room.
- Frequently gets in trouble in the bathroom, in line, in the cafeteria, library- any “less structured” environment. Example: I have two students who only grab other classmates, spin, yell, throw things, or run when they are out of our classroom. They both misbehaved yesterday during our photo session.
- Is self-involved to the point of having very little awareness of others or surroundings. Example: Isn’t aware of transitions. Doesn’t remember the next activity on the schedule even though it is the same each day. Frequently fails to line up with the class. Generally doesn’t listen to instructions because he/she is waiting for the moment-by-moment guidance they usually get at home.
- Has no personal interest in learning and merely goes through the motions of performance in order to be relieved of the task at hand. Example: Child is not curious about the “next step” or motivated to do more or to improve. Never asks more questions about our current theme. Never comes to my desk to proudly say “I know what 10+10 is!” or anything else, because he/she is just passing the time until recess. And no, I’m not talking about children with academic difficulties. I’m talking about children who don’t care about learning.
Does your child need a babysitter?