babysitting my 7 year old niece

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Risstopher's picture
Joined: 02/29/12
Posts: 627
babysitting my 7 year old niece

since i have not had a job all summer long and my sister in law and brother work - i have been watching my 7 year old niece for the majority of the summer. at max only 2 days a week because sis in law has off on thursdays and fridays and my sister would take her one of the other days if she could...

i think it's made me a littel apprehensive about being a good mother - i've never babysat before this summer, sure i've played with her and all that but never been the one in charge.

i've had some instances where she's given me grief but all in all she's a good kid (the worst part is sometimes she really doesn't listen, but she's 7 years old, it's not like she's a terror)...

the one thing i can't stand though is the only toys she brings over is her barbies and/or monster high dolls... she wants to play from the time she gets here (8:45) until she leaves (3:15) - I did it in the beginning of the summer, mid summer - i'd play half the day and come up with diversions - and now today i just can't do it.... i am nauseated, tired, cranky - the last thing i want to do is play barbies... part of the reason is because she plays the same game over and over and over again (the scenario lasts 5 minutes then we keep playing it over and over) and she orchestrates the whole thing, including what my dolls say (again she's 7 years old, it's her game, so it should be her imagination and whatnot but i wonder sometimes if she ever shares!)

my point is that i feel like will this make me a bad mother? but then i try to rationalize when i have my own kids, they'll have a lot more to keep them occupied, like books, arts and crafts and the such...and they'll be more in tune with me -- like this kid doesn't eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, no matter how hard i get her to try - i guess thats just not how they do it at her house (again i figure this may be a problem with my own)...

i dont know i asked her mother to send her over w/ something other than the dolls because i just can't handle this today, maybe i'm just hormonal... ='(

Kier's picture
Joined: 03/12/12
Posts: 1973

I can relate... and these are my own kids lol. I personally dont want barbies in my house... I hated them as the kid (they just never bend right) and I really think they give girls the wrong idea of what bodies look like (sorry, my own opinion). I think getting her to read, or coloring, and so on sounds great. Are you able to walk to a park so she can get out and play? Speaking of which, I really need to get mine out for a bit lol. As far as a food routine goes, some kids are just snackers. If you want her to eat an actual sit down type meal, just limit her snack intake. I do breakfast when we get up, then a snack around 10am.. then nothing till lunch, which is usually between noon and 1pm (depending on the day)... then, we have nap/rest time (my oldest is 6, so he sits in my bed and reads books while the other 2 sleep). Another thing you could try is getting some of those activity books with things to work on like writing, math and such. my DS1 loves those Smile

jgriffith's picture
Joined: 08/20/10
Posts: 420

One of the best things you can give your kids is a little neglect! Sounds funny, but everything today is about all the things you need to do for your kids and with your kids! It's important to teach them the world doesn't revolve around them. They can play by themselves sometimes. They can eat a meal you prepare. Teaching them these things makes you a good mother, not a bad one! It's not much help with your niece, because you are not her mother, but at least it gives you some ideas for your own kids!

claireCJ's picture
Joined: 04/04/12
Posts: 742

I understand your fears! I totally had fears about being a good mother before I had DS and I still do. I still question myself and his behavior from time to time, but I am starting to realize that everyone questions their parenting and their kids behavior. It's pretty normal to wonder if you are going a good job or if your kids are turning out okay. I am sure you will be a great mom and you will learn how to best discipline and direct your child based on their own personality and what you expect of them. It's hard with someone else's kid because they aren't your own and you don't get to set all the expectations. I often make time to play with DS, but I also have him play by himself when I need a break or need to do chores, etc. Some kids are better at entertaining themselves than others and mine is definitely one that wants to have someone around all the time, but he is starting to get better about playing alone. I just have to give him new ideas. I think it's great that you asked them to bring a different toy so y'all could do something else. I hope you feel better too!

Joined: 07/07/08
Posts: 325

You are not going to be a bad mother! Kids need to be able to play independently and grow their imaginations. If you constantly entertain them, they won't be able to do it on their own. Plus you won't be able to get anything done as well. My niece is much older than the other kids in our family, so when she was little all the adults "played" with her. She is now 8 and cannot play anything on her own. She constantly get's upset because the other younger kids will be out playing, but she has no one to play with her.

As for meals, all you can do is offer. She'll eat if she gets hungry. I always say in our house I'm not a short order cook. I make one meal, if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it. I have fruit and veggies you can have instead, but I am not making another meal.

Risstopher's picture
Joined: 02/29/12
Posts: 627

Kier - i love the routine you have with your kids! as for the coloring and stuff, i had her do that one day and ever since, she won't do it again! i don't know why, i always ask her, "wanna color?" and she says "no" -everything i offer to her she refuses because all she wants to do is play w/ these dolls.
and for the dolls and image - i agree with you more now than i ever did, if you've ever seen these monster high dolls - they are AWFUL, the skinniest bodies and the TINIEST clothes that don't even fit them right, because they're too small...

thanks jgriffith Smile i do try to make her understand that it's not always what she wants and when she wants...

thank God my Mom works up the block so we took a ride to her job (she's an elementary school secretary so she's just getting things prepared for september) - we killed some time up there, and my Mom (her Grandma) gave her $5 for the dollar store - she got some wrestlers LOL and let me make her tuna for lunch! the day is shaping up to be better than i had thought. so she ate her lunch, and she's happily playing w/ her wrestler dolls haha...

-x-Amber-x-'s picture
Joined: 10/08/06
Posts: 642

I agree that she should be able to play independantly, especially at 7 yrs old! Does she ever want to watch a television show? Or there are lots of educational computer games she could play too!

Joined: 02/17/12
Posts: 230

I have a 7yo DD and we don't do any type of barbie. I can't stand them! She should definitely be able to play independently! I hope you can figure out other ways to entertain her! My DD loves crafts, especially painting stuff...I just pick up those cheap .25 cent window catchers at Walmart and she will spend hours painting them. Or the .50 cent bottles of craft paint and some googly eyes make for some really cool painted rocks. Make monsters, bugs, etc. This is how I entertain 4 kids on a tight budget! Smile

And as far as food kids love it when I make food "fun." Like threading their fruits & veggies onto a kabob, or slicing apples and triangles of cheese - use a toothpick to skewer the chese to the apple wedge and you have a sail boat. Of couse I think kids should be expected to eat whatever they are served, but if you are introducing new food, it never hurts to jazz it up and make them excited about it!

I'm glad that today went well with her!

Risstopher's picture
Joined: 02/29/12
Posts: 627

i appreciate all of this advice because now i can keep it in mind for my baby when she comes Smile