Caring for the Children: Guidelines

by cv harquail on May 15, 2008

Principle: We want you to help Child1 and Child2 grow into curious, happy, and friendly little children

  1. When on duty, your first priority should always be engaging with the children, facilitating and supporting their activities.
  2. Always be just a little bit early to pick up Child1 and Child2 at school. They get very nervous when they think they might have been forgotten.
  3. When you are on duty, stay close to the children — within “earshot” at the very least. You want to be able to hear what the children are up to so that you can intervene before they need help.
  4. When you are on duty but you’re not actively involved with playing with the children, you can prepare dinner, organize their toys or things, do laundry, or use that time to write in the journal about the children or learn more about taking care of children, about how children learn, and so on (reading books and magazines on child development). We’d love to talk about ideas or new things you learn.
  5. Keep a short journal of the children’s activities and important achievements each day, and share with us any interesting things or behavior problems that happen. This way we can keep track of things and develop strategies together. Keep the journal in the kitchen near the bulletin board.
  6. When you are on duty, do not make personal phone calls, use the computer or watch TV. It’s fine to listen to music if not too loud. Play children’s music that the children can listen/sing/dance to at some point during each day.
  7. You should pick up/put away toys, shoes, and dishes/cups at the end of each day. Make a sweep around the house before you go off duty. Put dishes in the dishwasher and clear up/put away whatever you use to cook the children’ meals.
  8. The children need your help with their chores — mostly just remind them and supervise them. Remind the children to put away their coats, shoes, dirty clothes, etc. Remind them to do their chores, such as setting the table, sweeping the kitchen floor, and feeding the dog.Remind the children to tidy up or put away their instruments after their music practice. Help to keep the corner closet tidy so that the children can place their coats, backpacks, lunchboxes, boots etc. in the appropriate places.
  9. Ask the children to help you out with basic tasks such as folding laundry and putting it away, making lunches, and organizing toys. Look for ways that the children can help you out with basic tasks and encourage them to participate. We want to encourage the children to put their toys away when they’re finished with them; however, we don’t need to worry about cleaning toys up every minute of the day.
  10. The children should tidy up the playroom and their kitchen play area once a day (with your help, if needed). The playroom needs to have a more serious cleaning up once a week (usually on Friday or Saturday before “movie night”). At this time, you and the children would sort toys into their proper bins, return games to their proper place on the shelves, organize bookshelves, put away art supplies, and empty the miscellaneous box Help keep the toys sorted into the proper bins.
  11. Turn off the lights in the playroom and laundry room when you come upstairs for more than a few minutes. Remind the children often to turn off the lights themselves, and if necessary send them back downstairs to turn off the lights. Also, help remind them to turn off the stereo.
  12. Do the children’s laundry (wash, dry, iron if necessary, fold, and put away) each week. Take special care to pre-treat stains and wash/dry clothes on the proper settings. Sew on loose buttons. Change the sheets on the children’s beds once per week, but don’t wash their bedspreads (I do that myself). If you have any doubts about how something should be cleaned or laundered, just ask.
  13. Help the children keep their toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, hairbrushes and hair ties neatly in their appropriate places. Let us know when we are running low on supplies.
  14. Be the communication link between the children’ school and home—bring home notices, pass on information from teachers and other parents, and so on. Ask the children to unpack their school folders each day, and have them need these papers neatly on the kitchen counter. Ask the children to look at their homework assignments. Keep an eye out for forms that need to be filled out or that have been filled out. Asked the children to repack their knapsacks and to check and make sure they have their homework and any other important papers.
  15. Take charge of arranging playdates. You can be the authority with regard to planning activities. Put all playdates on the calendar to avoid scheduling conflicts. Only agree to have someone come over if it makes sense and feels comfortable to you and to the children. Also, only schedule playdates for days in the children don’t have other activities, and make sure that the children do their homework and their music practicing before the play begins.
  16. On movie night and on other special occasions, you can order in pizza or take the children out to The Pizza Place. Use the “pizza money” in the kitchen drawer. Tell MOM when we are running low on “pizza money.”Don’t buy the children candy or ice cream without clearing it with us first.
  17. Set up “art projects” in the basement for the children. Use the easel and splat mats and whatever materials you want from the art box in the laundry room. Teach the children to put supplies away neatly. Let MOM know if there are any art supplies or tools you’d like us to buy.
  18. With regard to discipline, use the 1-2-3-time-out system. Use automatic timeouts for hitting, throwing or any really mean behavior. Encourage Child1 and Child2 to “use their words” when they are angry. Being angry is normal, but hitting is not allowed.
  19. Give a “yes” to every “no”. When you need to tell the children “no you can’t do that”, follow up immediately with a suggestion or two about what they can do “You can’t hit your sister but you can tell her you’re angry.”

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