How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jen Helant Your Own Question
Jen Helant
Jen Helant, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1386
Experience:  I have my bachelors degree in psychology. I worked with children. Since then I have raised and still raising 3 wonderful boys.
Type Your Parenting Question Here...
Jen Helant is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Child focused caregiving

Customer Question

Is there anything written about adult child caregivers being a bad idea for children if the focus of the hours are strictly for play?

When children end up being the focus as a result of parents hiring the babysitter to "devote her time strictly for playing games and providing FUN to the children, does this make the children feel entitlement or grandiose to have had the full time attention of the nanny? And the result would be that the nanny will have a harder time to obtain co-operation from the children?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.
I believe that what you are explaining comes from more aspects then just babysitting. It matters mostly how parents teach and discipline their children as well as the values they instill within them that will determine their behavior. The personality of the child also plays a role
Each parent should go over the rules and what they expect with the babysitter. However, in my opinion I always believed that a babysitter should follow the rules of the house and the children should obey in the same manner as if it were their parents. Wise parents would usually expect this as well. There still should be limits, expectations , and patience. I believe the problem starts when the parents do not set these rules and etc with their children, so when they are non existent their babysitter has a much harder time than with the ones that have actually laid a better foundation in regards ***** ***** Also, depending on the age of the child there should be structural activities balanced with play just as if the parent was there. All in all I believe this stems from the type of parenting the child is receiving. This will reflect the manner in which he or she treats and cooperates with their babysitter and others as well.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I specifically refer to let's say an older childcare provider who is say 55 years old and getting on the floor with an 8 year old boy or girl and playing trains or with the childs toys. I feel those types of toys are for imaginative play without a caregiver. The caregiver could play games which require more than one person. WIth imaginative play, the child desires to imagine and play and create their own fantasy play and a caregiver is intrusive and there is more probability for a child to have interference with their fantasy play. Is there anything written about this?

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.
I understand what you are saying and I believe this can be an issue whether or not the child has a babysitter as this can even happen with their own parents. Children should have time to engage in solo play at any age while also having a balance of play with other children or even an adult. There is nothing wrong with the caregiver playing trains with the child, but it would also be healthy for the child to play alone as well. If the caregiver's time is limited then it would be best to choose games or toys for two players and save the things that the child can do alone for when the caregiver is busy with other things, such as cooking or etc. If the caregiver has lots of free time then it still can be all balanced between solo play and interaction with the caregiver.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The thing is that sometimes I get hired specifically to play, play, play and the parents want the sitter to play with the child. Sometimes the child wants to play something very imaginative like with swords or something very active where the child urges the caregiver to play a certain roll..... but the play acting might be a bit "childish"....

I am wondering if allowing the child to dictate the play and the level of fun gets too silly, then the child and caregiver become closer on the same level which decreases the respect toward the caregiver for when it comes time for rules or bedtime or something the child opposes. The child feels too comfortable and can easily challenge the caregiver.

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.
I understand where you are coming from. However, if the parents are hiring you to play then that is fine. It is okay to have fun, be silly, and creative as well as go by their dictation. However, you would need to set boundaries when it comes to rules. Play is play and serious time is serious time. Regardless if you become "silly" when you are playing or not they need to know that respect is always and there are even limits within the play. Also, when it is time for bed or etc rules are meant to be followed. If you have an issue due to this I would speak to the parent because in general it should not be an issue, but I do see how that could happen especially with certain children. One thing I always tell my own children is that there is a time for everything. There is a time to play and a time to be serious. I expect them to know these times and this goes for whether or not I was playing with them because sometimes children will continue their silliness way after playtime even when playing amongst themselves.
Hope that helped!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

For "certain children" usually a capricious child whom I only had the pleasure of caring for 4 times so far in the last 40 years, i noticed that they will defy or stir up conflict by being unco-operative.....

I am wondering if getting too close on their level or making myself too easy to access or I accommodate them to play their way at all times, too often they get frazzled when they need to collaborate. They overpower can make me lose my authority when it is time for them to comply and they won't.

Can you direct me to any links on why we lose authority?

Expert:  Jen Helant replied 2 years ago.
I have answered your original question plus 2 follow ups. I apologize, but in order to continue above and beyond your original question you would need to rate my answer before moving forward. You can then ask me any follow up, which is included. For additional information outside your original question you can accept the additional services or ask a new question.
Thanks so much!