Your child’s time with her caregiver might consist of eating snacks, playing with toys or playing games like hide-and-seek. But you can also ask the caregiver to do activities to help your child with learning and attention issues. Here are some things you might consider.
Suggest games you know your child enjoys.
Your child might already have some activities she enjoys doing. Give the caregiver specifics, such as, “Rebecca likes to play the card game Memory. She’s good at it and it helps her focus. That would be great for you guys to play tonight.”
Look for games where there isn’t a lot of competition. Kids with learning and attention issues are sensitive to what they can’t do. Some board games that might be good include Snail’s Pace Race for younger kids, and bingo and Uno, which are played fairly quickly so there could be several winners. You may not want to suggest games with a lot of competition, which may frustrate your child.
Another activity to suggest is a guessing game in which your child says something like, “I am thinking of an animal…” or “Would you rather….”
Try new games.
While it’s good to play games your child already knows and is good at, she may enjoy learning new games. Try to match games to her abilities. And when teaching new games, keep directions clear and simple.
Encourage the caregiver to show your child how to play rather than offering lengthy explanations before they play.
Get busy in the kitchen.
Whether your child is helping decorate cupcakes or make something more elaborate, cooking can be a fun way to practice counting, reading and following directions. Cutting up a pie could help your child think about fractions, for instance.
In the era of tablet computers and smartphones, it’s easy to forget that there is plenty of low-tech entertainment that can be educational. And it’s right outside your door! In the backyard or at a park, the caregiver can help your child notice patterns, such as rings on a tree stump.
Stuck in house on a rainy day? Your child could look out a window with the caregiver and practice making predictions, such as guessing how many red cars will drive by and then keeping count.
Make the time go faster.
Doing educational activities may seem like more work, but it can make the time go faster. When your child is engaged in what she’s doing, that makes things easier and more fun for the caregiver.
Being willing to play with your child is a sign of a good babysitter. Here are other things to look for when choosing a caregiver.