This July I spent two full weeks in gorgeous Martha’s Vineyard babysitting for a family I’ve known for nearly six years. I cared for two young girls in the small village of Edgartown, MA.
Each day was a new adventure, but each was carefully mapped out to make sure we got everything we wanted accomplished. We’d start off the day at The Katama Store with a freshly brewed cup of Joe & some delicious pastries. Then it was off to take the youngest to camp. We packed her up for the day: sunscreen, towel, lunch, sunglasses, etc. Everyday we’d ride over to island on the Chappy Ferry where Jessie the driver would pick up passengers & take them to the beach club. Parents & sitters would set up shop on the beach while the lil’ ones were at camp until 1:30 p.m. Then it was family beach time followed by play date, another lesson, ice cream or bike ride. We’d take the kids back abound 5 p.m. to shower and then make or go out to dinner. Then it was wind down time.
I learned the importance of routine during this trip.
Every task was clear, the kids knew what to expect, I knew where I needed to be, how I could best help and everyone seemed happy! Now if we had a change of plans no big deal, just having a general layout of the day made confusing new plans seem completely organized & efficient because of our routine.
For instance at bedtime, which was 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. respectively, the girls knew when I said it was time for bed what they needed to do. We’d go brush our teeth, gather all their stuffed animals to snuggle with, book, song, prayer, and lights out!
Now sometimes bedtime got extended for some ‘reason’. Over the years babysitting this particular family I have a special trick whenever the kids won’t go to bed. It’s called ‘one for the money’. I learned this from my great-grandfather growing up. It basically consists of me tossing the kids on the bed, but they will do ANYTHING for it. And after all these years, this routine has stuck & works! So, if your kids won’t go to sleep when asked, I encourage you to come up with your own unique trick that the kids will always remember and listen when it’s bedtime.
Another good example, at my cousin’s house they are firm believers in routines and have a nighttime routine that they do not like to break. They call it the “3 B’s”…BATH, BOTTLE, and BEDTIME STORY!!!! My cousin started this routine with her daughter when she was very lil’ and it has paid off for a very easy bedtime, sometimes her daughter even asks to go to bed on her own. Wow!
All in all I followed the bedtime process each night per the moms request and it seemed to calm the girls and surely made my job easier.
I haven’t always been one for routines, but as I get older and practice my own I actually prefer them. Routine brings a sense of calmness & efficiency. I found it rewarding planning out the day & checking off the list of activities we accomplished.
I loved my time in the Vineyard & hope it’s not my last. There is nothing better than feeling like part of the family in a new place and having a routine already intact!
Lindsay Bell is the co-founder of Lucky Lil’ Darlings (LLD), an elite family care solutions company providing corporate and family focused babysitting, parent-centric events and inspiring commentary on child care, kids and family focused products. Prior to launching LLD, Lindsay worked in communications for the Radio City Rockettes and as a Marketing Manager for boutique marketing and PR agencies in NYC. For more information on Lindsay and LLD visit www.luckylildarlings.com or follow Lindsay on Twitter @LindsayBellNYC