Arrive to a babysitting job armed with toys and activities.

What to Take When Babysitting a Toddler

by Crystal Bonser

Toddlers have a way of transforming from cuddly little angels to rambunctious terrors in a matter of seconds. The combination of their high energy levels, short attention spans and not-so-clear communication skills can result in overwhelmed babysitters trying frantically to please the toddlers they are caring for. A babysitter can gain control of the situation by arriving armed with an activity bag full of items that will entertain and delight a toddler until his parents return home.

1. Music

Toddlers love jumping around and acting silly to upbeat music, so throw some child-friendly CDs into your activity bag. When the toddler you're caring for is bouncing off the walls, pop in a CD to burn off some excess energy. Play dance freeze, sing into hairbrushes or make up simple dance routines. By the time you're done, the toddler will be happy and tuckered out.

2. Books

Although the toddler you're caring for probably has a collection of books, new books are always exciting, so add a few to your activity bag. Books appropriate for a toddler include those with repetitive text that will allow her to join in as you read, colorful illustrations that will hold her attention and interactive books that will stimulate her senses. Books for toddlers should also be limited to one sentence per page and durable enough with withstand a toddler's abuse.

3. Toys

Again, the toddler you're caring for will have his own toys, but it never hurts to take a few extra. Toddlers enjoy toys that they can manipulate, so pack some building blocks, jumbo-size interlocking toy bricks, stacking cups or shape sorters. They also enjoy creative play, so a dress-up costume or some props would be suitable, as well as dolls to care for or play cars to role play with.

4. Baking Supplies

Baking is a fascinating process to a toddler, and the end result is nothing short of magical. Arrive prepared by adding baking ingredients in small plastic containers to your activity bag. The toddler can get involved by pouring ingredients into a bowl, mixing them together, rolling out dough and decorating whatever it is that you're baking. Be prepared -- it will get messy, but that's half the fun!

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