Babysitting in your club, whether it’s free or not, can be a great point of differentiation. It can also be a great opportunity to engage the parents as well as the children. The fundamentals of engaging children and positive discipline can elevate your babysitting area to a higher level. Create a Kid’s Club that your members will enjoy and appreciate — and what a great way to create future customers!
4 Fundamentals of Engaging Children
These are the four most important things to remember when engaging children. Through these four fundamentals you will ensure that all children are receiving the highest quality experience every time they walk into your facility.
1. Be Prepared: Being prepared allows us as leaders of children to be confident that they will receive a high quality experience. This will also enable you to engage a larger variety of children because of your anticipation of the reluctance they may have to participating in the activity.
2. Enthusiasm: Enthusiasm is contagious! If you are enthusiastic about the activity then the children are sure to feel the same. By presenting with enthusiasm you can make a seemingly boring activity come to life.
3. Don’t Take No For An Answer: Be persistent in asking children to participate in the activity. Children are likely to say that they do not want to participate in an activity if they feel uncomfortable, so don’t ask if they want to join-in, just assume they do.
4. Respect: Children are deserving of the same respect that you expect from them. If you are respectful to them they are likely to show the same respect to everyone else they encounter in your facility.
4 Steps of Positive Discipline
There will come a time when disciplining a child or redirecting a child’s behavior will be appropriate. These are the steps to follow when this type of event occurs.
1. Ask For Appropriate Behavior: This is simply asking the child what it is you would like them to do. For example, right way — “Please walk.” Wrong way — “Don’t run.”
2. Positive Practice: Children are more likely to perform the last behavior in the future. Practicing the correct behavior helps increase the probability of getting the correct behavior to occur more often. Praising the child when he/she performs the appropriate behavior further increases the likelihood of compliance in the future. — “Go back and walk please. Thank you!”
3. Over Correction: Practicing an appropriate behavior increases the probability of that behavior becoming part of their repertoire. When a behavior is practiced multiple times the probability of it becoming automatic also increases. When you over correct you hope that the child then creates a bond between the situation and the response. As a result of the practice the response becomes automatic. — “Since we have talked about throwing blocks before and you are still not listening, I now need you to pick up the block you threw and five more.”
4. Go Over Rules And Give Choices: If steps one through three have not been effective, then the child may need clarification of what it is you want them to do. To motivate the child, explain the rules and why they are in place. They can comply with the rule or we will have to call their parent.
Shawn Stewart is the Operations Manager at Gainesville Health and Fitness Center. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org