OT: Babysitting Concern (long)

So i’ve been babysitting a 3 yr old (we’ll call them Jamie) since April and I’m suppose to be doing it until some time in August because they’re moving. So far it’s had minor ups and downs but now i’ve run into a new problem/concern.

I have 2 kids of my own (DS 4-5 and DD 3) They all usually play fine with each other but recently, just this past week, Jamie’s been acting very…for lack of a better word bratty…when it comes to playing. All of a sudden Jamie wants everything, doesn’t want to share any of my kids toy with them, if they don’t get what they want they pout to a point were they’ve actually started saying…I’m not happy here i want to go home…and then Jamie makes the “i’m about to cry” face. So, I’m a little concerned becuase it just started happening and i don’t know why. They all played and shared just fine before and now there’s all this fighting, mostly yelling and pulling of toys. I’m doing the whole take turns and share talk but it doesn’t seem to be working with the Jamie. Jamie just says “NO!!!” and then goes and pouts and again does the “i’m about to cry” face. Now it’s at a point were my kids DON’T want to play with Jamie. Today, I was watching them and when Jamie came over to play with my kids, my kids said (and i can’t believe they actually said this) “We don’t want to play with you anymore you don’t share and you cry all the time.” Then they walked away to go play somewhere else and when Jamie tried to follow they said go away. I told them not to do that and that they should be nicer to him. I know they said this because before i started babysitting i use tell them that if DD or DS wasn’t being nice to the other that they shouldn’t play with them for the time being…I didn’t actually think they’d hang onto the “advice” and actually use it with other children…Anyways, so Jamie was SUPER pouting whining upset and was saying they wants their mommy and that they’re not happy here and they want to go home …I’ve tried to calmly and super nicely explain jamie that they need to be nice, share, etc. but jamie doesn’t seem to be listening AT ALL…like they’re just zoneing me out, not even looking at me. I’ve talked with the parents but they really don’t seem to be concerned or doing anything about it they just say “oh ok sorry about that.” What do you guys think. They’re only 3 and 4 yrs old and there’s all this tension. Now i’m just kind of waiting it out because i’ve run out of ideas. Any advice or opinions (good and bad) would be appreciated.


it’s possible he is reacting to the upcoming move. kids tend to misbehave or have behavioral (sp?:oo:) problems when something big changes in their life. a move, a new sibling, new daycare or a parental change (new parent, new job, new hours, divorce ect)
maybe the parents recently packe up a significant plained amount of stuff and/or explained whats going on to jaime, hence the change :shrug:

humm i didn’t think of that thanks that could be it… I know they move a lot because of their jobs.

When it comes to little ones, when the are the least lovable is when they need love the most. But kids also crave boundaries and stability.

First off, if all the sudden he doesn’t want to share I would strongly suspect that he has had something/someone disappear on him recently. As jeanius said, perhaps they packed up some of his stuff. In his mind he cant see it, so its simply gone. That can set him up for a fear that anyone or anything can disappear on him at any given time unless he has control over it-hence the refusal to share whatever he is coveting at the moment.

The “about to cry” face is fine. I would be much more worried if he had a poker face. But it also sounds like he wants to reach out but isn’t sure how.

It could be angst about the move. You have to wonder what a “move” is to him. What is this move you speak of? What does it mean? If he has never seen this new place, he may not have a clear understanding of what a move is, only that they are leaving. Does he understand that when they say “we” are moving, they mean to include him? It seems simple to us, but kids percieve things differently.

If this happened in a school environment (I used to teach preschool) I would sit down with all 3 kids and discuss it briefly. Basically I would validate everyones feelings, and have your kids tell Jamie what he can do to make them want to play with him. Then repeat it back to Jamie in short sentences making sure he understands each part of what your kids have expressed, as well as the consequences if he chooses not to comply.

I would also give this kid some extra hugs because it sounds like he is really insecure right now and acting out a bit. I would also bet that this lack of sharing is demonstrated by him being more physical than verbal. It sounds like he just doesn’t have a way to express whatever he is feeling.

I’m with the others- I would bet it has a lot to do with the move. I would talk to Jamie’s parents, outside of his hearing if you can, and explain that you think he’s having some anxiety about the move. Then I would explain to your kids the same thing, and that they should try to be a little nicer because of understanding what he’s going through. Difficult for your little ones to understand, maybe, but also a good life lesson. I actually think it might be good that your kids are exercising their right to not play with him, rather than letting their frustration levels get high and acting out towards him. Hopefully they’ll be willing to give him extra chances given what’s going on in his life, but I think as long as it’s reasonable, they should be allowed to choose not to play with him. You can talk to him about that yourself and explain why they don’t want to play with him- or maybe just include it in your talk with his parents.

I agree with the above- I think you should also be pleased that your children are expressing themselves appropriately and not just whacking him with a toy and running away or something. While you do want your kids to be understanding (and explaining to them that this kid is upset about the move or something will help) it sounds like the kid also needs to have the house rules re-iterated each day. (maybe many times a day)
we share
we don’t do that (grab, whine, yell) at our house
in our house everyone gets a turn
if you are angry (sad, frustrated) here is what we do (insert appropriate venting method here, like “use words”; “run around the yard 3 times” “dig a deep hole in the sandbox then fill it in” “scribble with crayons”)
crying/whining doesn’t change my mind
crying/whining doesn’t get what you want

mini-time outs (1 minute/ year of age) really helped when dd was 3 and 4 and having trouble with playdates. it gave her a chance to calm down and then we would try again. (this doesn’t work with all kids- some can really keep themselves worked up.)

Even now we talk about the house rules; or appropriate behavior when big events are coming up. she knows what is expected of her and really wants to be good.

(and sometimes kids just need to work it out between themselves- but it sounds like this one is too little for that)

good luck finding something that works for you…

The only time kids I’ve watched have gone through this kind of behavior is when their parents were not getting along and were arguing more with each other than they were paying attention to the little ones. JMO

Thanks you guys all your opinions and advise is greatly appreciated!!! I think you’re right it’s probably because they’re going to be moving AGAIN (really they move a lot) and Jamie’s just acting out. I also think it’s because he’s not getting enough time with his “both” parents at the same time. They work [B]a lot[/B] so when he does spend time with them it’s only 1 parent at a time because their off days arent on the same day. By the time the other parent gets home Jamies already a sleep or they keep him awake longer than he should be because some days he’s really tired when he comes over. There are house rules very easy to say I use to go over it daily with my kids before i should probably start doing that with all of them. Well i’ll give it a go and see what happens.

wondering how things are going? has jamies behavior gotten any better or worse?

I think you guys are right about Jamie acting out because of the up comeing move and that they just might need a little more TLC right now. I talked to my kids and told them to be a little nicer to Jamie and we’ve started doing the house rules again. It seems to be going well actually, I made little sticker charts for them so when they do good/nice things they get a sticker (thats how i did it with my kids before i started watching Jamie) and at the end of the week they all get a little treat. So hopefully it will help keep the peace and happiness in the house for a little while.