In Summary
  • VITAL. Ever stayed to babysit and it turns out you are not equipped on how the child reacts to certain things? Sarah Aanyu finds out what any child caretaker ought to know.

I did not know that children could get frightened by some TV programming until my nephew screamed when I left him enjoying what I thought was his favourite cartoon series.
Before long he jumped off the couch and tugged at my dress. I lifted him and immediately rushed in to check what exactly was scaring him or at worst cause harm to the child.

I looked around but could not find anything to blame but what got me more puzzled was him refusing to sit on his own and preferred to sit close to me, something he rarely does. I let him be and chose to watch with him. I saw the animation pop up and his mother told me he was afraid to watch that particular animation. I tuned to a different channel and the baby’s peace was restored.

Fragile people
Davina Grace Lochoro, an administrator and mother of two, says there are moments when a parent is in a fix and needs someone to babysit the youngsters. However, for them to fit in there takes a lot, that the person needs to know about the child you are leaving them to take care of.

“Children are fragile and not anyone can accept to look after another’s child but if someone is willing to fill the gap then the least a parent can do is make it easier for them,” says Lochoro, adding, “I failed to get someone to fill the gap for me because my son was cranky. I would sometimes fail to lull him, so I had to move with him to my workplace. This was unacceptable but I pleaded with the management to let me have him there until I could find someone to help out,” Lochoro recalls.

She says it is always good for you to prepare the individual in advance so that they are well versed with what the child likes, dislikes and what they are allergic to so that they do not panic in case the child throws tantrums.

Integrate the person into the child’s life
Esther Nabukwasi, a mother of three, says “Usually, I ask the person in question to come home at least for some hours, depending on their day’s schedule so that they can get familiar with the child and their daily routine.”

She says the person needs to be integrated into their lives so that it is easier to know what they need to do at what time of the day.

Choose wisely
On the contrary, Moses Mugume, a father of three and an artist, says a child should not just be left with anyone but those they are close to and familiar with because they already have a bond.

There is nothing as heart-breaking as finding your child left with a neighbour and you find him or her all dirty and playing in dangerous places without adult supervision yet he or she is allergic to what they are playing with.

“One day, my wife had to attend a burial and she left our child with a neighbour. She informed me so that I could get home earlier. On arrival, I found the child seated in the rubbish pit eating grapes that she had picked from there rubbish pit,” Mugume relates. Since she was allergic to grapes, he asked if his wife had told their neighbour about it in vain.

Points to note
Rose Mata, a nurse and a mother of five, says children are unpredictable, so there is a lot that should be let out so as to keep them sound and healthy. She says the first thing one should do is tell the person how the child’s food is to be cooked, how much they eat, what time they eat, how they are fed so that they do not have to struggle to feed the child or even pour food.

She further says they should know symptoms that the child shows in case they are not well so that they can seek medical attention on time but with this has to be a medical card, details of which hospital to go to and emergency money.

Sleep hours are crucial, every child has a different sleep schedule, so they become restless in different ways, so to know it will save the person the stress of having to deal with crankiness.

What to know
Rose Mata, a nurse and a mother of five, says allergies are common in children and it is only a parent who knows what kind of allergies their child suffers from, so cautioning the person in-charge will help a great deal.
She advises some first aid equipment and instructions on how to use should be left for the caretaker so that they are prepared.
Television content to be consumed by the children should also be stipulated just to be sure that the child’s mind will not be corrupted or left perturbed.