No one wakes up in the morning expecting to abuse a child. It happens, but there are ways to stop child abuse.
Anyone can lose their cool when frustrated with a child’s behavior, whether it’s a sitter, the teenager next door, a friend watching your child for a few hours, your significant other — or even you.
These eight tips can help anyone stop child abuse.
Crying is not about you
Babies and children will cry. Babies may cry because they’re tired, hungry or need their diaper changed. Children may cry because they don’t know how to tell you what they want, or they’re frustrated. Both babies and children may cry for no apparent reason. They do not cry to be bad or make you angry. Crying is not about you.
Establish a safe place
When a child is crying, it’s normal to feel frustrated. If you feel like you’re going to lose your cool, put the child on his or her back in a safe place — tell the sitter where your child likes to go and is comfortable, such as in the crib or the middle of the floor.
Call for help
If you need support or someone to talk to (also consider leaving this information for your baby sitter):
Learn more about preventing child abuse and what to do if you suspect abuse at DontHurtChildren.com.
Leave a checklist
Leave a list of things to check when baby is crying:
- Dirty diaper?
- Hot or cold?
- Scared and needs a hug?
Distraction, distraction, distraction
Be sure your sitter knows your child’s favorite toy or distraction. Sometimes there’s that one toy, book or cartoon that can short-circuit a tantrum.
Fun and games
Write down your child’s favorite game. Sometimes there’s that silly game that turns things around. Blowing raspberries, tummy kisses, gentle tickling, whatever. Make sure everyone knows what it is this week.
Avoid the crash
Encourage your sitter to stick to nap times and/or bedtimes. Children who are tired get cranky. They may seem overly energetic and not ready for bed. But that burst of energy can precede a huge crash, leading to frustration.
If your child is toilet training, be sure the sitter knows that there may be accidents, and that’s OK. Simply explain what to do with any soiled clothing and what to do if the mess gets spread around.
Know the number
Write down some phone numbers of people the sitter can call in a time of frustration, if you’re not available. Having someone else to talk to often can help calm someone down.