It can be daunting for your children to meet their babysitter for the first time.
They may be hesitant to trust the babysitter.
They may feel ill at ease with the babysitter speaking a different language in front of them.
They may be shy and scared about being away from mummy and daddy at times.
Your children learn by imitating you. Use it as a force for good. Prepare some icebreaker activities for the whole family on the first day with the babysitter and make sure you get involved in them.
Icebreakers could be a very effective substitute for an awkward small talk when introducing the babysitter to your children. They will make your children feel more comfortable with the babysitter from the very beginning.
Icebreakers set the tone for all the future babysitter-child interactions. Your children will be so excited to see their babysitter again because from then onwards speaking English will be fun for them.
All children have one thing in common: they want to play.
Icebreaker is a response to their invitation, which they seem to have written on their foreheads. Babysitters will usually have prepared a list of activities and crafts to play with your children but on the first day it is very important that the whole family gets actively involved in the icebreaking activities. Here are some examples of them to get inspired:
This is a really fun icebreaker game, especially for a bigger family.
How to play: You can be the caller who calls:
“Everyone please now line up…“
Your children will have to interact among themselves and with the babysitter to line up correctly.
This is a good icebraker game for children of all ages, although, you might need to help your younger children.
How to play: On the paper, your children draw a stick to represent themselves. Then they draw lines coming from the figure. At the end of these lines, they write numbers, nouns that have significance to them. Then the babysitter asks questions that these words and numbers may be the answer to. Babysitter: “Is green your favourite colour?” Your child: “Yes, green is my favourite colour.” Your children take turn and later they swap with the babysitter.
This is an excellent icebreaker game to play even with children as young as 3.
How to play: Everyone stands in a circle. You can start off the game by throwing a ball at someone in the circle and asking a question at the same time – such as “What’s your name?”, “Do you have a pet?” What´s your favourite colour?” and so on. The person who catches the ball must answer the question and then throw it on and ask their own question. The game works best if you keep it moving quite quickly, so you may have to step in to prod very young children.
This game is good for children of all ages. You would need to help younger children though to prepare the statements. How to play: The babysitter starts by telling you and your children two truths and one lie about himself/herself, in any order. S/he must try to mix them up and use a “poker face” so that all three could be believable “truths”. Your children try to guess which was the lie. Then the babysitter swaps with your children. An example: Your 9-year old child says: I´m 10-year old. I like football. I don´t like tomatoes. Obviously the lie is the first statement. With the older children, you can encourage them to prepare some tricky statements.
This game can be a great fun. Depending on the children´s age, you might need to adapt the game and even use the pictures.
How to play: Before the babysitter arrives, prepare sticky nametags with the colours, animals, food, vegetable and fruit, famous people. For example, e.g.: Superman, banana, green, tomato, mouse. Then you can stick labels on the babysitter´s and your children´s forehead. Once everyone has a nametag on their foreheads, they must figure out who/ what they are, only asking “Yes” or “No” questions to gain clues about the name that is on their forehead.
These were just some examples. You can get more inspirations on Google/ Youtube depending on your children´s age and preferences. A very good idea would be to contact your babysitter before her coming to your house and together plan some icebreaker activities your children will never forget.
“In every job that must be done. There is an element of fun.” Adopt these Mary Poppins´ words and have fun with icebreakers.
Remember, the first impression is the last impression. Once the babysitter wins your children´s hearts, playing in English with their “Marry Poppins” will be the only thing your children will be keen on.