If a young adult is interested in learning the wrong way to care for neighborhood kids or younger siblings, then I highly recommend reading SILENT TO THE BONE or KING OF THE MILD FRONTIER.
But if that young person would like to build a rep as a professional, safe, fun, and even educational baby-sitter, and make some bucks in the process, then THE WHAT TO EXPECT BABY-SITTER'S HANDBOOK is the book for them to read.
Providing practical information derived from the work of Piaget and Erikson without ever once having to mention them, this compact, well-organized guide will be equally beneficial to expectant teen parents, prospective aunties and uncles, and anyone else who is interested in the down-to-earth basics of child development and a wealth of information on keeping young kids happy, healthy, and engaged.
Beginning with "The Parent Connection," and "What to Expect at Every Age," the author provides a solid chapter in the areas of "Feeding," "Playing," "Going Out," " Bathing," "Sleeping," "Behavior & Discipline," "Caring for Siblings," "Baby-Sitting Basics," and "Health & Safety." Within each of these chapters Ms. Murkoff details the particulars of the various ages and stages.
She concludes the book with "Our Children, Our Home: A Fill-In Section for Parents," which allows space for parents to list particulars about their preferences and their child's likes. For instance, in the "playing with" pages, there are lines for favorite games, books, and songs, as well as television shows and videos that are permissible for the child to watch, and play date guidelines.
"In ev'ry job that must be done
There is an element of fun
you find the fun and snap!
The job's a game" --"A Spoonful of Sugar" from Walt Disney's Mary Poppins
I am particularly impressed by the amount of focus the author devotes to communication with both the parents and with the child. I am similarly pleased with the valuable Behavior & Discipline section. And, as a former childcare professional, I am delighted with Murkoff's repeatedly providing all sorts of strategies for turning routine moments into educational experiences for the child, whether it be activities that are part of feeding, playing, bathing, or cleanup.
Undoubtedly there are untold numbers of childcare professionals and teachers whose careers begin when they take care of neighborhood kids after school or on Friday nights. Reading THE WHAT TO EXPECT BABY-SITTER'S HANDBOOK will provide these teens with the tools they need to make their early experiences safe, fun, fulfilling, and profitable, and could thus well make all the difference in the lives of these young caregivers as well as the kids with whom they are entrusted.