It is extremely rewarding and enjoyable to be an Aunty, but it is definitely not an easy task particularly when you don’t have your own children.  It can be demanding, frustrating and exhausting.  Parents have the important role of raising the next generation by starting at the very beginning when they simply just sleep, feed and mess.  The next stage includes play however at the same time you are also adapting into becoming the best parent you know how to be whilst forming a strong bond with your child.  When parents happily involve aunties and grandparents into the mix of babysitting duties, they must accept that we will expose your angel children to a process called trial and error.  As they say there is no single right way to be a parent so over the last five months, I have progressed from an unconsciously incompetent aunty to a consciously incompetent aunty and here are just a few tips for fellow babysitters who happen to find themselves in a similar circumstance.

Here are just a few things which I have learnt whilst wearing the Super Aunty Sammy hat.

Tip 1 Never Forget The Nappy Bag

My plan is to get the two girls out of the house, to wear them out and then have them ready for their parents by the end of the day whereby they just fall asleep.  This day we went to the South Bank cinemas to see The Jungle Book.  We were 40 minutes early and everything was going to plan until we were going in.  There was a putrid smell which I assumed somebody had passed wind.  Then I saw it.  An explosion had occurred down under and I reached around to locate the emergency bag but I had forgotten it.  We were in dire straits.  I must mention this was my first pooey nappy and it was not pleasant.

Tip 2 In Brisbane Sunscreen Needs To Be Applied Every Hour

This would have to be my first reprimand for not being responsible.  Springfield have a new water park called Orion Lagoon.  After lathering the two girls in 30+ sunscreen we enjoyed two hours of swimming on a beautiful Brisbane summer’s day.  I kick myself now for not listening to the weather reports daily.  I am no longer in Perth where the days are predominately 25 – 30 degrees all year round.  NO this is Brisbane and we are playing outside in 37 degrees.  OUCH.  The girls now have an olive glow thanks to Super Aunty Sammy.

Tip 3 Never Let The Kids Miss Their Nap Time

On this particular day we drove to Surfers Paradise for a swim at the beach and fun in the sun.  We all enjoyed a few dunks in the white wash, built a sandcastle, had their favourite chicken nuggets Happy Meal from McDonalds and sang out loud the whole way home.  You could imagine how I felt at 2pm with my legs resting up on the couch, flicking through the Foxtel channels with the two girls playing in front of me.  Being an Aunty seemed pretty darn good.  But then….within minutes the girls were no longer playing and they were somewhere in the house. They were quiet until Sophie returned and sweetly said, ‘Aunty Sammy, Lily has drawn on the wall!’

I got up abruptly and found black marker pen squiggle all over the walls in the butler’s pantry.  Kids turn feral after a day at the beach, filled with McDonalds and miss their nap.

Tip 4 Be Vigilant Of Little Ears

Sophie now takes swimming lessons for $19 for a 30minute session every Tuesday.  While I nurse Lily on my lap, I watch on as four children get thrown under the water and made to kick across the pool.  The instructors name was Beccy, and Beccy clearly did not want to be there at 4.30pm in the afternoon.  She religiously looked at the wall clock every 5 minutes and had finish the session minutes before 5pm.  There was no encouragement and laughter throughout the class, which I found I had to pass on this feedback to my sister.  However little did I know, little ears were eavesdropping.

I received a phone call the following week from my sister stating that Sophie forbids to swim with Beccy as she is incompetent and does not want to be there, and that’s what Aunty Sammy says.

What I have found since performing the duties as an Aunty, for not only my sister’s two girls but my brother’s children; is the importance of routine and consistent parenting techniques.  I have had to adapt to the individual’s behaviour when delivering discipline and be mindful of my own energy levels; and how this effects communication.  I have been made aware of my mistakes as an irresponsible adult through accidental trial and error; yet thank god no bruising, cuts, broken bones or hospital visits have occurred in my defence.  I must be doing something right when the four kids jump with excitement every time they hear ‘Your off to Aunty Sammy’s’ and I get the first cuddles at family occasions.  I know many of you who are already parents would be thinking gosh those points are Babysitting 101 tips, but for those who are in the same boat, finding they too have to don the Super Aunty or grandparent hat, make sure you remember these four things:

Never Forget The Nappy Bag

In Brisbane Sunscreen Needs To Be Applied Every Hour

Never Let The Kids Miss Their Nap Time

Be Vigilant Of Little Ears

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