I am willing to bet that most of you reading this blog article have never quite realized the significant role your sitters can play in contributing to the athletic development of your daughters (and sons of course). I am confident that after you read through, you will begin to think of your day and/or evening sitters in an entirely different light.
If your young kids are active and enjoy sports, why not choose sitters who will trade the typical TV or video game time for playing some catch, shooting some hoops, or a bit of driveway tennis. No doubt there are a host of potential sitters in your community who are respected athletes and role models. And there is certainly nothing wrong with expressing your request to the sitter that he or she devote designated time to fun and safe, age-appropriate sports play.
By way of example, when my kids were young, we were fortunate to employ a sitter who played varsity basketball and tennis at our local high school. This sitter emerged as my kids’ absolute favorite as a result of the games played, including basement “garbage can b-ball” and running bases. Interestingly, my youngest attributes his early ability to shoot a basketball with proper form to the sitter’s subtle instruction during those rough and tumble games of garbage ball. And how great is it that this sitter would occasionally recruit other kids from our neighborhood and organize a running bases game during which all of the kids, from the youngest to the oldest, were permitted to serve as throwers and base runners. When the sun went down, my crew would retire to our empty basement until bedtime and make up games like 4 square paddle tennis and configure obstacle courses requiring various feats with balls or pillows. It wasn’t long before my family started attending the varsity games in order to support our sitter.
Looking back, this sitter contributed to my kids’ appreciation for sports and fitness. My children even picked up on a skill or two. Just as precious, we always had the distinct pleasure of coming home to kids deep in slumber, red cheeks squished into the pillows, and that sweet smell of sweat.
So next time you are seeking out a sitter for your active kids, consider your options and choose wisely.
Look forward to your thoughts and Happy New Year.