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'The Sitter's' Handbook For Babysitting

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Dec 06, 2011 | 7:31am EST

the sitterBabysitting children is no easy task. Kids are loud, needy, unpredictable, and that’s when their parents are around to discipline them. Take them out of the equation and there’s no telling what kinds of trouble the little munchkins can get into. But a job is a job and everybody’s got to find a way to make money doing something…even if it means babysitting. 

That’s exactly what Jonah Hill’s character in The Sitter decides to do, which seems like a good idea until things go drastically awry, making the job a lot harder than he originally thought. So in honor of the upcoming movie, I've got a guideline of sorts to help unsuspecting adults navigate hazardous child care terrain. These various characters have had to deal with a fair share of childhood angst and can therefore help others learn the necessary tricks of the trade in order to survive the night. It can be a treacherous occupation at times, so having a handbook can come in, well, handy, and there’s no better teacher than those who have experience in adult-child relationships. So use these helpful tips during your next encounter with a youngster and you won’t be disappointed with the results. You could say it’s 100 percent child proof.

Dressing Up As Fictional Characters Will Bond You For Life

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In Adam Sandler’s comedy hit, Big Daddy, Sonny is forced to take care of someone other than himself when a young kid appears on his doorstep. Suddenly, his world is turned upside as he tries to cope with learning how to properly raise a child. But that doesn’t mean some of his eccentric ideas weren’t good ones – like when he dressed up as the father of the kid’s favorite fictional character, Scuba Sam. That wet suit worked wonders to get the kid to listen up and do exactly as he said. Obviously, if the kid you’re looking after is a little older they may not fall for this trick, but the young ones will bend to your every whim if you’re handing out commands while dressed as their favorite toy. Who doesn’t want to be a member of the Scuba Squad? Pure genius!

An Obsession With Breasts Can Go A Long Way

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Role Models offers a hilarious pairing of Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott, who play Danny and Wheeler; two energy drink salesmen thrust into a Big Brother program as a form of punishment for various crimes. At first glance, one would think these guys should have no business influencing young children, but they’re actually able to offer some pretty awesome advice in terms of winning over trust and respect. For example, Wheeler gets paired up with Ronnie, a foul-mouthed streetwise kid (Bobb'e J. Thompson) who has absolutely no interest in having him as a big brother figure. But they share one very common interest that ultimately ends up bringing them together – their obsession with breasts. Sure, it seems unconventional (and highly inappropriate), but boys will be boys no matter what the age, so it gave them something to bond over which is an important key when dealing with kids. The real lesson here is to take an interest in each child’s hobbies and establish a connection with them…no matter what the topic may be.

Don’t Mess With Christmas

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Probably known as one of the most popular kid’s movies of all time, Home Alone (both 1 and 2) teaches us that there’s nothing more dangerously lethal than a kid on Christmas. These guys should’ve picked a different holiday to go toe-to-toe with a youngster because Harry and Marv don’t stand a chance against Kevin McCallister. A child’s home can easily become their own personal booby-trap where toys become weapons and household appliances fight back. It’s a battle any adult would lose because nobody comes between children and holiday cheer. Take it from these two fools – you’d be better off waiting to discipline once the day is over.

Magic Can Solve Any Problem

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Being a governess is never easy, unless you have magical capabilities at your disposal like in Nanny McPhee. With just a stomp of her cane, she is able to turn seven ne’er-do-well children into well behaved boys and girls. Under her charge the house is clean and there are no more practical jokes made at her expense – all thanks to the power of wizardry. Granted, this knowledge may not help you if you don’t possess any magical abilities (hey, you never know), but that doesn’t mean magic tricks are out of the question. Kids eat that stuff up and would totally think you were the coolest person in the world. They’ll be so engrossed in whatever you’re showing them that they’ll be too distracted to cause any trouble, making your night of babysitting a complete breeze. Note to men: this works on kids only – women will not be impressed.

Think Like A Man And A Woman

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There’s no denying it: Robin Williams made babysitting look cool in the 90’s comedy hit, Mrs. Doubtfire. With a little help from his brother, Daniel Hillard transforms into the multi-talented, fun-loving Euphegenia Doubtfire. What makes her so great with children is the fact that she possesses the best qualities of both a man and a woman. She’s willing (and able) to participate in sports, but still can offer a tender embrace when need be. When it comes to cooking, cleaning, and soccer practice there’s really no one better. This could really help you out if you’re ever babysitting a boy and a girl – just think: WWDD (What Would Doubtfire Do)? With this mantra in mind, you can never go wrong!

Singing Is A Great Distraction

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Mary Poppins was a very smart woman indeed and knew that all it takes to control a child is to offer up a distraction. In her case, she used singing as her greatest weapon. Throughout the whole movie, the children willingly participate in cleaning their rooms, doing their chores, and even taking their medicine all because Poppins makes it fun with a song. Just a spoonful of this sitter’s sweet melody makes the medicine go down, down, down. I mean, think about it – what do you do to pass the time when you’re undertaking mundane activities? You sing! It’s a genius idea and I guarantee it’ll work for you as well. Warning: the better the singing, the better behaved the children will be. Sign up for your vocal lessons accordingly.

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