I grew up reading the Babysitter's Club and living down the street from families with children much younger than me. At some point, when I was old enough to stay at home without a sitter, I started looking after the kids on my block, casually at first, but ultimately as a paid service. I kept reading the books, learning from Anne Matthews Martin's books, and slowly acquiring my own stock of knowledge from hand's on experience. Somewhere between the fiction and the real-life encounters, I developed the skills most vital to care-taking, the reasoning to creatively resolve any issues that might arise while on the job, and the communication strategies for creating a wonderful experience for kids and parents alike.
Although I tore through the series and moved onto other books, I kept babysitting and have continued babysitting through high school, college, and into my mid-twenties. When I babysit today, the things I learned early on - reliable communication and resolution strategies - are still important to me. Yet, at at the forefront of my duties is the security and safety of the children, the opportunities for growth, and the imperative to have fun simultaneously. These are the obligations, to myself and to the families I sit for, that develop after years of sitting and cultivating great care-taking tactics. Beyond these primary duties, I feel like an effective sitter when I can encourage reading, drawing, and other stimulating activities that support creativity and curiosity.
I am comfortable with kids of all ages (extensive experience with toddler and elementary school age), familiar with dietary restrictions, allergies, traveling with young people, assisting in meal prep and cooking, homework, and other daily duties. I am enthusiastic, attention-oriented, and full of energy. Babysitting, for me, is not just a way to take care of others, but a way of taking care of myself. Giving care is the best form of self-care, and babysitting children is the most rewarding service one can give.
I will be SmartSitting while...
In my spare time I love to read and write and collect new favorite authors. I also enjoy time with friends and family, eating out with friends, and walking around my neighborhood in Bronx Little Italy.
I currently work at a literary organization called Graver Goods, where I organize writing workshops and seminars for students of all ages, and support our volunteership program. I love this work and this the connection between craft and community service is really important! In my spare time, I also spend afternoons at parks along the Bronx river, supporting the Bronx River Alliance with clean-up, gardening, and other community projects.
My education helped me cultivate a patience and a keen observance for the world around me. My education and has made me more sensitive to the world, and a more attentive, dedicated care-taker.
In 5 years, I hope to be...
In five years, I'd like to still be working at Graver Goods. By that point, I hope to have expanded our programs, currently only for adults, to reach and engage high school students. I believe that early exposure to skill-building opportunities, networks, and possible careers is critical to supporting young people on their path toward successful careers and life-long learning. Providing this access to ALL students is also critical to moving our communities closer to social and economic equity. Working toward this vision is very rewarding for me, and in the coming years I hope to deepen my work in education and access.
Activities & skills I love to teach & share with children...
Reading, writing, drawing, painting... I am always happy to get crafty and creative! I find these activities to be very useful in terms of mental stability and refreshment - not to mention an entertainment that far surpasses TV and video games. I've also had plenty of fun making up new games with kids, writing out rules for the games, and figuring out strategies for improving whatever game we've created. I think I bring this kind of creative-constructiveness to the children I babysit for, as I personally enjoy being creative in a way that is both challenging and rewarding. Formal instruction is undoubtedly useful, but there is much to be learned from hands-on experience, and from encounters that force one to think outside of the box.
One of the most fun thing I've been able to teach though, is cooking. Of course, this required permission from the parents. The kids and I were able to get together ingredients for a top-chef style (friendly) competition. Together we practiced pairing ingredients together, experimenting with what worked and - in Top Chef style - appealing plating techniques! It was extremely fun and I believe we all learned something from one another's creative strategies.