Help the Work: Be the Babysitter

OKLAHOMA—As the spring holy days draw closer, thousands of Philadelphia Church of God members are de-leavening their homes and preparing for Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. While baptized members attend the Passover ceremony, those who are not yet baptized can serve in a way that is even more helpful and beneficial than they might realize: babysitting.

Little children make up a significant portion of the Church. Those who do not yet have children don’t realize how helpful sitters can be, or how much they can learn from providing this service to parents in their congregation during Passover and throughout the year. After watching children on occasion, here are four benefits I’ve thought about for a woman who is able and willing to babysit.

Babysitting connects you to more of the PCG family. Having a woman from the congregation come over to visit and watch the kids is enjoyable and helpful to the parents and also exciting for little children. Children look up to adults, and driving over to spend time with them at their house helps them feel special and loved.

“Aside from being an opportunity to serve, babysitting is a great opportunity to learn how to interact and connect with kids,” Herbert W. Armstrong College student Brianna Lorenz said. “It’s rewarding to walk in to services and be able to have a conversation with one of the children you babysat. It may have only been one morning or evening spent together, but I have found that I suddenly have a new friendship that I didn’t have before.” Student Olivia Alvord said it’s a chance to “make memories with the next generation.”

Babysitting helps you appreciate your parents. When you finally get the baby or child to bed, exhale a sigh of relief on the couch, it will pop into mind, How did Dad and Mom do it, day after day and night after night? Children absorb time and energy, as you will feel, after just one evening of babysitting, but think about how refreshing it is for the parents of those same children to have time and energy for other things, like a date, for one night. Student Ellie Hilliker said that babysitting made her appreciate “what my parents did for me growing up. Handling kids can be an intimidating thing, but the times I’ve been able to babysit have all provided opportunities to learn how to handle different situations. You get better at it every time. It’s also a way to show responsibility, because parents are putting a lot of trust in you when they ask you to look after their kids.”

Babysitting gives you good experience. You will get better and better at it, and you will learn things about children that you never knew before. These experiences will go into your mental box of childrearing knowledge that you will be able to pull out when you have your own little one. “Children have a naturally curious free spirit” student Kathleen Hochstetler said. “When I babysit, it makes me more apt and excited to teach them things what they might not know.” Watch out for the kids’ safety, carry out what the parents instruct, make it fun, and the more you do it the more you will see that practice makes perfect. You learn how children behave, how they think, how to handle them if they are crying, how to change a diaper perhaps, how to put a child to sleep and other skills. If you pay close attention to parents’ instructions, you will learn so much before you, eventually, are in the role of parent yourself.

Babysitting helps you prepare for your role. It is a great way for a young woman to get a glimpse at her future role as a wife and mother. If you have helped out in this way frequently, by the time you have a child of your own, you will already have experience, even before your baby is born. Student Claire Olsen says she likes babysitting because it helps her realize what “huge responsibility” raising a family is and shows her how to keep growing in preparation for her role. For women who might have already had children, this is a great way to apply your knowledge and experience while serving.

Whether you are babysitting for Passover, a date night or to give parents a break, if you are able and willing to babysit, you are serving in a special way while also gaining vital experience they will likely use someday in raising their own families.