I am a pregnant first time mum so no experience with 5 year olds.

For example, I babysat for my 5- and 2-year-old nieces last night. They are pretty good when my brother is there but as soon as he leaves there's a change in their playing etc. Last night they got dressed for bed. They were playing in their bedroom which was fine, gave me peace and quiet and occasionally coming into the lounge, playing excitably at 6.30 pm and not respecting their elders (me). I sent to to the bedroom to play which was fine with them. The 5-year-old wet her pants which is a bit unacceptable as she shouldn't be doing this. Anyway, I got her changed into fresh clothes.

Next thing they are in the kitchen where I noticed it got quiet. They had been pinching little chocolate balls from the work top so I moved the chocolate to the back of the work top where they shouldn't have been able to reach but I was wrong. This time I caught the 2-year-old with a ball in her hand which I took off of her and told them off yet again for the night. Next thing they are out of their bed clothes and playing in their bathers!

By this point I had had enough. They weren't listening to me and were just out of control. So I thought okay leave this for my brother to see. He was fuming when he got in and saw them disrespecting and not listening to me and just doing as they please without listening to me. They must think they can get away with murder when with me, despite me shouting at the top of my voice. My niece later accused me while my brother was out of the room of stealing the chocolate! What a bloody nerve of this child and disrespectful to me. They obviously don't see me as a threat right?

Any advice on how to control them as I am starting to not want to babysit them. I babysit them every Wednesday while my brother is out for an hour playing football.

  • 9
    "They obviously don't see me as a threat right?" - you don't want little children to see you as a threat.
    – user19912
    Dec 3, 2015 at 12:31
  • 1
    A 2 and 5 year old, AND you're pregnant. Poor thing you sound out numbered :)
    – user7678
    Dec 3, 2015 at 12:34
  • 6
    You have one hour per week? Actively do something fun with them and you might be their favourite aunt in no time.
    – Stephie
    Dec 3, 2015 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


It kind of sounds like (in my humble opinion) you have two "things" that aren't going in your favor and is encouraging this naughty behavior.

  1. You left them to occupy themselves for a bit too long. At 5 kids can certainly play on their own for a little bit, but not really at 2. This means the 2yo is going to follow the 5yo's lead.

    The 5yo was likely testing boundaries to see what she could get into because you weren't looking right at her and shes probably just learning how to be a bit sneaky (as in walk quietly and convince her sister to shush for chocolate).

    Don't be offended, this is developmentally normal.

  2. You don't seem to provide any consequences besides yelling at them. All humans and animals tend to tune out yelling when they hear it regularly. Save the loud voice for dangerous moments like "Do not run into that road.."

When they are out of sight and have no consequences what do they do? Pinch some delicious chocolate from the counter top. Can't say I haven't swiped an extra cookie when no one was looking. So what to do about it?

Provide guided activities.

They can't sneak into the kitchen for sweets if everyone is working on a puzzle (or reading, or coloring..) now can they?

Its very tempting to want to send them to their room to play so you can get some quiet time, but they just aren't at that age yet.

Keeping them occupied in the same room as yourself could eliminate some of the problems before they start. It will also help them bond with you so that they are inclined to behave because they want to please you.

Talk to the parents about how YOU are supposed to discipline their kids.

Get on the same page with mom and dad. The age old tacit of "Wait until your father gets home" is not effective for the person who has to spend the whole day with them.

And it makes dad has to be the disciplinarian as soon as he walks through the door. Who wants to be feared as soon as they get home?

Instead ask the parents what they already do, ask them for permission to do it, and provide consistent consequences.

If the parents do time out, then when they disobey, give a time out.

Last bonus tip: Get temptation out of the way.

If they already got into the chocolate once, they may try to do it again. After you notice an issue (or before its an issue if possible) get things the cannot have completely out of access.

Its not always possible, but sometimes you can avoid the fight all together.

  • 2
    That's great advice thank you. Next week I will make sure I do something with them. I have some Christmas cards I would like them to make so will do that.
    – Joanne
    Dec 3, 2015 at 15:08

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