Sure, babysitting is a rewarding profession, but watching over a child who has reached double digits comes with a peculiar set of challenges. After all, 10-year-old children are undergoing a number of cognitive, emotional and physical developmental changes, and these changes can make it difficult to entertain or even engage this age group, especially since their ever-growing sense of independence can make them feel as if they do not "need" a babysitter. With a little bit of ingenuity, however, you can plan a host of fun activities to engage your 10-year-old charge.
If the child you're babysitting is -- like many kids in this age group -- obsessed with electronics, it may be time to slide the power button to "off" and show him a few old school games. According to Scholastic.com, classic board games can help teach a child how to communicate verbally, share, take turns and interact with others. They can also help a child to increase a child's attention span and focus -- while fostering a love of play and competition.
Depending on your kitchen skills, the child's experience in the kitchen and the parents' comfort level, try engaging the child in a cooking session. Consider starting with something simple, such as spaghetti, or try creating a simple dessert like chocolate chip cookies. If the child's parents are worried about their child being near a hot appliance, you could make smoothies, a fruit salad, or even build special sandwiches or wraps together.
Most children love experimenting, so consider harnessing that interest and planning a few safe science experiences to test out when you are babysitting. Using simple household ingredients, you could try making slime at Science Bob (link in Resources), a balloon rocket, or a foamy fountain. The possibilities are endless, and a simple web search will provide countless numbers of safe, 10-year-old-kid-friendly ideas.
If the weather cooperates, consider taking your kiddo outside for some active play. Simply kicking or catching balls, blowing bubbles, or riding a bike (while supervised, of course), can provide the 10-year-old with plenty of fun. If you're feeling more creative, or are physically active yourself, you can set up an obstacle course for the child or challenge him to a race. Raining or snowbound? Try setting up an obstacle course inside using everyday household objects like pillows, chairs, and tables to crawl under.