They're not your kids, but how do you handle it?

How some moms respond to other children in their care

July 23, 2010|By HEATHER LOWERY
  • What's the best situation to handle dealing with someone else's child when he's acting up and in your care? We asked four moms what they would do.
Photo illustration by Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

More than one mother has uttered the phrase, "My child would never act that way."

Mom knows how to handle situations when it's her own brood.

But what happens when another child is in your care? How do you walk the line of keeping the little one playing by your rules but also not overstepping parental boundaries?

Four Hagerstown moms, Lori Aleshire, Keecha Miles, Allyson Mastronardi and Staci Wallech, have shared how they would handle other people's children when asked the situational questions below.

Aleshire, office manager for Health @ Work has one son, Nicholas, 5. Miles, medical assistant for Antietam Health Services, has two sons, Darian, 12, and Xavier, 7. Mastronardi, a teacher at Boonsboro Elementary School, has two children, Garett, 4, and Skyla, 1. Wallech is a day care provider and has two daughters, Peyton, 14, and Drew, 7, and one son, Reed, 11.

1. You've organized a small field trip with some neighborhood kids, all about the age of 5 years old, to the museum. One of the kids goes into full meltdown during the outing. He's screaming at the top of his lungs and has fallen into a heap on the floor refusing to move. His mother is not one of the chaperones. How do you handle it?


Aleshire: "I would explain to him that he's 5 years old and tell him to act like he's 5 years old. I would ask him to complete the tour or he won't be able to go on additional field trips."

Miles: "I would just try to talk to them calmly and try to get them interested in something else so we could move on with the tour."

Mastronardi: "I would try to take the kids acting correctly out of the situation."

Wallech: "I would have the other chaperones watch the good kids and I would handle the bad one, and just try to reason with him. Make him listen."

2. You've agreed to baby sit a friend's child who's 4, the same age as your child. During playtime your friend's child is getting a little too rough with your child by hitting, punching and biting. How do you handle it?

Aleshire: "I would say to them that when they're at my home that's not how things are done. They will be put into time out until they can act appropriately."

Miles: "I would just say, 'We don't do that, and if you can't play nice, we won't play that game anymore.' And I would try to have the kid play with something else."

Mastronardi: "Try to tell them that we don't act that way. I would explain the expectations that we have in our house and hope that the kid listens."

Wallech: "I would be like, 'OK guys, time to make cookies.' I would make sure that it was something hands-on so as to redirect the situation. I would get the Play-Doh out or something."

3. You've taught your children to respect their elders, but one of your 8-year-old daughter's friends has a bad habit of talking back. Although you've witnessed her doing the same thing to her mother, she's now in your care for the afternoon. What do you do when she gets sassy?

Aleshire: "I would say, 'That's not the way you act with me. That's not acceptable.' If they do it at their home that's fine, but they will not do it in my home."

Miles: "I would tell the child, 'That's not how we talk to people. You're not going to talk to your mother like that and you don't talk to other people like that, either.'"

Mastronardi: "I would tell her, again, about the expectations that we have in our house and hope that she follow them. If the situation gets worse, I would maybe get her parents involved."

Wallech: "I would give her a different line. If she said 'shut up,' I would give her other, not so 'sassy' words to use. And I would let her know that she is welcome in our home, so long as she isn't sassy."

4. You're hosting a birthday party for your 6-year-old son. One of his friends grabs one of your son's new presents and refuses to give it back. Your son is nearly in tears. The boy's parents are at the party, but have ignored his behavior. What do you do?

Aleshire: "I would go to the child and say, 'This is Nicholas' party and if it was your birthday you wouldn't want kids taking your presents,' and then I would have him give the present back."

Miles: "I would tell my son, 'It's your new toy, but you need to share.' And I would tell the other boy, 'You need to give it back to him now and then you guys can play with it together.'"

Mastronardi: "I would explain to the other little boy, 'It's my child's birthday. Would you want the same thing to happen if it was your birthday?' I would basically try to talk to him."

Wallech: "I would have some kind of little treat to take home at the birthday party for all of the kids. I would tell him, 'It is so-and-so's birthday, but you'll have something to take home with you.'"

5. There's a strict no bad language rule in your home. Your daughter's new friend has a potty mouth. How do you handle her when she's in your home?

Aleshire: "Again, I would explain, 'When we're in our home there are certain ways that we act. And when we are in other folks' homes, we act differently according to their rules. There are words that we don't say in my home.' I would then ask them not to use them."

Miles: "I would say, 'We don't talk like that here. If you can't respect that, don't come over. My son obviously thinks you're a friend worth hanging out with, and that's fine, but if you can't respect the rules, you can't come over.'"

Mastronardi: "I would sit down and talk to the girl and maybe have her buy into the fact that there are younger kids in the house. I would try to convince her to take the higher road and be a role model."

Wallech: "It's just making sure you go over the rules in the home. Help the kids to understand that other people have different rules. I would say, 'Clean up your language, or you won't be able to come back over and play.'"

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