PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Home Alone: Alone With Siblings

Are you babysitting brothers or sisters when you're home alone? Then "peace and quiet" probably doesn't exist at your house! Not only do you have to get your homework done and take care of chores, chances are you're responsible for making sure your sibling eats a snack, gets his/her homework done, and follows house rules. Yikes!

Do any of these comments sound familiar?:

  • "You're not my mother!"
  • "OK, I'll do it after 10 more minutes on the Gameboy Advance."
  • "I'll pick up my stuff if you give me a soda."

It's hard enough taking care of one person (you), let alone your smarty mouth sister or brother. Here are a few suggestions for getting along with siblings while you're all home alone:

Eat a snack
Tired + hungry = GRUMPY! Eating something will raise their blood sugar and their mood.

Ask about their day
A little attention goes a long way. Find out if things are okay at school. Is there anything worrying them?

Include them in decisions
The "my way or the highway" approach may cause your siblings to push back. Give them options and things will go much smoother. For example, try a comment like: "After you finish your homework, we can play a game of chess or watch your favorite program. You decide."

If you and your siblings can't agree on which games to play or TV shows to watch, think about different ideas until you come up with something you all agree on. If you don't agree on anything, try alternating favorites each day. Monday is your turn to rule the remote, but then Tuesday it's their turn.

Accept responsibility
You're in charge-- which can be really fun; however, power comes with a price. It means that your parent trusts you enough to handle things, and you don't want to let him or her down. If something happens to your sibs because you haven't been watching them like you should, or because you haven't been sticking to the House Rules, then you may have to face some consequences. That could mean punishment or your parent being disappointed with you. Everybody makes mistakes. Learn from them!

Be prepared
Being in charge means more than getting along, it means handling emergency care situations. It helps to know the basics of first aid as well as how to react to certain 'what if' scenarios. We discuss both of these topics in Emergencies.

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