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How to Babysit a 3 Year Old Boy

by Erica Loop, studioD

While watching your own child is its own challenge, babysitting someone else's little love sometimes presents bigger demands. With seemingly boundless amounts of energy, babysitting a 3-year-old boy is a situation that requires a specific game plan. Instead of going into your day, or night, of sitting without a clue, come up with a few go-to activities before you begin. When planning your babysitting adventure, remember that kids in the early preschool years have more abilities than their younger counterparts, making them more independent and capable than a toddler or baby.

Learn about the child. Ask the little boy's mom what he likes, dislikes and completely can't stand. Children this age typically don't just go long with whatever you happen to like. By 3, young preschool-aged boys know what they enjoy playing with. Find out games, activities and specific toys that are of particular interest.

Plan a balance of active and quiet time games and projects. A 3 year old can kick, throw and catch a ball, not always with ease. Take a soft foam play ball and stage an outside game of mini-kickball or catch. Keep it quiet with blocks, toy trains or crayons.

Understand the child's eating needs. Ask his mom if there are certain foods that her little man simply loves or others that are big no-nos. If mom didn't plan a meal ahead, find out whether you have to cook or just hand out a quick snack.

Create a nap or bed-time plan. Boys who are 3 often have major energy outbursts. Quieting them down for naps isn't as simple as handing out a doll and singing a lullaby. Pick a calm book, avoiding exciting tops such as race cars, and dim the lights to help your babysitting boy go off to dreamland.


  • Boy doesn't equal cars, trains and kick boxing. Don't gender stereotype. Ask the child what he likes to play with. If his favorite toy is a doll and a pint-sized kitchen, play house and let him take the lead.
  • Take something new for the child to play with. This can help during difficult separation times. When his mom makes her way out, give your babysitting boy a fun new coloring book or other small trinket.


  • Avoid safety mishaps. Always supervise the 3 year old, and never leave him unattended. Be mindful of choking hazards when feeding him.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images