Disclaimer: the below advise only work with easy kids who usually do not give their parents any hard time and who usually are organized and who listen to you. The below advise is also based on personal experience.
I was fortunate enough to be granted the responsibility to baby-sit my two cute cousins Andrew and Gregory (name in Alphabetical order :P) while my aunt, traveled. The experience was an easy/though one for the kids were smart kids who do not agree to sit all day watching TV. Gladly, with the help of the whole family, we were able to organize this process and implement it very smoothly.
Below are some techniques that were found useful with me:
1) Create a plan with their mother before she leaves: Before their mother leaves, create a plan with her and share it with them. This way, they cannot nag when they are alone. You remind them that mommy already said so.
2) Even includes lunches in your plan: In your plan include lunches, some kids might give you a hard time eating, so approve their lunches with their mom and let her share it with them.
3) Give them power: Even when there are a lot of plan, give the kids some power by making them feel that the decision is up to them. Let it be something simple, something like: “I know that we decided nuggets for lunch, but I will let you have the final say.”
4) Take them to Mc Donald’s and Burger King: Kids all over the world love junk food especially when they come in a nice box with a toy. So take them there and give them time to play in the play-place. They will remember this forever.
5) Give them your undivided attention: it’s not that you are baby-sitting every day, so when you get to do so, give kids your undivided attention and let them feel that they are the most important thing at this time. Kids love attention, and you do love them, so schedule this time to be a bonding time and let them know how special they are.
6) Buy them a souvenir: Since this is a memorable time, make sure to have souvenir to stay with them. Go get them some gifts, it will make them happy, and will be nice souvenirs.
7) Take them to the pool (or to the snow if it’s in winter): add some more fun time to your schedule and take kids to the pool. The pool is somehow more secure than the beach; kids will enjoy it, and will make them tired, so they will quickly sleep.
8) Take them to work with you: Sometimes you can’t skip work to be at home with the kids, so take them to work with you (if your works allows that) and make sure that you have enough entertainment to keep them busy.
QUESTION: Do you have any baby-sitting advice? What works with you?