A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this casual PC game contains no questionable subject matter, unless you count the fact that poor Stacy is doing the work of about 10 people (let's hope the parents are paying her more than minimum wage).
What's it about?
High school student Stacy Wilson is saving up for a telescope by doing a little babysitting on the side, but she'll have to earn every dollar of her pay in BABYSITTING MANIA, because she's not only expected to look after children but also clean the house before the parents come home.
Use the mouse to click on a hot spot (like dirty clothes or a knocked over vase), and Stacy will walk over and clean it up. While Stacy's cleaning, the kids are roaming around the house making new messes wherever they go. Some messes involve more than one step to clean, such as gathering up dirty laundry, washing and drying it, then putting it away in a dresser. If Stacy can stay on top of the messes and get the house looking spotless, it will finally be the kids' bedtime. All she has to do is escort them to bed before the parents come home to complete her work for the day.
Is it any good?
There are 20 houses for Stacy to visit, with more than 100 levels in total, meaning that you certainly get your money's worth with Babysitting Mania in terms of length. What's more, each house has a different layout and size, and on top of the regular levels, there are also special Birthday Party levels where Stacy has to supervise a whole herd of children. She can also give children a "time out," by clicking on them so that they'll sit down and won't move for a few precious seconds.
Babysitting Mania's biggest flaw is that it can get very repetitive. Once you've zeroed in on the correct strategy to use, it's quite easy to get a Perfect score consistently, and the levels can start to become a rather dull grind. The game still has its moments though, especially if you have a soft spot for kids and all of the mischief they like to cause.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how they would feel if they were in Stacy's shoes. What would you do if faced with such an out-of-control and messy household? Are you like the messy children in the game, or do you try to be neater and more considerate? Stacy's method for calming the kids is to give them a "time out" – is this an effective way of dealing with unruly children in real life?
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