When I was in middle school, like most young girls, I was way into babysitting. I had a few families I shuffled amongst, but mainly I sat for 2 brothers who were around my own little brother's age. They had limitless energy and often tested me to see what they could get away with. After awhile I got pretty sick of that and came up with a way to get them to do what I wanted (which was get tired and fall asleep at some point). Their parents had a finished basement which was essentially a large play room and a treadmill. No, I did not do what you're thinking. No child got on that treadmill. I was not a torturer. But what I did do was set up an obstacle course. There were different tasks around the room. Sometimes it was to throw up a ball three times and catch it, sometimes it was to do 15 jumping jacks, etc. I'd make them run that course a certain number of times, each time making up their "score" arbitrarily (so I could alternate the winner). But whoever had the most points at the end got more "money" for our next activity.
Usually when we were done cleaning up it was time for dinner. I'd make something quick and easy and while they ate I came up with something to use for money (crafting puff balls, pipe cleaners, Pokemon cards, etc. Sometimes if it was still early and I knew their parents wouldn't be home until later I made them make their money). Then we'd set up a concession stand. Different drinks, a bag of microwave popcorn, and sometimes candy. Essentially we were playing movie theater (because seriously, as an adult if you run around like a crazy person and then eat a lot and sit in front of a TV, don't you fall asleep?).
Treats in hand, Disney cartoon playing, they'd quiet down, eyes would start to droop, and either they'd fall asleep, or be ready for bed by the time the movie was done. Jackpot. They could leave me alone and I could watch whatever TV I wanted, do homework, eat the good junk food, or sleep.
Lately I've been racking my brain about whether or not I can come up with an adult version of this? Nick and I watch so many movies, it would be fun to switch it up once in awhile and do something completely silly like a concession stand and the whole movie experience. Maybe the money can be kisses...ok, I love how I answer my own questions like that!