Do you have a teen who wants to earn some extra cash by babysitting? Are you unsure of how to properly prepare your teen for that kind of responsibility? Here are the top 10 ways parents can prepare their teen to be a responsible babysitter.
Begin preparing your teen for babysitting right in your own home by having them care for their younger siblings, cousins, or children of your friends. Teach teens the basics of child care including diapering, feeding, soothing a crying child, putting children down to sleep, using time outs, play activities, reading to kids, how to take charge with kindness and when to call for assistance. You can prepare your teen for babysitting by having them sit in your home the first few times under your watchful supervision. Once teens gain some experience, they can move into babysitting on their own for longer periods of time.
Take a Babysitting Course
Having your teen take an official babysitting course can help them gain necessary babysitting skills and become more confident in their abilities to properly care for children and handle emergency situations. Courses may be offered by local schools, hospitals or children’s groups. The Safe Sitter Course is run by a nonprofit organization that holds babysitter training courses mostly though hospitals for kids ages 11 to 13. The course covers safety, basic child care and child behavior issues such as how to stop tantrums.
Take the American Red Cross Babysitter Course
The American Red Cross Babysitter Course is a nine-hour course that teaches 11 to 15 year olds everything from decision making skills to basic first aid, child care skills such as feeding and diapering, how to be professional, how to find babysitting jobs and how to play with children of different ages. Teens completing the course get a babysitter’s handbook which they can take with them on jobs as a reference. The American Cross website also offers a section of resources babysitters can download and print for free.
Take a CPR Class
Most babysitting courses don’t offer comprehensive CPR training. To prepare your teen for babysitting, you should have them attend a certified CPR class. The American Red Cross offers special classes geared towards teens. While these classes are not free, they are quite extensive consisting of an entire day of training. These courses not only make your teen a safer babysitter, they also make them more marketable.
So your teen has practiced babysitting their siblings and gotten some training, now what? Well, taking some time to role play possible babysitting situations with your teen is a great way to prepare them for babysitting. You may even discover an area where your teen needs more practice. Quiz your teen on what they have learned in their courses. Pose some difficult situations to them and see how they respond. Their responses will help you determine if they are ready for the responsibility of babysitting or if they need more practice.
Teach Your Teen How to Entertain Kids
Don’t assume your teen knows how to play with younger children. Help prepare your teen for babysitting by teaching them safe and age appropriate games and activities for kids of a variety of ages. Being able to entertain children in their care while still maintaining discipline will help ensure a successful babysitting experience for your teen.
Prepare for an Emergency
Something that a lot of parents forget about is role-playing emergency babysitting situations with their teen. The best time to prepare for any emergency is before it happens. Take some time to go over what to do in a variety of situations.
Talk to Your Teen
Talking to your teen after their hands-on training and courses is important. Ask them how things went and if they have any questions or concerns. Checking in with how your teen is doing is especially important once they have actually started babysitting.
Assemble a Babysitting Kit
Help prepare your teen for babysitting by working together with them to assemble a babysitting kit. Items in the kit could include books, a puppet, stuffed animals, craft projects, puzzles, art materials, appropriate children’s movies or anything else your teen may need for a sitting.
Teach Money Skills
Preparing your teen for babysitting should also include teaching your child about how to manage their babysitting money. Now may be a good time to help them set up their first checking account. Help them set up and manage a budget. The Kid’s Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending It, Growing It, Sharing It by Steve Otfinoski is a great resource book for introducing teens to money management.
The American Red Cross