The Red Cross Babysitting Course

Most parents will pay more for a Red Cross certified babysitter.

Two girls playing nurse with toys
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Is your child considering a babysitting job? Don't let her (or him!) plunge right in. Sure, it's fun to play with babies and small children, but she'll also be responsible for making sure the little ones are safe and properly fed. She'll also have to be sure they're washed, brushed, and in bed on time. Perhaps most important, your child will be the "adult" on hand should an emergency arise.

It's important that she understands that the job comes with some significant responsibilities.

The Red Cross Babysitting Course 

Of course, your child should always be able to count on you, her parents, for help in a crisis. But it's also a great idea for her to enroll in a babysitting class to get the training she needs. The Red Cross provides a terrific program offered in many locations, and it's now available online as well at nominal cost. It's a well-established organization with many years of experiencing in preparing children and adults to stay safe, even in unsafe situations. 

Red Cross Babysitting Course Benefits

Why take a whole day to learn the skills of babysitting? Unless your child happens to be an older sibling who actively cares your younger children, chances are she knows very little about the critical aspects of caring for youngsters. And while some of those skills could be described as "common sense," many actually have to be taught. For example, when is it appropriate to call a parent versus 911? What should she do if a child decides not to obey her? What questions should she be sure to ask parents before they leave her alone?

After taking the class, your child will be better prepared to answer these questions and to manage the complicated experience of standing in for parents. Perhaps just as important, she'll be able to include that she's taken a babysitting course when she advertises her babysitting services, something that really appeals to parents. In fact, 8 out of 10 parents surveyed have said that they'd pay more for a babysitter with these credentials. 

The Classroom-Based Red Cross Babysitting Course

The six-hour babysitting course is designed for 11- to 15-year-olds. Participants leave with a whole set of materials, including a Babysitter's Training Handbook with information and resources to use in class and on the job.

Your child will also receive the Babysitter's Training Emergency Reference Guide with instructions on handling common emergencies such like bee stings and asthma attacks

The Babysitter's Training CD-ROM provides participants with the tools they'll need to run a successful babysitting business, including a babysitting organizer, and a printable activity booklet with games, crafts, songs, and recipes. There's even a resume template. 

Hours are flexible and available at various times with your busy schedule in mind. 

The Online Babysitting Course

Your child can take the Babysitting Basics course online at home if a classroom-based course isn't convenient or available in your area. It's just $35 as of 2018. The online course covers the same concepts as the in-person class using a combination of videos and multimedia scenarios. It also includes the same downloadable and printable materials provided in the in-person course.

Unlike the in-person course, it takes only about four hours to complete the online course and your child can do it at any time.

What Your Child Will Learn 

Both courses include the basics: training on safety, games, maintaining discipline, feeding, and emergency situations, as well as information about how to manage a babysitting business. 

Beyond that, your child will learn specifics, such as the components of age-appropriate care like changing a diaper. She'll learn first aid procedures, including CPR and AED training. She'll learn what to expect from children behaviorally based on their ages and she'll be instructed in what types of activities are suitable for each. There's even an entrepreneurship angle—she'll learn about professionalism and how to expand her business.

When she's completed the course, she'll receive a certification so no one can doubt her skills or where she learned them. A unique ID and QR code allow potential employers to verify her certification. 

How to Enroll in a Red Cross Babysitting Course

You can contact your local American Red Cross chapter to enroll in an in-person babysitting course. Class dates and fees vary by location.

The Red Cross website offers more information on their babysitting course, including contact information for the local chapters. The website also makes it easy to sign up for the online course.