Is your tween or teen considering a babysitting job? Don't let them plunge right in. Sure, it's fun to play with babies and small children, but they'll also be responsible for making sure the little ones are safe and properly fed as they go about their nightly routines. Perhaps most important, your child will be the person in charge should an emergency arise. They must understand babysitting jobs come with some significant responsibilities.
The Red Cross Babysitting Course
Of course, your child should always be able to count on you, as their parent, for help in a crisis. You should discuss emergency plans as a family, as well, but a babysitting class may best prepare them for taking on the responsibilities of watching over other people's children.
The Red Cross provides a well-known babysitting program, and the organization will often bring the classes to schools and community centers near you. If you can't find a class near you, you can take it online. The Red Cross has a well-established reputation for preparing children and adults to stay safe in all sorts of circumstances—from natural disasters to house fires.
Red Cross Babysitting Course Benefits
While the online courses can be taken at your leisure, in-person classes often take up most of the day. Why does it take a whole day to learn the skills of babysitting? Well, unless your child happens to be an older sibling who regularly cares for younger siblings for long stretches, chances are they know very little about the critical aspects of caring for youngsters. Some of those skills could be described as "common sense," but many have to be taught. For example, when is it appropriate to call a parent, and when should you dial 911 immediately? What should they do if a child decides not to obey them? What questions do they need to ask parents before taking over for the night?
After taking the class, your child will be better prepared to handle all the complications that come with standing in for parents. Perhaps just as important, they'll be able to include that they have taken a babysitting course when they advertise their babysitting services—and that's something that appeals to parents. Studies show 80% of parents are willing to 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 that contains information and resources to use on the job. Your child will also receive a Babysitter's Training Emergency Reference Guide with instructions on handling common emergencies such as bee stings and asthma attacks.
Other tools they'll leave the class with include a babysitting organizer, and a printable activity booklet with games, crafts, songs, and recipes. There's even a resume template. Depending on the size of the area you live in, you'll likely find a variety of class locations and times to choose from.
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. The online courses start at just $40. 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 emergencies, as well as information about how to manage a babysitting business.
With the basics covered, your child will go on to learn some specifics, such as the components of age-appropriate care like changing a diaper. They'll learn first-aid procedures, including CPR and AED training. They'll learn what to expect from children of different ages, and they'll be instructed on what types of activities are suitable for each. There's even an entrepreneurship angle—they'll learn about professionalism and how to expand their business.
When they've completed the course, they'll receive official certification so no one can doubt their skills or where they learned them. A unique ID and QR code allow potential employers to verify their 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 courses, including contact information for the local chapters. The website also makes it easy to search for upcoming classes near you or sign up for the online course.