As a responsible tween girl already more-than-experienced in caring for and loving little ones, my Sweetie Pea is well on her way to becoming an in-demand sitter. While she has never officially babysat children alone, she frequently babysits her one-year-old cousin...maintaining FULL responsibility for her...at our home and under my supervision. In addition, she has recently been hired by a young stay-at-home and formerly-homeschooled momma friend of mine to be a "momma's helper". One day a week during the summer months finds her caring for the two oldest kiddos of that family (ages four and two) while the momma does the necessary clerical work of her husband's small business and cares for their newborn baby.
This weekly babysitting commitment along with the daily practice of helping me change diapers, prepare meals, and care for her four younger brothers has helped to prepare Sweetie Pea for many future babysitting endeavors.
That being said, this past spring, in anticipation of her "momma's helper" job and any up-coming babysitting positions she will encounter, I put together a simple Babysitter training course for her.
At-home Babysitter Training Course
She and I first talked about the age ranges of kids she felt comfortable babysitting as well as the number of children she was capable of caring for at any given time. Knowing that she tends to want to please others, I wanted to help her establish these two key factors right up front so that she could feel completely justified to say "no" when a potential sitting job was out of her comfort level.
General Skills AssessmentNext, I made note of her experience or lack-thereof with the following child-care/home management skills and purposed to teach/review any that I felt needed some reinforcement:
- changing the diaper of both girl and boy babies
- preparing a baby bottle
- feeding a baby a bottle and solid foods
- bathing and dressing a small child
- playing games and engaging children in activities
- preparing and serving snacks and small meals
- cleaning up spills and messes
- caring for simple scrapes and bumps
- recognizing and being knowledgable in 911 phone call making procedures
In addition to the general care and keeping of children, I knew I wanted her to learn more extensive safety/emergency skills as well as a few key elements about the "business" side of babysitting.
During this phase of her training, she read the following books:
The New Complete Babysitter's Handbook
To complete her babysitter training, I enrolled her in Babysitting Basics, an on-line babysitter course from the American Red Cross.
For more information on this thorough and well-put-together course, be sure to check out this introductory video.
So far, Sweetie Pea has done an excellent job as a "momma's helper". In addition to the general keeping of the little ones in her care, she plans special daily activities/games for them, prepares and serves a light lunch, and affords one young momma a few hours of much-needed catch-up time.
Other helpful resources
Safe Sitter- a site which provides helpful course tools as well as providing the contact info for local babysitting classes in your area
BLAST!- the American Academy of Pediatrics babysitting training program
Care.com- resources and training course links for older teens wanting to begin professional Nanny Training
I Have What it Takes to Be Your Babysitter- a complete downloadable training course for parents and leaders to offer a group of babysitters-in-training including both the instructor's guide and student manual
For more resources for the homeschool mom, be sure to visit iHomeschool Network.