Tips to Help Your Teen Become a Better Babysitter

SitterPhoto3With babysitting jobs readily available within extended families, around the neighborhood, or among family friends these flexible work hours are often the first type of employment a teenager will experience.  Plus, with a wage base that has risen almost nine times faster than inflation it’s really not a bad way to earn some extra spending money.  However, since many families are willing to pay a premium for an experienced, trained sitter this line of work has become more competitive, attracting both college students and adults looking for part-time work.  So how can you help your teen to get a leg-up on the competition and get their summer babysitting job off to a successful start?

It’s important for a teen that is interested in childcare to understand the responsibilities of a babysitting job before answering any requests. Here are a few tips to prepare your teen for this potentially demanding task.

Help your teen find information and resources.  There are tons of books and Youtube videos with valuable information regarding childcare.  Bring your teen to the library and encourage her or him to select a few resources that will provide useful tips and get your teen thinking about what exactly a babysitting job would entail.  Take time to discuss the main points and work together to find answers to questions that arise while researching the job responsibilities.  Help your teen to review the pros and cons of the work, this can help to determine whether or not this job will be a good fit in a teens already busy schedule.

Register your teen for a babysitting workshop.  The library regularly offers classes that are helpful in training both tweens and teens about the basic aspects of childcare, like first aid, CPR, child management,  home security and communication. Plus our workshops offer a completion certificate that many parents will find useful and perhaps even impressive, giving your prospective babysitter an edge over teens that have not taken the course!  See below for information on our next workshop.

Consider first-aid and CPR certification.  The Red Cross offers further first aid and emergency medical training, such as how to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, support a broken limb, or attempt CPR. In addition, your teen should know how to manage minor injuries like bee stings, splinters, scrapes, and bumps. It is a good idea to periodically review possible medical emergency scenarios, just to ensure that your teen can apply what’s learned.

Help your teen prepare a list of questions.  It’s recommended to know the family that your teen is planning to work with and to plan a visit ahead of time to find out the type of people they are, the home they keep, and their children’s behavior. Prepare your teen to ask a lot of questions such as:

–How can I reach you with a question or if there is an emergency?
–What type of discipline should I use if the kids won’t listen to me?
–Do they have special medical conditions, require monitoring for health issues, or need medication?
–Are they allowed to have neighbor kids over or go to other kids’ homes for play?
–What are they allowed to eat, and what shouldn’t be eaten?
–Which meals and/or snacks can they have?
–What is their bedtime and bedtime routine?
–Who should I call if I am unable to reach you?
–What is the fire escape plan, and do the kids know it?
–What should we do in case of threatening weather?
–What if a stranger calls or comes to the door?
–When will you be home?
–What is your rate of pay?
You should consider going with your teen to this first meeting to discuss concerns, issues, and questions, as well as get an impression about whether the environment is safe and the overall experience beneficial for your child.
 Be available for support.    Whether your teen is watching kids around your neighborhood or begins expanding out and taking work farther away, make sure your teen has a safe way to get to and from the babysitting job.  You may even want to consider offering to drive your child the first few times.  This will provide an opportunity to talk with your teen about how things are going and to remind her or him that you are just a phone call or short drive away should you be needed for support.
You can help to build your teen’s confidence about her abilities as a babysitter by taking an active roll to make sure your child is prepared for the tasks to come and by turning the focus of discussions to the positive experiences that occur within the job.  Teens who really take to babysitting and find enjoyment in the job responsibilities may be interested to know about possible nanny and au pair jobs as they get older or even as a part-time job while in college.

Babysitting Workshop

The library will host another Babysitting Workshop on Saturday, May 9th from 10:00 am-4:00 pm.  Attendees, age 12 and up, will learn emergency procedures, discipline techniques, diapering, age appropriate activities, pediatric CPR, rescue breathing, the Heimlich maneuver, and basic first aid skills needed while babysitting.

Registration is available online at www.dewittlibrary.org or by calling the library at 517-669-3156.  Participants will need to bring a sack lunch and, if desired, an afternoon snack.  A class fee of $30 is required. Signup must be completed 48 hours prior to program date.

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