Finding a sitter you're confident in to take care of your little angel can be nerve wracking. Well, Arkansas Children's Hospital is making it a little easier with a new class they're offering.
Babysitting 101 uses the Safe Sitter program that teaches kids 11 to 14 how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children.
Instructor Jennifer Hurst says they also teach them tips to help make them caregivers that are more confident.
"We teach them how to handle emergencies, what to do in emergencies, also to stay safe. It's called the Safe Sitter course but also to have fun with the kids," she says. "They're babysitting but we don't just want them to show up and sit with them, we want them to interact and play while keeping them safe."
They also learn babysitting business skills, how to interact with the parents, ask questions about the job and determine what fee they will charge. They leave with a great booklet too that they can take with them on babysitting jobs for reference. There are several cards, including one that even has helpful emergency scripts to help walk the babysitter through what to say.
Emma Allen, 14, took the class and says it was really helpful.
"I had been doing some babysitting before but the class really helped me develop certain skills more and I was more confident in my babysitting jobs after the class than before," she says.
A more confident, trained babysitter means parents that are more confident as well.
Hurst says, "Obviously, it gives the parents, they feel good, they're able to go do something for a couple of hours, take care of errands or what they have planned and they know they have a nurturing caregiver, someone who wants to be there and that is going to have fun with their kids and keep them safe."
"When you take a job, you don't just leave a child in front of the TV and leave the room. You need to interact with the child and keep them engaged. That's not your time to go to someone's house and hang out; it's your time to be with the child."
Hurst says that younger kids, such as 11-year-olds are encouraged not to babysit children younger than 6 months. She suggests having the child babysit while the parents are home, but maybe cleaning or working on something so they are close by. Hurst says or have a younger and older child babysit together.
The next class is full but there is another one on July 15 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Arkansas Children's Hospital, South Campus Building. The fee is $35 and snacks are provided. Pre-registration is required, so call 501-364-KIDS (5437) for more information.
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