Back in January, Owen told us he wanted to figure out a way to earn some money. A friend of his had started getting paid to do some occasional babysitting after school for neighbors, and he was kind of envious that she had a “job.” So, we talked about some things he could possibly do — shovel sidewalks when it snowed (but there’s no guarantee of snow), help neighbors clean up their yards (but that’s more of spring or fall task), help younger kids with homework (which is still an option).
Then, he asked, “Why can’t I babysit?” And I told him there was no reason he couldn’t, as long as he had the proper training to do it. While I’ve left him in charge of Sasha at home for short periods of time, taking care of someone else’s children in their house is another story, so I thought he should have some formal instruction on it — and figured the extra knowledge would benefit us, too.
Owen’s friend who was already babysitting told him about a class she had taken with the American Red Cross, so we signed him up for a session. The Babysitters Training workshop, recommended for ages 11-15, covers the basics on becoming a responsible babysitter. Here’s the full description of the class:
To provide youth who are planning to babysit with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly give care for children and infants. This training will help participants to develop leadership skills; learn how to develop a babysitting business, keep themselves and others safe and help children behave; and learn about basic child care and basic first aid.
Classes are $89, last a full day, 9am – 4:30pm, and are offered some weekends at Red Cross locations around the area. Owen took his class in DC with the National Capital Chapter, located close to the White House. I dropped him off in the morning to an instructor and a room of about eight other kids that looked around his age.
When I picked him up in the afternoon, he had a Babysitters Training Handbook along with loads of new knowledge. He learned about feeding babies and toddlers, changing diapers, ways to calm down upset little ones, what to do in emergencies, how to perform the heimlich maneuver, and much more.
So, Owen is now ready to book some sits, and I also have greater peace of mind when I leave him to watch his younger sister. (And if anyone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is looking for an occasional after school/early evening or weekend daytime sitter, let me know! 🙂 )
If your tween or teen is interested in the American Red Cross Babysitters Training class, more information and registration are available on their website. And if you don’t see a convenient class listed, keep checking back, as new ones are always added.