Your new neighbors call; they’re looking for a sitter for their toddler and think your daughter would be perfect for the job. You’re flattered and know your child is responsible, but she has never babysat before. How can you help your child is ready?
Consider enrolling your child in a babysitter course. Such courses teach participants many important things, such as what to do in emergency situation and many also have a CPR and first aid component. The American Red Cross offers many such classes, that can be found at http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/babysitting-child-care.
It may seem like fun, but babysitting involves more than just playtime. Sit down with your child and have a discussion about everything that babysitting involves. Don’t be afraid to quiz your child, asking what he would do in an emergency situation or how she would calm a crying child.
Stage a ‘trial run’ by allowing your child to babysit for younger siblings while you run a quick errand.
Make sure you’re home. That way can be on call if your child has questions or runs into trouble.
Schedule time for your child to meet with the babysitting client in advance. Doing so will allow everyone to get to know feel comfortable with one another. Make sure you attend this meeting as well, since you would like to ensure that your child will babysit in a safe and sane home.
Consider a 2-for-the-price-of-1 scenario in which your child and a friend co-babysit. The client will get two sitters, often helpful if there are multiple children, and your child will know that there is a built-in backup. This also works well in preventing your child from getting spooked if the babysitting job is a late night one. Of course, reinforce that this is a job, not a time to hang out and socialize.
Be sure to program emergency numbers in your child’s phone.
Finally, if your child voices any concerns, is apprehensive about babysitting or implies she doesn’t want to, don’t force her into the job. Babysitting isn’t for everyone, and there will be other opportunities for your child to earn money and learn responsibility!
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