In the middle years, many children learn babysitting skills by being taken care of by an older sister or brother, or by helping their parents care for younger siblings. At some point, they may express an interest in becoming a sitter, and by the age of 13, they may be ready to do so.
Schools and organizations (YMCA, local hospitals) often provide courses in babysitting. However, nothing can compare to experience, preferably under the observation of an adult.
Preteenagers, boys and girls, can seek some "on-the-job" training by working as a mother's helper, assisting in the care of young children when a parent is present in the home. This is particularly valuable if the family has expressed some interest in hiring your child as a babysitter in the near future. She can observe how the parents interact with their children, while getting to know the youngsters before taking full responsibility for them. She will also discover the tasks involved in babysitting, and how each child must be approached somewhat differently.
Responsibility Involved in Becoming a Sitter
If your child has shown interest in becoming a sitter, emphasize to her the responsibility of taking care of someone else's children. When she is asked to sit, help her plan her schedule so other tasks (such as homework) do not conflict with the hours she has committed to childcare. Also, assist her in formulating questions to ask the parents who are hiring her, such as:
- What is expected of her
- What she will be paid
- Activities she might be able to do with the children
Click here for a complete list of babysitting reminders.