Last week, I held a Babysitter’s Workshop for teens. It has been something I have wanted to do since I started almost two years ago. The idea was to help give teens (especially those living in the inner city, the population I serve most often) a basic foundation on caring for children as a summer job. As I researched and researched, it became clear that this program was going to be very expensive if I wanted to make sure participants were certified. To be certified, not only did they had to go through a babysitters’ training class, but they also needed certified in CPR and First Aid. The class would have been 6 hours long. It was more than I was prepared to offer.
I decided that I would run it as a workshop where teens could learn the most basic first aid tips, activities to do with children of different age groups, and ways to start their business. I had 10 signups and 5 teens actually come! And they came ready to learn with notebooks in hand.
The program was an hour and half long. We had a speaker from the American Red Cross talk about Emergency Preparedness in terms of tornadoes, power outages, poisonings, and other situations. While he spoke, I gave tips on remaining calm and talking to parents. Afterward, I gave the girls a quiz from the book Don’t Sit on the Baby by Hally Bondy on deciding if babysitting is right for them. It wasn’t really a serious quiz–just something to break the ice and lighten the mood. Then I gave them two different objects (things like cars, clothes pins, books, puppets, sponges, bowls, a bandana, etc) and asked them to come up with creative ways to use them with different age groups. The last thing we did was learn to change a diaper. I had my storytime buddy, Winslow T. Bear, available for the girls to practice changing his diaper.
They each received a tote bag and folder with notebook paper and tip sheets for babysitting. They also put together a couple games to take with them for their first babysitting job–cotton balls with straws and a yarn matching game.
Overall, it was a successful program. I had plenty of books on hand and some even checked out which is a win in my book! The books were about babysitting in general but I also had some available that were about games to play with babies and toddlers.
I’m currently looking at ways to improve this program, and one of those ways is to offer certificates upon completion.