Keeping children safe is the number one responsibility of a babysitter. The 4-H Babysitting Course was completed by five young people this year: Abbie Hibdon, Sharon Bessant, Macy Miller, Julianna Schau and Etta Gaines. It was instructed by Carla Bush, UT Extension Agent, Stephanie Patterson, UT Extension Career Edge Intern and Linsey Arfsten, Health Department Educator.
The 4-H Babysitting Course is designed to help middle school and teenaged youth learn what it takes to be a responsible, caring, trustworthy, competent, capable and safe babysitter. A babysitter learns that their job is to keep the children safe and happy. This means watching them closely and playing with them. Bringing a "magic bag" full of fun things along when you babysit makes this task easier and exciting for the children. The bag can be a pillow case, a shoe box, or an old backpack, whatever is available as long as it is sturdy. It should contain a collection of inexpensive safe, age appropriate items found at home or purchased at a yard sale or thrift shop. Participants were given their own "magic bag" filled with many different items from coloring books to hand sanitizer.
As a babysitter, you are the "go to" person in every emergency. We reviewed basic first aid, how to handle emergencies and made first aid kits. In this job, you need to have important information ready in a moment's notice. Knowing what information to have, and where to find it quickly, can be the difference that saves lives! Babysitters should keep a file on each family allowing them to be prepared in a variety of situations. This file would include emergency phone number of neighbors and family to call if needed, as well as information about any health concerns, like allergies, the children may have.
Babysitters need to know what to expect of children at various ages. We studied child development during our course. Children vary widely in their abilities. Knowing how to play with them and what to expect will help keep them safe and happy.