The 4-H Babysitting Course participants pictured from left to right, front row: Ashleigh Anderson displaying the healthy snacks participants made and Ashlyn Montrose holding the first aid kit she made. Second Row: Carla Bush, UT Extension Agent, Rachel Pate showing her diapered “baby”, Mary Espy with her tissue paper flower craft, Hannah Pate with her Babysitter’s Magic Bag and Erin Nichols, TNCEP Program Assistant.
Keeping children safe is the number one responsibility of a babysitter. The 4-H Babysitting Course was completed by five young people this year: Ashleigh Anderson, Ashlyn Montrose, Rachel Pate, Mary Espy, and Hannah Pate. It was instructed by Carla Bush, UT Extension Agent and Erin Nichols, TNCEP Program Assistant.
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, or a shoe box, 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 decorated their own canvas bag and filled it during our course.
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 numbers 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.