Finding a good babysitter is tricky. Parents want to trust their kids to the best care they can find, but most professionally run places are not open either in the evening or on weekends, or they cost a great deal of money. For many parents, the most convenient and easiest option is finding a neighborhood teen. But parents would be happier if they knew they were leaving their little ones in the hands of someone with a bit of training.
Learning to be a good babysitter is tricky. For many teens, babysitting is a first employment experience. The may not know what to do if an emergency or even just an unfamiliar situation occurs.
Fear not parents and potential babysitters, there are resources. First, Howard County Library System is offering a class on September 13, 6:00pm at the Glenwood Branch, Babysitting 101. A University of Maryland Extension-Howard County 4-H Program instructor teaches child safety, first aid, and about transitioning a child to bedtime. The class is available for people ages 13 and up. Participants should plan to attend all three sessions: Sep 13, 20 & 27. They can register online or by calling 410.313.5577.
Howard County General Hospital also offers regular babysitting classes, but they fill up fast. Here are some upcoming classes that still have some slots available, and it is useful to regularly check their class listings:
Home Sweet Home, 11/3, 9–11 a.m. Free.
Is your child almost ready to stay home alone? What do you need to do to make it a safe environment? What does your child need to learn before he can be left alone? This free course for parents and children ages 8-12 will teach safe and fun ways for children to stay at home alone. Please be sure to register your children individually.
Essentials in Babysitting, 11/17, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. $50 includes lunch.
Are you ready to be a babysitter? Learn the skills and knowledge necessary to become a responsible babysitter including how to effectively manage children, create a safe environment and apply basic emergency techniques. Marketing tips and age-appropriate activities for children will also be discussed. For children ages 11-13. Lunch will be provided.
Similar classes are also offered throughout the community in places such as village centers and local schools. Check the Columbia Patch (or the Patch of of your community). There are also some good babysitter guides and manuals available through the library.