Summer is a great time for teens to earn some money babysitting neighborhood kids. Before your teen jumps into this big responsibility, they must learn some safety protocols and take some training for the safety of the children and themselves.
Although CPR and First Aid training may not be necessarily required from parents to watch their kids, it still should be prioritized. And if these teens are trying to create a business with their childcare services, this training is a must. Plus, many parents will feel much better about leaving their little ones at home with a teen babysitter if they know they’ve had proper safety training. The Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) is a great place to start, and Shield-Safety also offers CPR and First Aid training for groups. Before taking that first job, teens should attend a safety course (some cities may offer a short certified babysitting course), get to know the family that wants to hire them (even just briefly), ask the parents the pay rate and hours, determine what is expected of them, know the family’s address and phone number, and determine how they will get to the house and get back home after babysitting.
Once the teen arrives on the job, they should spend a few minutes getting to know the layout of the house, the kids, the pets (if any), and a possible neighbor in case of emergencies. The parents should leave some instructions, but if not, your teen should ask a few basics, such as bedtimes, food allergies, routines, screen time, house rules, bathing requirements, etc. Have your teen ask where first aid supplies are, what hazards are in the home and where (such as chemical storage locations), and how to lock and unlock the doors. They should also be left with a phone number to contact the parents and know a ballpark timeframe of when the parents will be home. Additionally, if your teen feels unsafe themselves, they need the opportunity to decline and come back home.
Make sure your teen knows this is a job and they cannot be distracted. They should not turn up the TV loudly or put in headphones so they can’t hear a baby cry. They should not take telephone calls from friends or get lost texting while on the job. They shouldn’t open the door to strangers, and they may even want to implement a code word between the parents, kids, and themselves. If they’re watching the kids through the night, they need to be sure the house is locked up and some lights have been left on. During mealtimes, it’s important to stay extra alert to prevent burning, choking, or slips and falls.
In the event of an emergency, the training will come in handy. However, your teen babysitter should not try to be a doctor and feel pressured to fix the emergency alone. They need to feel comfortable and prepared to call 911 if needed and know how to be a support until medical professionals arrive. Safety training teaches you the how, the why, and the when to step in in an emergency.