Nine- to 15-year-olds learned how to be good babysitters last week in a Minot State University College for Kids Business of Babysitting class.
"We cover a lot of information in six hours," said teacher Tammy Prellwitz.
On Thursday, the last day of the course, the prospective babysitters were practicing CPR on dummies. They weren't certified at the end of the class, but they did know more about what to do in an emergency at the end of the class.
Photos by Andrea Johnson/MDN
Teacher Tammy Prellwitz helps Lexi Miller, 11, and Autumn Burns, 12, practice CPR. Both girls took a Minot State University College for Kids Business of Babysitting class last week.
"I always tell them something is better than nothing," said Prellwitz.
Earlier in the class, Prellwitz went over other safety steps, such as what to do if a child is choking. If a stranger comes to the door, the young sitters know that they should not let him enter the house. They should also not advertise their services on the Internet, but should babysit only for people they know personally and trust and have heard about through a network of friends or acquaintances. If anything happens on the job that they don't like, they should tell their parents or another responsible adult.
Prellwitz also went over the basics of child care, such as how to mix formula for a baby, how to change a diaper, and to avoid putting a baby to sleep in a crib with a pillow or other soft materials. Prellwitz said she talked briefly about the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She advised the kids not to babysit for a family where there is a lot of cigarette smoke.
Prellwitz also went over creating a safe environment for play and what to expect from young children at different developmental stages. Sitters are advised to ask the parents how they want the sitter to deal with discipline issues. If a child's behavior gets too out of control, Prellwitz told the prospective sitters to call the parents and ask what to do. She said they can avoid babysitting for a wild child by asking other sitters or people who have knowledge of the family about any possible issues they might run into. Prellwitz said she encouraged young sitters to babysit in pairs so there are at least two sitters babysitting.
Prellwitz said most parents seem to be reassured that their sitter has taken a safe sitting course. Some of the kids in the class are a little young to babysit, but many of them will end up taking the class for several years and will get more out of it as they mature, said Prellwitz.
The next session of the class for late June is full, but Prellwitz said another session will be offered in July. Call Professional and Community Education Coordinator Amy Woodbeck at 858-4343 for more information. A complete schedule for MSU's College for Kids classes is also online on MSU's website.