Is My Daughter Ready to Babysit?

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How to Prepare Her

If both you and your daughter decide that babysitting is right for her, make sure she:

Takes a Class. Require her to take a course for up-and-coming babysitters; many hospitals and community organizations offer them. If no classes are offered in your town, your daughter can sign up for a class online. Check out the American Red Cross's Babysitter's Training Course or

The plus side of a live in-person class is that your daughter would have lots of interaction with other students. The benefits of an online class are that you can participate and sense just how much she's grasping, her level of interest in taking on the responsibility of babysitting, and if she's learning how to manage the business side of babysitting.

Tries Trial Runs. If your daughter has the opportunity to be a "mother's helper" before being on her own with young children, all the better. A mother's helper takes care of children when the mom is home, but is in her office working or outside in the garden planting vegetables.

Has Back-Up. When your daughter starts babysitting solo, plan to be home in case she can't cope. That way you can come to the house to help out until she builds up her confidence and child-caring skills.

Jan Faull, MEd, is a veteran parent educator and the author of two parenting books, Mommy, I Have to Go Potty and Unplugging Power Struggles. She writes a biweekly parenting advice column for, and a weekly parenting advice column in the Seattle Times newspaper. Jan Faull is the mother of three grown children and lives in the Seattle area.

Originally published on, December 2004.


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