Summer 2011
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Babysitting 101: Getting Started


Babysitting is a great way for kids to earn money and learn responsibility. But the big question is, how old should your child be to babysit?

According to, it's more about maturity than age. A responsible 12½ year old who has taken a babysitting course is more reliable than a 14 year old who ignores the kids because she's texting friends.

The best way for kids to get started babysitting is by taking a class. The Seton Healthcare Family's CPR Program offers two classes that cover babysitting basics, safety and first aid:

  • Babysitting Basics
    This class teaches future babysitters how to interact with different age groups and how to successfully handle common behavioral issues. Students will also learn how to handle feeding, bedtime, diapering/potty training and bath time.
  • Babysitting Safety and First Aid
    Students will learn safety issues that can occur and how to keep themselves and the child or children they are watching safe. Students will learn basic first aid skills and how to care for them, including the Heimlich maneuver and who or when to call if necessary.

After the course, your child should gradually ease into a job. has some great suggestions for getting started:

  • Ask to go with a friend or relative who babysits. It's a great way to learn and gain confidence.
  • Start out by helping take care of a child (or several kids) while the mom or dad is still at home. That's a good way to get an idea of what it's like, but the parent is available in case there's a question.
  • Keep the first job short (an hour or two).
  • Babysit a child who lives in the same neighborhood – that way, family support is close by in case there are any problems or an emergency.


Good Health for Kids is produced by Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.