Henrico County youth learn the business of babysitting

Teen participants sitting at a table with baby dolls.

More than 240 youth have completed babysitting training since the Henrico County program began in in 2010.

The young entrepreneurs who attended Virginia Cooperative Extension’s babysitting training in Henrico County got more than just a new set of babysitting skills — they got a sense of confidence.

“It was a great learning experience. It was informative and all-around fun,” said one Henrico County participant who is starting to earn money by babysitting.

But while babysitting can be an excellent source of additional income, it can also be difficult work full of various unplanned events. Participating in babysitting training can help youth be better prepared for the job.

This is why the Henrico County 4-H Youth Development Senior Extension Agent, Kendra Young, and the Family Consumer Science Extension Agent, Kim Edmonds, offers a hands-on dynamic Babysitting Workshop series. In 2010, the Extension office was approached by the Youth Services Coordinator for Henrico County Public Libraries to create a hands-on, dynamic Babysitting Workshop series to be replicated at local libraries for youth ages 11 -16 years old. Since the starting this program, 244 youth have completed the babysitting training.

“We really enjoyed working with youth to help them learn about the business, challenges, and rewards of babysitting,” Young said. “This is a great way to help young kids grow and become budding entrepreneurs.”

The series was replicated at three Henrico County libraries for youth ages 11-16 years old. The 4-H Army Child Youth Services Babysitting Course curriculum, “Do I have what it takes to be YOUR Babysitter?,” was used and students received six hours of hands-on training over two days.

Participants learned information that would increase their marketability as a babysitter. They learned that safety is the primary responsibility, but they also learned information to ask the parents before they leave, basic first aid skills, and hands-on activities, among other things. Topics covered included child development, Character Counts, reading to children, and infant care.

“There was a broad range of subjects taught. The teachers were very thorough,” said one student.

After the training, 91 percent of the participants said they felt very confident about babysitting and left with skills that would allow them to handle any unseen event that could come their way.

Written by Emily Mertes.