Friday, June 19, 2015

Become a Modern Day Mary Poppins: Babysitting Classes with American Red Cross

By Jenny Contreras

Babysitting in the summer is a great way to earn some extra cash and have an excuse to play with Legos. Although it may seem like all fun and games, there are a lot of safety measures to take before someone can even consider taking care of a young child. I know when I first started as a babysitter I needed all the help I could get my hands on.

Aside from the Google search on “how to babysit five year olds”, I rented a copy of the VHS of Mary Poppins.  Although it sounds silly, there was a lot I learned from the young magical nanny. Throughout the film, Mary Poppins made a wonderful care taker by being pleasant and entertaining. However in the babysitting business there is a lot more involved than simply having a good time with the kids.

For instance, Mary Poppins didn’t have to handle scrapped knees or give CPR to any of the children but fortunately the local Red Cross offers online courses and blended in-person courses to help prepare any aspiring babysitter.

The Babysitting Basics online course is designed for individuals ages 11 and older. The course provides knowledge and skills to care for infants and children up to age of 10. The course encompasses leadership skills, the fundamentals of babysitting, safety, understanding children and emergency training.

The online course also has a lot of videos and interactive games. Meaning it won’t be a boring crash course rather an enjoyable learning experience. There are additional downloadable additional resources such as step-by-step instructions for hard skills like spoon feeding. The downloadable content also includes templates for resumes and tips on interviews with the parents.

The Red Cross also offers a blended course in Advanced Child Care training. For this class, students must be 16 years or older. On this blended course, there are additional skills being instructed such as Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED. Once the course is completed, the student will receive a certificate.

For those interested in the Basic Babysitting online class registration is open. The Advanced Child Care training courses this summer will be on June 20th and July 11th at the Red Cross DFW Chapter. For more information visit

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