FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 20, 2012) -- Child, youth and school services offers teens the chance to take off the training wheels and become entrepreneurs with its annual babysitter training course in January.

The course is free for participants and will educate teens on basic childcare, infant care, diaper changing, home and fire safety, child abuse, CPR and first aid, along with other essential child care procedures, according to Charlotte Hardy, Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation parent central and outreach services director.

"The teens will learn basic care needs as well as in depth care for special needs children. We will introduce to them how to handle difficult situations, such as having to give a shot to a child who has diabetes or how to calm down a child who has attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder," she said.

CYSS will hold the course Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fort Rucker School Age Center, Bldg. 2806, and is open to youth ages 13-18.

If teens complete the training, their names will be added to the CYSS Babysitter List. To participate, youths must register with CYSS and sign-up with parent central services by Jan. 7.

There are several benefits for teenagers who take the course, according to Hardy.

"Not only are they getting paid, but they are starting up their own little business and they are learning what goes along with that," she said. "They can learn how to negotiate their hourly or group rate with the parents during the course, and learn better organizational and communication skills."

Besides learning basic ethics and working skills, Hardy said the teens also benefit from the impact that they will make on the children's lives.

"I see it all the time. Children really fall in love with their sitters. They change their lives by the love and attention that they show them, and parents can really see the affection that the children have for their sitters," said Hardy.

The participants will take home a compact disc that contains all of the information they learned as well as several documents to help them keep their appointments organized and skills sharp.

"Some safety things may wear off as the teen gets older so reviewing the CD will be helpful. They may remember to take their parents to meet the Family they will be babysitting for to make sure it is a safe environment to work in and things like that," said Hardy.

Teens will also learn the signs of child abuse and the steps to take if they think a child is being neglected or if a parent is inappropriate with them.

"We teach them how to scan the child's behavior, body language and even their physical appearance to ensure that the child is happy and healthy, and if not, what that sitter should do," said Hardy.

Though many may say Fort Rucker is a tight-knit community, Hardy said that child neglect and inappropriate adult behavior occurs everywhere.

"We want to prepare the teens for every situation. We don't want Families to think that 'It couldn't happen here--not to my child.' Even here, it can happen. So we want parents and babysitters to be aware of what inappropriate behavior is and what to do if it occurs," she said.

The rules of babysitting are also reviewed in the course.

"We will go over other things such as how long each age group is allowed to babysit at one time and who is allowed to babysit overnight," said Hardy.

Learning what it takes to open and grow a business with hours, prices and duties is one thing Hardy said is an invaluable lesson for the "youngsters" to learn.

"We give them a taste on how to spread their business. We give them advice about safely making business cards and fliers, because that is part of becoming an entrepreneur --getting your name out there," she said.

Many of the skills the teens will learn will stay with them throughout their lives. Some will be used almost immediately, while others will benefit them down the road, according to Hardy.

"We will talk to them about the importance of being honest, of putting the child's needs first, responsibility and respect. They will learn that through those avenues, not only will they prove to their patrons, but also to their parents that they are trustworthy," she said. "They can also use the CPR and fire safety the rest of their lives.

"All and all, we want to teach them how to stay calm and to prepare them for almost anything that may happen while they are on the job. From scraped knees to arguing siblings, we want to teach them what to do," she said.

Though the course is serious, Hardy said that the teens typically have a lot of fun and enjoy the training.

"We keep the laughs going. They certainly keep me laughing. We learn so much about each other that day, and that in itself helps them learn how to break the ice with adults," she said.

The course is limited to eight participants due to limited instructors, so Hardy advises teens to sign up soon.

"Teens who have a love for children and want to expand their knowledge on business and communication, as well as learn about patience and trust will have a blast learning the skills to be a better babysitter and putting those skills into action," she said.

For more information, call 255-2958.

Page last updated Thu December 20th, 2012 at 10:58