By Mickey Schommer
GREEN BAY – Green Bay’s Center for Childhood Safety is offering a program that teaches older children the necessary safety skills to babysit.
The Center for Childhood Safety chose to pick up the Safe Sitters program at the start of the COVID-19 by large request of the community because of the influx of children who were staying home with their younger siblings.
“This program has been highly successful for us because we not only teach home-alone skills, but we also teach childcare skills,” said Center for Childhood Safety Community Engagement Director Christel Weinaug. “When we talk about childcare skills, we talk about ways that students can manage behavior or stay in control of situations, whether that be somebody who is their neighbor or somebody who is not family. We also give techniques to Safe Sitters for those who are family members, like their own siblings because that situation tends to be a little more difficult than when you’re watching non-family members.”
Safe Sitter is a program designed by a doctor who was looking to ensure the safety of children in the hands of a babysitter.
“When [the program designer] was at work, an emergency came in. It was her neighbor’s child who was choking on something and the person who was babysitting them didn’t know how to do the Heimlich and unfortunately, that child had passed,” said Weinaug.
The Safety Sitters program discusses personal safety in all aspects of life, whether that’s home alone, walking home from school, or via the Internet.
“If you’re not personally safe, no one is going to hire you to watch their children,” Weinaug added.
In addition to personal safety, the Safe Sitters program discusses childcare skills, such as teaching the dietary needs, ability level, and maturity of children of different ages; first aid and rescue skills, such as teaching allergy awareness and how to manage injuries; and life and business skills, such as how to job screen, discuss fees with an employer and discern the compatibility of the job.
“We make it fun. We have games, ways to interact and get up and out of their seats and learn about the different aspects that we talk about,” said Weinaug.
At the end of the class, the student receives a certificate acknowledging the completion of the course commending not only their childcare skills but familiarity with the instruction of business as well.
For more information, visit www.centerforchildhoodsafety.org/safe-sitter.