Utah babysitting day camp includes TlC

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:55 AM

Cathy Allred

PLEASANT GROVE — A young child climbs up into the kitchen sink and sprays you with the hose every time you get close. You are the baby sitter and there is water everywhere in the kitchen.

What do you do?

“If she wasn’t my daughter, I probably would have never asked her back again,” Amber Woffinden said of that babysitting experience.

Woffinden teaches a babysitting day camp with other Pleasant Grove city staff at the city’s community center called Babysitting TLC.

There is a learning curve to babysitting but teaching skills and giving knowledge on childcare is usually tackled in the home, said Woffinden. Often a parent will overlook important child care tips assuming a new baby sitter for their family has learned by example.

“You just expect them to do what you would do,” she said.

The advent of babysitting classes during the last decade has helped older children be prepared for watching younger siblings or the neighbor’s kids while parents are out.

The Pleasant Grove day camp is designed for boys and girls, ages 10 to 15, who want to learn some skills in order to become a babysitting pro.

“I think it’s pretty fun. I think if my kids were home, I would have put them in the class,” Woffinden said.

She teaches the children tips on getting call backs for babysitting. Woffinden said when she babysat she made it a goal to leave the house cleaner than it was when she arrived.

“Moms get very, very appreciative when you clean things up,” she tells the nine young girls in class. There is another group of preteens also in the day camp down the hall in another classroom learning how to hold a baby.

Whether the class is taught by Safe Sitters, Red Cross, YWCA or another agency, the class may teach something mothers themselves didn’t even know, Woffinden said.

The class encourages open discussion and oh my, there is open discussion. Emmie Webb, age 10, said you need to watch toddler and babies all the time and related a time a baby got away from a parent and ended upside down in the creek. Did the baby live through that experience?

“Yes,” said Webb very seriously.

Woffinden tells the class of an experience a baby sitter had watching a television show with her charges, all young children. The toddler quietly snuck off and began drawing on a wall in a bedroom — with permanent markers.

“How awful would that be to have to tell the parents that one of their children had taken Sharpies to the wall?” Woffinden said.

“Crazy things like that happen,” she said and encouraged the students to always keep an eagle eye out for the youngest child.

Woffinden teaches through stories as she gives them the information. The students are engaged with those stories.

“Why is being on time for babysitting important?” she asks the students.

“If you show up late like at 5:30, they may have already have missed it,” 11-year-old Katelyn Spangler said of a show or dinner reservation.

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