Teaching Elementary School Health Education/Growth and Development/I Will Provide Responsible Care For Infants and Children

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Preteens and teens often have opportunities to be child-sitters. A child-sitter is a person who provides care for infants and children with the permission of a parent or guardian. Young people may look after a younger brother or sister or be asked by a neighbor or other adulte to look after their children. Teachers and other adults have a role in preparing young people to be child-sitters. Preteens and teens need to learn how to care for young children three to eight years old.

Preparation for Child-Sitting[edit | edit source]

A responsible child-sitter is prepared. A responsible child-sitter is:

  • Observant and alert
  • Calm during emergencies
  • Able to follow instructions
  • Trained in first aid and familiar with universal precautions
  • Able to recognize safety hazards
  • Able to communicate with adults
  • Able to communicate with young children
  • Able to supervise young children
  • Patient
  • Friendly

Caring For Infants and Toddlers[edit | edit source]

Learning the characteristics of infants and toddlers allows a young person to know what to expect when child-sitting. Newborns to one-year-olds need to feel secure, like to be with people, cry when hungry or uncomfortable, like to touch and hold things, like to look at hands and faces, and like to put things in their mouth. One-year-olds to three-year-olds need to feel secure; wnat to be independent; want to eat, drink, and get dressed without help; like to play, build things, and watch what others are doing; like to do the same thing over and over again; and may have temper tantrums if they don't get what they want.

A responsible child-sitter never leaves the infant or toddler alone. They never shake or hit an infant or toddler. Young people need to consult a parent or adult if an infant or child persists in a behavior they find difficult or inappropriate. They need certain skills to provide responsible care for an infant or toddler. These skills include the following:

  • Knowing what to do when a baby cries
  • Knowing what to do if they suspect an infant/toddler is sick
  • Knowing how to diaper a baby
  • Knowing how to bathe a baby
  • Knowing how to give a baby a bottle
  • Knowing how to burp a baby
  • Knowing how to pick up and hold a baby

Caring For Young Children[edit | edit source]

Children three to five years old share common characteristics, as do five to eight year olds. Three to five year olds enjoy playing with friends and communicating with others, like to learn numbers and play simple games, like to be independent and do things for themselves, like to learn new words and names for things, can be very active, and can be very aggressive. Five to eight year olds need to socialize with others besides family members, want to be part of conversations with family members, usually have more self-confidence than three to five year olds, like to ask questions about almost everything, and are influenced by what adults say and do. A responsible child-sitter needs to know the following skills:

  • Knowing what to do when a child is afraid
  • Knowing what to do if a child has a tantrum
  • Knowing how to help a young child
  • Knowing what to do when a child refuses to go to bed
  • Knowing what to do if a young child appears to be sick