Child Development and Parenting

Better Babysitters

Kids playing outdoorsIn this class, students will learn about:

  • Responsible babysitting
  • Basic child development
  • Infant and child care
  • Safety and injury prevention
  • How to handle emergencies
  • Age-appropriate toys
  • Business tips
  • What parents expect

This class is intended for teens and preteens, ages 11 to 14. If your child is over 14, you must have special permission to enroll in this class. Please refer to our FAQs, below, for frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions, please call Seattle Children's class registration line at 206-987-9878.

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Virtual Better Babysitters

This is a two-part class, with sessions taking place on two consecutive weekend dates. Each session is two hours long. Participants must attend both sessions to receive their Better Babysitters certificate.

Classes are led by our Better Babysitters instructors and hosted via Zoom. You will receive the Zoom link by noon a couple of days before the class. We have designed these virtual sessions to be engaging and interactive, including videos, polls and opportunities to work together.

Cost: $50

In-Person Better Babysitters

Our in-person class has the same curriculum as the virtual class but is held in one four-hour session. Classes are offered in Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way and Everett.

Masking for students, families and visitors is recommended, but not required, at all locations. If you have respiratory symptoms like coughing, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose or fever, please stay home. We are happy to work with you to reschedule your class – simply email

Bellevue class

Seattle class

Federal Way class

Everrett class

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where are the Better Babysitters classes held?

    We currently offer both virtual and in-person classes. Virtual classes are hosted on Zoom and students can join from anywhere. In-person classes are hosted at Overlake Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Magnuson Clinic.

  • What is covered in the Better Babysitters class?

    The comprehensive curriculum provides games, activities, safety skits and practice with life-size dolls. Students receive a Better Babysitters Guidebook to review with their parents and to take with them when they babysit. In general, the course covers:

    Being a better babysitter

    • Why do you want to babysit?
    • How do you get babysitting jobs?
    • Deciding how much you want to charge
    • What to do when someone asks you to babysit
    • Getting to know the kids
    • Getting instructions
    • Tips on being professional
    • Talking with adults

    Caring for children

    • Child development basics
    • Caring for children (babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children)
    • Special care for children of all ages
    • Playtime
    • “Tools” for working with children

    Safety and injury prevention

    • Home safety tips
    • Personal safety tips

    How to handle emergencies and illnesses

    • How to call for help
    • Emergencies
    • Illnesses and other problems

    At-home activities

    • Setting ground rules (worksheet)
    • Talking with adults (practice)
    • Making meals and snacks (checklist)
    • How to handle ups and downs (practice with “tools”)
  • Will my child receive a certificate?

    Yes, if they attend the entire class. If your child misses more than 20 minutes of class they will not receive a certificate. If this poses a problem for your family or child, please email Seattle Children's registration at to discuss options for making up the missed course content.

    Please note that the certificate is merely an acknowledgement that your child completed the course. It is the sole responsibility of parents to determine if and when their child is ready to babysit.

  • What if my child arrives late to class or needs to leave early?

    Please do what works best for your family. We appreciate your understanding that we cannot issue a certificate to anyone who does not attend the entire class.

    If your child desires the certificate, please email our registration at, Monday–Thursday, to discuss options for making up the missed material.

  • Do parents attend the class?

    No. Parents who want to attend the class will need special permission. Please email Seattle Children’s registration at if you have questions about attending the class with your child.

  • My child is not 11 yet. Can I register them for the class?

    No. The Better Babysitters class is designed for children ages 11 through 14. The focus of the class is to prepare your child to fill the role of babysitter.

    We recognize that maturity and readiness falls on a continuum. Like school districts, we found we needed to establish a minimum age.

    This policy is based on the collective expertise of numerous developmental pediatric professionals and our 25 years of experience. It is not based on any Washington state laws about how old a child needs to be to babysit as there are no such laws on the books.

  • My child is 15 or older. Can I sign them up for the class?

    Yes. But, please know that the class is designed for younger students. We have found that students older than 14 do well as long as they want to take the class and understand that the class is not geared for their age group.

  • How will I know if my child’s registration is confirmed for the class?

    You will see a confirmation once you have successfully registered. You should also receive an email when you complete the registration process and pay with a credit card. If you do not receive a confirmation email but believe that you have registered, please contact Seattle Children’s registration line at 206-987-9878.

  • How do I change or cancel a class?

    Just sign into your registration profile to change an existing registration. You can make changes to your existing registration up until 10 p.m. the Wednesday before the class. There is a small fee to cancel or change your class:

  • My child wants to take the Better Babysitters class with a friend. Can you make sure they will be in the same class?

    If you would like your child to be in the same classroom as a friend, please ensure that they signed up for the same classroom on the same day. Please note that instructors usually cannot change classroom assignments during check-in. This allows us to start class on time and eases the flow of check-in for all families.

  • I want to sign up a whole group of students (like a Girl Scout troop or private class). Can I do that?

    Yes. Group size can be up to 22 students. There is an option to "add guests" to accommodate a large group to register for an existing class.

    Private classes cost a flat fee of $900 and can accommodate up to 22 students. If you require a private class for a group, please email

  • My child has a learning disability or other special needs. Can accommodations be made?

    Almost always, yes. Please email to discuss how we can best accommodate your child’s needs. Please note that depending on the accommodation required and class you are registering for, we may need up to 3 weeks’ notice.

  • Where can I get additional copies of the Family Information Form that my child received during the class?

    Download the Family Information Form (PDF).