Child Development and Parenting
Due to COVID-19, in-person Better Babysitters classes have been postponed indefinitely. A virtual version of Better Babysitters is now available.
In 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
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.
Virtual classes are led by our Better Babysitter instructors and hosted via Zoom. We have designed these virtual sessions to be engaging and interactive to include videos, polls and opportunities to work together.
- $50 per student
This class does not include CPR training, practice or certification. If you are looking for a CPR class for your child, please register them for CPR and First Aid for Babysitters.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Better Babysitters classes are held in Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way and Seattle.
Bellevue – Classes are held in partnership with Overlake Medical Center and are located at 1035 116th Ave. NE in Overlake’s PACCAR Education Center (directions). Please note that these classes are not held at Seattle Children’s Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center.
Everett – Classes are held in the Seattle Children’s Everett conference room at 1815 13th St. (directions).
Federal Way – Classes are held in the Seattle Children’s Federal Way conference room at 34920 Enchanted Pkwy. S (directions).
Seattle – Classes are held at Seattle Children’s 70th and Sand Point Administration Building located at 6901 Sand Point Way NE (directions). Please note that these classes are not held at Seattle Children’s hospital campus.
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
- “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
- Illnesses and other problems
- Setting ground rules (worksheet)
- Talking with adults (practice)
- Making meals and snacks (checklist)
- How to handle ups and downs (practice with “tools”)
No. Certification must be obtained in a separate course. Seattle Children’s offers a CPR and First Aid for Babysitters course tailored to participants aged 11 to 15. This class focuses on CPR for infants and children. It is offered in Seattle.
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 call Seattle Children's registration line at 206-987-9878 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.
Download a copy of the Family Information Form (PDF).
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 call our registration line at 206-987-9878, Monday–Thursday, to discuss options for making up the missed material.
Better Babysitters class starts promptly at 9 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Parents are invited and encouraged to attend the last 10 minutes of class to hear what their child has learned.
Check-in for Better Babysitters starts at 8:45 a.m. in Seattle and 8:50 a.m. in Bellevue, Everett and Federal Way.
No, we ask that parents bring their child into the building or classroom and sign their child in. Most importantly, we need to collect emergency contact information from you for the time that your child is in class.
This is also our opportunity to communicate important information to you, confirm that your child has a lunch and remind you that you are welcome to attend the last 10 minutes of class to hear what your child has learned and that you must pick up your child from the classroom.
As a courtesy to our instructors, please be sure you arrive before class is over. We cannot leave your child unattended to wait for you.
No. Please pack a lunch, snack and water bottle. There is no cafeteria available.
No. Parents are expected to sign their child in before class starts and pick them up when class ends at 2 p.m. Parents who want to attend the class will need special permission. Please call Seattle Children’s registration line at 206-987-9878 if you have questions about attending the class with your child.
We make every effort to avoid cancelling classes. In the event of a cancellation, we notify the class via email as early as possible, which is generally the morning of the class. In addition, we will call the phone number you provided during registration.
Registration staff will contact you within 5 days to reschedule your child. Once contacted by registration staff, it is up to you to follow up with staff to reschedule your child’s class registration within 6 months of a class cancellation. Reschedule requests beyond this time frame cannot be accommodated.
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.
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.
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.
No. We use a third-party registration system, RegOnline, which requires that all payments go through their secure online payment system. This system confirms and protects your payment and guarantees that we receive funds securely.
You can cancel a class or change to a new date until 10 p.m. the Wednesday before the class takes place. Just sign in to your registration profile to change an existing registration. There is a small fee to cancel or change your class:
Class change fees
- At least 4 days before class: $10 fee
- 3 days before class: no refund (registration closed)
Class cancellation fees
- At least 1 week before class: $10 fee
- 4 to 6 days before class: $15 fee
- 3 days before class: no refund (registration closed)
Yes. There is a waiting list for these classes. To be added to the waiting list, complete the online registration process and select the class date for which you would like to be waitlisted. Note that we continually add new classes throughout the year.
Please do not show up to a class hoping for an available spot, as instructors cannot accommodate walk-ins.
In Seattle we almost always hold two classes at the same time on the same day. The classes are usually taught in side-by-side rooms.
If you would like your child to be in the same classroom as a friend, please register for them for the same classroom during registration or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to class.
We will make every effort to place your child in the same class as their friend. Please note that instructors cannot change classroom assignments during check-in. This is allows us to start class on time and eases the flow of check-in for all families.
No. The registration page has an option to add additional people. The class fee is $45 per child and there is no discount for registering more than one child.
Yes. Please note that you will be asked to certify that your child’s friend is at least 11 years old. You will be asked for your child’s friend’s birthdate.
Yes. Group size can be up to 22 students in Seattle and Bellevue and up to 18 in Everett and Federal Way. Please note that you will be asked to certify that each child in your group is at least 11 years old. You will be asked for their birthdate.
Yes. Class size is limited to 22 students. The fee is $900. Your group handles registration and provides the space. Generally, we are not able to travel more than 75 miles from Seattle Children's hospital campus. Our ability to accommodate private classes is subject to instructor availability. For more information, call Seattle Children's registration line at 206-987-9878.
Limited scholarships are available as needed. Please contact Seattle Children’s registration line at 206-987-9878.
Yes. All Better Babysitter classrooms are wheelchair-accessible. For other needs, please contact Seattle Children’s registration line at 206-987-9878.
Almost always, yes. Please call Seattle Children’s registration line at 206-987-9878 to discuss how we can best accommodate your child’s needs.
We only have sign language interpreters. If your child needs an interpreter, please complete the online registration process. Once you have registered your child, please call Seattle Children’s registration line at 206-987-9878 to let staff know which class date you have registered your child for and request an interpreter. Requests must be made at least one week before the class.
This question is on the online registration form. The information you provide will be shared with the instructor prior to class. If you have a special request related to your child's allergy, please feel free to call Seattle Children's registration line at 206-987-9878.
Also, feel free to remind the instructor about your child's allergies on the day of class.