More teen boys babysitting

American Red Cross seeing growing trend


Babysitting isn't just fun and games for high school student Sam Latzsch. It's a paycheck.

"All my friends think it's kind of interesting because they're not, like, very friendly with children, but they think it's cool that I am," he said.

But Latzsch is on to a growing trend, according to the American Red Cross.

"Gender roles are becoming less defined.  We've seen an increase in teen boys and young males register for our babysitting courses," said Grant Hansen with the American Red Cross.

And the numbers are expected to grow even more, so much that the Red Cross is making changes to the curriculum to reflect the new demographic.

"We wanted to make sure they're well represented in the classroom courses, so, so many of our videos now feature young males going through their instruction," explained Hansen.

Cary Siegel, author of the book "Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School?,"says young men are beginning to see the multiple benefits of babysitting, compared to more traditional jobs for a teen boy.

"One of them is the fact that, you know what, it pays pretty good. Two is it's a lot easier than the manual labor.  Three, it's more flexible in terms of what they can do in terms of the hours and how do it. And you know what, four, it's probably a little bit more enjoyable," he added.

But Hansen points out babysitting brings its own challenges.

"It may not be sweating and grueling like digging a ditch or mowing a lawn or being behind a counter all day, but you're very hands on as a sitter.  You're playing with the kids. You're always mindful of safety and things like that," he said.

Hansen agrees it can be lucrative. The pay for teens can vary based on several factors, including where you live, your experience and safety training.

"We've seen babysitters charge anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars an hour, depending on the amount of children they're sitting for, so that's a great income when you think how it might compare to a fast food job or mowing lawns or things like that," he said.

And sometimes, male sitters are preferred by parents. That's how Latzsch ended up watching Diana Cole's children, Ethan, Sasha and Briana.

"With Sam I can relate a little bit more ,and the girls also like him because they can also relate to him, I don't know how," said 10-year-old Ethan.

Sasha, who is 9 years old added, "Because he's a football player!"

Diana Cole picked Latzsch to babysit because she thought it would be good for her children.

"Ethan needs sometimes a lot of one-on-one time. As well as, it shows the girls that it's good- you know it's not just a female role, it's also a male role," she explained.

For guys considering getting into sitting, Hansen says a good sitter is a good leader. He says that skill helps with handling temper tantrums or potential sibling rivalries.  Also, safety training is important.  And,Hansen reminds teens to be prepared to provide some references.

The Red Cross does offer online babysitting training at www.redcross.org.