Caring for young children is not easy. When the parents leave, that babysitter is responsible for keeping the kids safe, fed and entertained.
While babysitters aren't legally obliged to have any type of formal training or education, taking classes on how to be a babysitter and other skills that sitters need is a smart idea.
We've compiled a list of eight classes and programs that will make you a better sitter.
Still not sure? You can make more money! 80 percent of parents feel that babysitters should be paid more if they're trained in first aid, CPR and child care, according to a 2012 survey from the American Red Cross.
Once you've taken these classes, mention them in your Care.com profile. Parents look for these skills, and they will help you stand out from other job applicants and show how seriously you take babysitting.
If you're a nanny, check out 12 Nanny Training Courses and Certifications »
According to that same survey, nearly a third of parents have rejected a potential babysitter because of safety concerns. "[Parents] want to entrust their children to babysitters trained in first aid, CPR and child care skills," says Troy Jenkins, a training specialist with the Portland, Ore. branch of the Red Cross.
Many caregivers choose to get trained in CPR and first aid for those just-in-case moments. You can get certified through many places, including your local fire station, hospital or YMCA, or national organizations such as the Red Cross or American Heart Association.
Learn more about How to Get First Aid and CPR Training »
Halley Bondy, author of "Don't Sit on the Baby!: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and Safe Babysitting," says getting safety certification looks great to employers. "Not only is it a great resume booster, but you'll feel prepared if you ever face a wounded or, god forbid, an unconscious child."
Although it's not required, think about becoming a certified babysitter. Many organizations run comprehensive classes that review everything a babysitter needs to know, from how to handle bedtime to communicating with parents. Look into the ones offered by The American Red Cross, Safe Sitter and your local YMCA.
Infant Care Training
If you're watching young kids, there is lots of specific information you should be aware of. A class that focuses on infant care can help. You'll be better suited to care for your tiniest charges after receiving basic infant care training.
Check out these classes that have been approved by the Newborn Care Specialist Association (NCSA).
Water Safety and Lifeguard Training
You may want to take your charges to a beach or lake, or watch them while they're in their backyard pool. Lots of accidents can happen around water. Babysitters should know how to react in an emergency. The Red Cross, as well as local recreation centers and community pools, likely offer these courses.
If you're going to be picking the kids up from school or chauffeuring them around to activities and play dates, you should practice your driving skills. Sign up for a defensive driving course that will teach you how to be a better driver and avoid accidents caused by common hazards on the road. You may even get an insurance discount once you complete the course. Your local DMV is a good place to search for a class.
Pet Care Training
You'll have to take care of children, but what about family pets? Do you know where to walk the dog, how to clean the cat litter box, what to feed the snake or where to find the hamster ball? Will you know what to do if a pet gets sick? Find a pet care course at a local ASPCA or animal shelter and brush up on your animal-care skills.
Cooking and Nutrition Training
Along with food safety, learning how to cook nutritious, delicious meals for you and the children you're caring for will leave parents breathing a sigh of relief. Plus, you'll be able to show off those great cooking skills for your friends in the future.
Check out local community colleges, culinary schools or health food stores for cooking classes. Learn to be a Kid's Nutrition Specialist through the National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association.
Elementary Education Training
If child care is truly your calling, consider getting a degree in elementary education. These degrees are offered in colleges and universities around the country, and graduates can become teachers, psychologists, counselors -- and babysitters. You'll learn how to interact with kids and understand how they develop and learn.
No matter what classes you take, being a babysitter is an important job that takes more knowledge than simply knowing how to play a few games with children. Taking these types of classes will make you a better caregiver and more in-demand with families looking for sitters.
Are there any other classes you would recommend for babysitters?
Jennifer Eberhart is a freelance writer in New York City. Her work can be found here.