(NPN/RNN) - 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," Latzsch said.
But he is on to a growing trend, according to the American Red Cross, which teaches childcare classes. The numbers of male babysitters are expected to grow even more, and the organization is making changes to its curriculum to reflect the new demographic.
"Gender roles are becoming less defined," said Grant Hansen with the American Red Cross. "We've seen an increase in teen boys and young males register for our babysitting courses. We wanted to make sure they're well represented in the classroom courses, so many of our videos now feature young males going through their instruction."
Author Cary Siegel said 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," said Siegel, who wrote the book Why Didn't They Teach Me This in School? "Two, 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."
The pay varies based on several factors, including where you live, experience and safety training.
Hansen agrees the job can be lucrative, but it 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," Hansen said. "You're playing with the kids. You're always mindful of safety and things like that. We've seen babysitters charge anywhere from $10 to $20 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."
And sometimes, parents prefer male sitters. That's how Latzsch ended up watching Diana Cole's children, Ethan, Sasha and Briana.
"Ethan needs, sometimes, a lot of one-on-one time," Cole said. "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."
Hansen said a good sitter is a good leader, and that skill helps with handling temper tantrums or potential sibling rivalries. Safety training is important, and guys interested in doing it should be prepared to provide some references.
Latzsch suggests other guys seriously consider giving it a try.
"I would absolutely recommend babysitting because it's really fun," he said. "It's really rewarding."