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Parenting Prep: Programmed Baby Simulators Provide Reality Check (Hometown Press article)

posted Oct 23, 2016, 10:12 PM by Webmaster lynnville-sully   [ updated Oct 23, 2016, 10:13 PM ]
By Nathanael Lirio, Lynnville-Sully Student

For most high schoolers, being a parent is in the distant future, and most have probably not even begun to think about it. However, some students have begun planning their future and have explored the concept of parenting. Taking the Children's Health and Development Class teaches students the proper way of raising children. This class is instructed by Mrs. Gelene Evans, family and consumer sciences teacher, and every year the class has its most realistic challenge yet. Students get a glimpse into what parenting is like when they get the chance to take home a baby simulator.

“I really enjoy doing this project each year. It's interesting to see the different reactions each student has after the project is over. I also think it is a great way for students to prepare themselves for the future,” said Evans.The project began Oct. 14 when students in the class took home a baby programmed to act like a newborn. Over the weekend, students took responsibility of caring for the infant. While this project seems simple, it is actually quite complex. The baby needs to be fed, burped, and have its diaper changed. This process is accomplished through a wristband with a computer chip in it. To care for the baby, the student needs to wave their wrist over the chest so the computer recognizes who is interacting with it.

The baby is also programmed to cry at random hours of the night, which makes it especially hard for students to get a full night's rest. Essentially, this project is supposed to show how hard it is to take care of a child and the responsibility it requires.

“I loved the experiences. I thought it was a lot of fun taking care of a baby, but I realized how much work it really takes. Children always need attention from being changed to being fed. It was especially hard and annoying when it woke me up in the middle of the night. This experience will definitely help me when I am a mother, but it also showed me I am nowhere near ready,” said junior Sierra Suiter.