Simulating Parenthood CAA Seniors Practice Parenting

September 01, 2003 | David Allen

Seniors at Columbia Adventist Academy became parents for 48 hours in April. As part of their Marriage and Family class requirements, seniors cared for the newest generation of computerized dolls, which simulate real babies. The RealCare Baby cries for several reasons, just like real babies—because it wants to be fed, burped, rocked, or have its diaper changed or because it is held in the wrong position or roughly handled. For each of those needs, the student "parent” had to figure out why the baby was crying and then respond with the appropriate action so that the baby would stop crying.

Besides crying, the RealCare babies coo, cough and make sucking, burping and fussy sounds. A control unit allows the teacher to know how many times the student performs each of the necessary activities, as well as how many times the baby did not get the proper care.

The purpose of this project was clearly explained by senior Nikki Jones: “While the babies aren’t as realistic as a real baby, they definitely make you realize how much time and energy a baby would take. Between getting up at any hour of the night to feed the baby, or being interrupted in daily activities to rock the baby for 45 minutes, you definitely get a feel for how much time and energy a real baby would take.”