Students from the Adult Roles class attended early morning drama class with their life-like simulated dolls, complete with computerized responses. The Adult Roles class is a part of the baby think-it-over program. 

Drama teacher Collene Brinkerhoff observed some extremely-fatigued students who had been up most of the night tending their simulated babies. The dolls are used by schools and organizations to help adolescents appreciate parental responsibilities of taking care of an infant.

Brooks Eberly shares her experience: 

Okay cool, so for our Adult Roles class we all got in partners of two to share a “think it over” baby. We would both be required to have the baby for 24 hours so that we could experience the night and day time experience of having a child. At the beginning it was fun. The babies were cute and would make cute sounds. During the first day, Mickell got the baby so she took it home and kept him for the night. The next day she said that she was so tired because Jerome (our baby) kept crying and crying. So I took the baby for the next day and wondered if the baby would cry for me. It didn’t really cry for me during the day, maybe this night will be better.

It was great having Mickell as my partner because we both understood when we were busy and needed the other one to take care of him, such as during an important class or when the other was trying to get something done. It made me realize that I wouldn’t ever want to raise a child by myself.

When I took Jerome home, his cuteness seemed to fade and my tired eyes drooped more. Just hearing the baby cry made me tired. It was a relief when my mom came home and offered to hold him while I finished my homework and showered (thank goodness for grandmas).

When it was time for bed, it really wasn’t. Jerome seemed to cry every half hour, making me wake up and see what was wrong by putting a magnetic beeper into its back that allowed you to know if it needed its diaper changed, to be fed or burped, or simply to be held and patted. At night, it was mainly to be held…it’s kind of hard to hold a baby and try to sleep, so I spent most of the night awake.

Finally, the morning came and Jerome quit crying for enough time for me to get ready. When I had to finally give Jerome back to be shut off, it kind of made me sad…yet almost relieved that this simulator baby wasn’t the real thing and that I would be able to handle a real baby, when I was ready and married.

After that, I seemed to hear baby noises everywhere. It seems as soon as you take care of them, every time you hear a cry, you just want to take care of it. It was a good experience, fun, tiring, a new experience that definitely made you not want to have a baby during high school with the lack of sleep and all the homework. I don’t know how a teen mom can do it sometimes.

After spending a few days and nights, many teens had some reality checks about the pressure involved with infant care. The drama class of both boys and girls, expressed how difficult the baby care was as the demands of life and school took on new meaning and did not go away, just because the baby came.

When the life-like doll is given to the new parent, they are given a non-transferable key, attached to the wrist. The key can be inserted into the doll for a length of time to simulate its needs.

Feeding, bathing, burping, diaper changes and comfort measures must be met to keep the life-like doll happy. If neglected,  a tamper proof indicator will alert the instructor.

The simulated dolls were created in 1993, and more than one million teens have used the simulators. Does it work? Studies suggest that in some areas, teen pregnancy reduction is as high as 50 percent. It was indeed a reality check for a lot of young people who expressed that they were not ready to become parents or ready for the responsibility of caring for another precious human being.  It sounds like Baby “think if over” is quite an eye opening experience. Hopefully, the students can get some shuteye after the experience and get back to their normal routines.