to leave a 17 year old in sole charge of a 3.5 year old?

(94 Posts)
InsanityandBeyond Fri 10-Jan-14 18:26:33

DD(17) is at college but does not go on a Monday. DS is not happy at his current nursery and I am thinking of moving him to the one down the road from me which is attached to the school he will be going to in September. He usually goes to nursery for a full day on a Monday as I am studying at my local Uni. The school nursery only offers 3 hours a day (the funded hours) and can only do afternoons so 12.30-3.30.

Therefore I am toying with DD having DS from 9.00, giving him lunch and walking him to nursery at 12.15 (a 5 min walk all on this side of the road, no major roads to cross), then collecting him at 3.30 and bringing him home. I will be home at about 5pm.

I will pay her £25.00 for the day (as the alternative is DH not working and losing over a £100 for that day) and she is very enthusiastic but I am not sure. She is quite immature, prone to tantrums and constantly on her phone attached to headphones. DS is a runner and quite a handful. Unbelievably she has never 'babysat' for him although I do leave her with my 11 year old twins if they refuse to come shopping with me she usually beats them up!

Am I over thinking this? Her friend of the same age has been left to babysit younger siblings over night before when her parents book a hotel for some 'alone' time (and have done so regularly for a few years now). I am jealous that they can do that as here I am panicking about DD babysitting for a few hours!

Finola1step Fri 10-Jan-14 18:30:16

YANBU to think that a 17 year old should be quite capable to look after a 3 and a half year old sibling for a few hours a week.

But can your 17 year old be trusted to do so?

Annunziata Fri 10-Jan-14 18:31:44

she usually beats them up!? What does this mean?

She should be capable. But if she has not looked after him before, it will be very hard for her.

What about when she has college work due?

Dogonabeanbag Fri 10-Jan-14 18:33:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SparklingMuppet Fri 10-Jan-14 18:33:31

In the circumstances described I don't think your particular 17yo is trustworthy enough to do this. She should be by that age but from what you've described and given that she's never babysat for him before, I'd have to say no.

whois Fri 10-Jan-14 18:35:24

Of course a 17 year old should be fine doing that. In theory. But not sure your DD sounds up to it? Maybe have some time where she has sole charge but you are in the house to start off with, and some trips out where she takes main care of him to see how she does?

allnewtaketwo Fri 10-Jan-14 18:35:51

If she's sensible I round say absolutely fine, only you will know. I wouldn't leave my 18yo DSS in charge if a dog let alone my child but clearly not all teenagers are the same

BackforGood Fri 10-Jan-14 18:35:56

Like everyone else said, in general most 17 yr olds would be capable of doing this, but the picture you paint of your dd isn't very encouraging.
I'd be confident my 15yr old dd could do this tbh (obv, in the holidays or something - she's at school mostly!) - but then, I know her and her capabilities.

Tractorandtree Fri 10-Jan-14 18:35:58

Dsd2 when she was 17, and indeed when she was 16 would have been perfectly capable of this and did babysit for us quite often, now at 20 she happily looks after both ds1 (4.6) and ds2 (20mo) for a whole day at a time and is brilliant.

However does depend on the 17yo (and the 3.5yo grin)

nannynick Fri 10-Jan-14 18:36:10

At that age I was caring for a 3 year old during the day (about 5 hours). So YANBU to leave a 3 year old with a competent 17 year old.

The issue here I suspect is that DD whilst keen has not proved herself capable. Could you do some trial periods where you are present but DS is her responsibility, then leave for a short time. Give her the opportunity to prove she can care for DS. You have left the twins with her so you are fairly confident but DS may be trickier.

Sirzy Fri 10-Jan-14 18:37:38

Most 17 year olds would be able to do that, whether yours can is another matter. Would she be happy to commit to doing it every week or is ti going to cause you issues down the line?

Sirzy Fri 10-Jan-14 18:38:09

Other option is can you find a childminder who can have him before nursery?

CoffeeTea103 Fri 10-Jan-14 18:39:05

I don't think you should leave her with your DS from what you have described. I'm sorry to say that comparing to your dds friend only refers to her upbringing. If she was taught responsibility she would be responsible.
Perhaps you could encourage her by leaving her for short amounts of time and helping her to be more responsible towards her siblings.
You shouldn't really have to pay her for looking after her own brother. It's one day a week, while you and DH are working to provide for the family, which she also benefits from.

bigTillyMint Fri 10-Jan-14 18:40:13

I was looking after a 2yo and 4yo during the day from 14. Of course a 17yo could do it if you feel she is capable.

The main thing is that she needs to see it as a job and interact with the 3yo as you would wish, ie not park them in front of the TV while she FB's or whatever!

SaucyJack Fri 10-Jan-14 18:42:47

Are you about to dripfeed that your DD has special needs?

If not, I think summat's gone wrong somewhere if she can't be left alone with a younger sibling without resorting to violence tbh.

likeit Fri 10-Jan-14 18:43:53

I was doing that at 17. Only you know your daughter.

dietcokeandwine Fri 10-Jan-14 18:45:51

As others have said, really. I did regular babysitting for young children at that age and did short term nannying type stuff as well, and would have easily coped with what you describe. Many many 17 year olds would be.

But from what you write I would be worried about your DD, tbh. Too many red flags in your OP for me. Is she enthusiastic about looking after DS, or about the £25?!

I don't think you're over thinking this at all. At the very least she needs a supervised trial run or two so she can prove herself to you.

MillyONaire Fri 10-Jan-14 18:47:16

I would not consider myself to have been very mature at just 18 but I was an au pair in sole charge of a two year old and a four year old 4 days a week. We all survived. However I have had two au pairs - one was super responsible (she came first at age 16: she was the 2 year old I managed not to harm when I was 18) and again at 17 and 18, then I had another au pair who was to look after my children, then aged 2 and 8 for two hour periods once a day. She was 18 and she was terrible - spent her time on her phone and on facebook. She lost my 2 year old one day - my 8 year old looked after the 2 year old effectively! So there you go: as others have said: some can; some can't. If she's that keen (on the money I imagine) tell her what you're worried about:
In the wise words of bigTilly: The main thing is that she needs to see it as a job and interact with the 3yo as you would wish, ie not park them in front of the TV while she FB's or whatever!

chickydoo Fri 10-Jan-14 18:48:37

My 17 yr old has regularly looked after young children for days at a time. She is very mature & responsible though, has a first aid certificate. She is also a brownie leader, and is looking to study either radiography or nursing at uni.
17 year olds differ immensely! Some are kids, some are adults.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 10-Jan-14 18:55:47

I agree with everyone else. Most 17 year olds would be able to do this, some wouldn't. Only you know which camp your 17 year old is in. Is her responsible friend available to do it?

Lurleene Fri 10-Jan-14 18:57:33

I think it depends not only on your DD but on your DS too. She may be up to the job, but he may not be willing to accept boundaries off her if needed, IYSWIM?

I have a 17 yo DD and only leave my DS with her if I pop to the shop, not for hours on end. It's not that I don't trust her, but the dynamic of the pair of them together leads me to think they'd get up to mischief!

LynetteScavo Fri 10-Jan-14 19:01:33

A 17yo sibling beating up 11 year old twins is perfectly normal (please tell me it is!)

I think the worst that will happen is the 3yo will spend all morning watching Cbeebies, and the 17yo might be a few minutes late collecting from nursery.

If you are going to pay the 17yo, then I would write up a contract, and make it clear if she doesn't do the job properly you will find someone who will. (Don't tell her how difficult it is to find child care!) I reckon most 17yo's would be laughing at getting an extra £25 a week.

tilliebob Fri 10-Jan-14 19:08:22

I used to nanny every summer from age 15 and at 17 was in sole charge of a 10mth old and a toddler in a farmhouse 5 days a week.

My very sensible 14 year old DS1 is occasionally left in charge of DS2 now (he's 5 and a half now) for a short while now. I wouldn't leave my DD (12) when the wee one as she's a total ditz, but by 17 I'd expect her to be able to nanny just as I did in her holidays.

InsanityandBeyond Fri 10-Jan-14 19:18:46

Well her friend is not particularly responsible as there has been a few mishaps there. I meant that I am jealous that the parents are so laid back that they will leave them all over night while I am on the opposite side of the spectrum -- over assessing the risk in everything-- and call the older 3 every 15 minutes when they are home alone in the day!

DD has no SN apart from being very volatile and self absorbed. I am more worried that she would not be on the ball if DS ran on ahead or got too close to the road on the way to nursery. I am sure they will be fine at home. She has suggested that he stay at home that day and they stay indoors all day. She does need some responsibility and I have not given her any mainly due to my own anxiety and how she is with the twins which is a bit of a bully and there is usually a tale to tell of name calling or thumping when they are at home together. She is not at all like that with the 3 year old although does shout at him when he is drawing on her bedroom wall with her lipsticks.

I think we will do a trial run tomorrow. She can take him to the shop opposite the school while I hide in the bushes and stalk him.

Thanks all.

InsanityandBeyond Fri 10-Jan-14 19:21:29

him = them.

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