Teen babysitting age?

(15 Posts)
CatchingBabies Fri 11-Mar-16 02:08:31

At what age would you think it acceptable for your teenager to babysit a younger sibling?

Talking short periods, parents local to home and after bedtime so younger sibling asleep?

DD is nearly 14 and keen to babysit her younger sister who is 4 on the odd occasion we pop out for a few hours.

DD is very sensible and I've left her alone no problem, she's going on holiday with friend and her parents soon etc. and I trust her. I just can't help think that in an emergency situation would a nearly 14 year old be able to deal with the situation as needed.

Am I being overly paranoid / protective or would you consider this?

ShadowsCollideIsSurroundedByAd Fri 11-Mar-16 02:38:26

I don't know. I started babysitting when I was 11. Often from until 7/8pm until 3am, minding a two year old and sometimes a 7 year old. I was well able to cope with anything that cropped up. I knew first aid, had no bother feeding a toddler, putting them to bed, then cooking dinner for myself and watching the X Files until I was dropped home in the wee hours. Once I turned 16, the people I babysat for started leaving out a few cans of beer for me.

But it's a very individual thing. My SIL and BIL have only recently left their 16yo DD to look after their 11yo DS. I guess it depends on the individual. Which is massively unhelpful.

Mistigri Fri 11-Mar-16 05:34:46

I would leave my 14 year old quite happily in this situation ie parents or other adult out but close by and contactable, sibling asleep.

Would you leave her alone in the same circumstances? Is the 4 year old a good sleeper, reasonably well behaved etc?

Mondrian Fri 11-Mar-16 05:44:07

In NI the legal age for a babysitting is 13. In England there is no legal age restriction, however the NSPCC recommends that no one under 16 should be left alone to look after young children. If someone under 16 is looking after a child, the parent or guardian, and not the babysitter, remain legally responsible for the child's safety.

Personally I think its down to the individual, you have sensible & responsible 14 year olds and irresponsible 16 year olds.

Katenka Fri 11-Mar-16 06:15:20

It depends on both kids.

My dd is quite immature for her age (12) and ds is a whirlwind (he is 5). She would panic if he wasn't sat still.

But if in two years she has matured a bit and he learns to actually sit down and chill for a bit, I would.

sandgrown Fri 11-Mar-16 06:24:55

I thought the legal age to care for another child was 14?

SweetTeaVodka Fri 11-Mar-16 06:30:50

I think it probably depends on your DD.

Personally I started babysitting for money for friends/colleagues of my parents when o was 14. I knew first aid, had the contact numbers of the parents and howntomocntsct ergency services if needed (never did need to contact either the parents or deal with any emergencies or sickness).

The kids I babysat for ranged from 4 to about 8. They would have already had dinner, and some would already be washed and in their pyjamas when I got there. My responsibilities were to play a few games, then take them upstairs to clean their teeth, read bedtime stories and then sit and watch tv or movies until the parents got home, with maybe the occasional resettling of kids. Whichever parent wasn't drinking would then drive me home when they got back.

My daughter is 3 and has only just started being reliably good about bedtimes and sleeping so I probably wouldn't inflict her on a teenager just yet, but I imagine once she's school age I would be happy for a responsible teen I knew to have care of her.

calamityjam Fri 11-Mar-16 06:36:42

Ds2 occasionally babysits for his cousins children aged 3 and 5. He is 15 and very good with little ones. I am always available to him over the phone and 10 minutes in the car if he was to need any help, which has never happened.

WelcomeToMusicTown Fri 11-Mar-16 07:12:05

I babysat for my sisters (4 and 10 years younger than me) for short periods from 10-12, all night at 13. I was 'officially' allowed to babysit other children at 14. I didn't have first aid training (don't think this was ever suggested back in the 90s where I lived!) but was a very sensible child with a children's nurse for a mum and experience of looking after my own sisters. Think it really depends on the teenager!

Ledkr Fri 11-Mar-16 07:20:26

Dd1 is 14 and really good with dd2 who is 4.
Dd 2 also flakes out at 7 and hardly ever wakes,.
We go out occasionally to a pub or restaurant a five minute walk away so she can call us back if needed.
She normally has a friend to stay if we do that because she gets scared in the house on her own!

Mandatorymongoose Fri 11-Mar-16 07:30:17

I'm finding these posts very reassuring. I still find it a bit weird leaving (very sensible) DD (16yr) looking after DS (3yr) for longer than an hour or so.

Bit hypocritical since at 16 I looked after DD on my own, in my own house, 24 hours a day

Ragwort Fri 11-Mar-16 07:39:17

It so depends on the individual children, I was regularly babysitting when I was 14/15 - that was in the 70s when we were all a lot more relaxed - I earned loads of money. grin

I would assume that you could certainly leave a sensible 13 year old with a younger sibling for a couple of hours.

CatchingBabies Fri 11-Mar-16 11:55:42

Almost 14 year old is VERY sensible and 4 year old is calm and well behaved, well for a toddler anyway. She's a brilliant sleeper though so once she's asleep she's asleep for the night.

I'm coming round to the idea more, DD is really keen to give it a go and I do trust her. She's amazing with her little sister as well, has fed her and changed nappies from birth, often reads her a bedtime story etc.

fieldfare Fri 11-Mar-16 12:05:46

She sounds sensible enough. Why not send her on a youth first aid course so she's more confident in the case of an emergency?

Our Dd is 13 and we've said she can start advertising baby sitting for people from when she's 14. She's already done a heart start course with air cadets and I used to be a childminder so she's plenty of experience with little ones.

CrystalMcPistol Fri 11-Mar-16 12:08:50

4 year old will be asleep and 14 year old is very sensible? I'd be absolutely fine with that.

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