to leave a 17 year old in sole charge of a 3.5 year old?(94 Posts)
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!
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?
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?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
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.
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?
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
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.
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 )
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.
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?
Other option is can you find a childminder who can have him before nursery?
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.
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!
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.
I was doing that at 17. Only you know your daughter.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
I think that the fact you are even doubting her ability to do this is a strong indicator of what your gut feeling on it is.I think if she was the type of 17 year old who is capable of dealing with a young child,then it wouldn't even occur to you to query it.
Either that,or you are over-protective of the youngest child.Why has she never minded him before now?
In theory, yes. But I'm not a fan of expecting older siblings to babysit younger ones. Especially not for £25 per day which is peanuts for a days work
Well janey68 I am not 'expecting' her. It is being discussed and she is happy to do it. It's me that's not sure. She needs a part time job anyway but hasn't got one yet and I am sure the minimum wage for an under 18 is less than £5.00 per hour anyway.
She has never babysat before for DS3 as I felt the responsibility was too much to put on her shoulders before but they are both older now.
£5ph is very reasonable. It'll be a much easier, nicer job than working in Tesco or similar.
Your 17 year old? No, sorry I wouldn't leave her to babysit. Sorry, but from you have described, she needs to do some serious growing up.... I say this as a parent of a similar 17 year old, but her younger sister is a lot more responsible and trusting.
I don't think a sister should be 'expect' to be paid for looking after her younger sibling, I never understood why parents pay older children to babysit the younger ones. £25 is good money considering she is at home anyway,
I would do it
Still, she does sound rather immature and self-absorbed - most 17 year olds could easily cope with this, only you know what she will be like. I was regularly looking after children during school holidays etc from about 13.
Our respite carer was 18 when she started caring for DD alone. .DD hss severe autism. She is particularly mature though.
3 year olds are hard work & you don't sound confident in her abilities so I would say YABU.
You're being unreasonable to expect her to be capable of this when you haven't been teaching her how to be so far. You can't expect her to be responsible for him for a whole day if she hasn't even done an hour or two before now. Sending them to the shops tomorrow is far too little, far too late. You've created this situation, you sort it out - pay a proper childminder, and start supporting your elder dd in gaining her independence. If anything, you've let her down I'd say.
Yanbu of course a 17 year old is capable. Why do your 11 year olds need babysitting though?
My almost 13y could manage that.
My almost 16y probably couldn't or a least it would cost me about £50.
DD1 is very sensible, but she finds small DC as unbearably dull as I do.
DD2 is brilliant with them.
I frequently think I should hire them out as a pair. DD2 to babysit and DD1 to prepare food and be a very calm head in an emergency.
I don't think I would, because she doesn't usually look after him and you will be some distance away and for quite some time.
She will have to coordinate his food and entertain hm a bit too as well as communicating with you if there is any problem etc .
Also nurseries have to have named people to pick up and drop off.
I have elder ds and dd and younger ds s so have been through this.... It's not always easy and some teenagers are just really into music, have head phones on or fall asleep on the sofa by mistake!
Your decision, but you have to be sure she will be responsible.
Also I wouldn't pay, especially so much and for the first time ever!
The named person in my dc nursery only has to be 16.
I'm guessing 11Y need babysitting due to being twins.
Next door wouldn't leave her 10 and 13 year old boys because the fought.
I wouldn't have left the DDs together until DD2 was 11 and used to being left on her own. I would never ever suggest that DD1 is looking after her (although the once they messed up meeting me in town, DD2 did let DD1 take charge as she quietly admits, DD1 has a practical streak which has nothing to do with age
My 16 yr old ds is left in charge of my 2 and a half yr dd for up to 3 hrs when I need to do a big shop or such like. He knows what to do in an emergency, knows he has to be in the same room as her at all times and mustn't play video games or have earphones in.
He plays with her and they watch tv. It's not all the time but he's very capable. Once a week he is left for 2 and a half hours with dd's of 6 and 8 and apart from the same room thing, same rules apply.
I'm not sure I'd leave my pre schooler with your dd as you have described it. How about a settling in period? Half an hour whilst you pop to the shop etc and take it from there.
I have a 5 year old and a very demanding 4 year old. My minder really let me down this week and I phoned my 20 year old so to help me out. He collected both children from school, fed them, did homework, prepared my dinner, cleaned house, 4 days this week. I am so impressed with him. He really stepped up and the kids behaved really well for him and loved having him minding them. I have asked him to do it for me one day a week on an ongoing basis
My 2nd kid aged 9 babysat his 7 month old dd while I took my oldest ds to swimming lessons. An hour twice a week and he coped!!
We had to leave dd 4 at aged 10 in the care of her older brothers 21 and 22 for weeks as our other dd was fighting for he life.we were abroad, They coped.
Why would you pay your 17 year old to do what family do
She should be willing and able to do this without money!!
Not wishing to start a fuss, but not sure a 9 yr old is legally allowed to look after a small baby alone at home.
No row new its often called real life.there is actually no legal age in England to leave a child alone. Are you abroad?
As in your dh is working abroad and you have 4 children 2 at pre teen stage and 2 babies.
It's pragmatic and sensible and obviously I don't now have to worry like the op here.
Mine are now 24,23,15 and 13 and eminently sensible and well rounded individuals. [ grin]
My elder dd s took turns to look after dd3 who was 5 during the holidays. T he older one 18 was rubbish. Mainly tv and choc buttons. The middle one was brilliant,off out somewhere,cooking and painting. She was 15. Next hols will be a mix of dd 2 and platforms. For hAlf a day a week though I wouldn't get too het up. Give her a trial first.
You let your 9 year old babysit a 7 month old?!
No don't let her! Trust your instincts, she doesn't sound mature enough. Find a child minder.
Are you talking to me outraged if yes for swimming lessons for ds 1 to the local swimming swimming pool a few miles away so dd was In his care for 30 mins max.
Not everyone has a husband home every night.
Not everyone had such spoilt older children that they can't trust them it to either ' beat the siblings up just wierd.
My kids were brought up to be responsible and thank goodness that's what the older ones are now.
Dd3 who nearby died in a terrible accident has reaped the benefit of older brothers who were brought up to take responsibility,
Actually very proud of our parenting.
Well not sure I understood all of your post but in my real life I took all children I was responsible for and babies( who can't legally be left alone, no as it is neglectful) to the swimming lessons. Or don't go!
You're very lucky that no harm came to your baby.
Ok I assume you are fairly new to motherhood and life in general so to he honest can't be bothered to respond. Good luck in your journeys but just remember life doesn't always go by the book so to speak,
OutRagedFromLeeds thanks for that chik,
If you had bothered to read my posts you would have have read that dds major injuries actually occurred during a risk assessed school trip, she nearly died so we actually don't need lectures from you. But thanks anyway my 4 kids are responsible and thankfully Dd3 is now almost fit again.
What happened to your DD on a school trip is not related to your decision to leave a baby with a 9 year old. Hopefully your 4 children are more responsible than you and wont leave their small babies with children babysitters.
Will your 17 year old be up and about at 9am?
Oh dear love!! Good luck in your journey through parenthood!
I really hope it doesn't bite your smug arse!
If you have to ask then you probably shouldn't do it. I wouldn't want to be away from my young child worrying about whether he/she was safe. Hope you can work it out.
Sorry got to ask you how old are your dcs?
Bodypopper,I think you'll find you're part of a minority of parents who believe it is responsible parenting to leave a 9 year old in sole charge of a small baby,so I wouldn't get too uppity with your justifications of it.The majority of responsible adults would find that reckless,I believe.
OP - most 17yo's would be fine, but I wouldn't leave your 17 yo DD in charge of a
fly small child, no. (Based on what you have written on this thread).
Bodypopper leaving a nine year old with a baby is illegal. Yes their is no fixed age but they have to be old enough to be responsible or you wpd be charged with neglect.
Did you really leave a baby with a 9 year old?
They're old enough to know that a 9 year old can't take responsibility for another child.
My 3 month year old baby looks after the family pet hamster whilst the rest of the family go to Benidorm for two weeks.
Anybody who thinks 9 is old enough to look after a baby is totally unhinged....how would a nine yo deal with a banged head/ fall, choking or a massively shitty nappy. It's totally unfair to do that to another child, no matter how sensible they might be.
But OP, your babysitting 17 yo really doesn't sound suitable. Give her a trial day and make her prove it.
My 18 year old has looked after the 2 year old and 11 month old. Hes looked after the toddler for the day whilst I was in hospital, he was 17 at the time. Hes not so great with the 10 year old though!
My 10 year old is great with the baby, I imagen he would panic if something happened though banged head etc.
Totally irrisponsible to leave a 9 year old with a baby
I'm sorry but as a mother of 6, eldest being almost 19, youngest 2 and a half and a husband that works long unsociable hours there's no way any of my older ones would be left in charge of a baby that young. Take them all with you or don't go somewhere, incredibly irresponsible.
In theory there is, of course no reason why a 17 year old couldn't do this. I looked after my sisters, including my youngest who was a toddler and has Downs frequently from the age of 14. That was built up gradually over a period of time and I was remarkably responsible and precocious. I wasn't ever paid however, which was very annoying when I was expected to give up paid babysitting gigs to do it.
Leaving a 9 year old in charge of a baby for an hour is acceptable in an emergency. Every week? Incredibly risky and deeply unfair to the 9 year old.
FWIW, I don't intend to make my eldest child responsible for my youngest. I want them to be friends and allies, I don't want DS to feel responsible for DD, I want his responsibilities to be more general, as he didn't choose to have a baby sister.
I was babysitting at 13 and two of my sisters had dc at 16. However age is not so much the issue it is if the person is capable. I wouldn't leave a dog with my FIL to care for let alone a child.
I am gobsmacked that a nine year old would be left with a baby though.
Presumably your DD has college work that she is supposed to be doing on the day she isn't in for lessons?
could she take ds in his pushchair?
My DSD has been babysitting for us (6 hours every other Saturday if both DH and I are working) since turning 15. I trust her to the ends of the earth with them - more than my own parents TBH, she's the only person I am genuinely happy to leave my DCs (4/6) with.
Totally depends on the children and teens involved though. DSD has her head screwed on right and the worst that happens is a bit of extra mess when I get home.
I have almost similar circumstances and would not do this. Have left 17 YO with other 3 younger sibs but not my bolting youngest. Too much responsibility as you need to be on the ball 100 percent if have one who will dash out in road etc and no sense of danger.
You can't leave a 9 year old in charge of a 7 month old. And it can't be for a max of 30 minutes if the swimming pool is a couple of miles away - more like 1.5 hours by the time you drive there, kids get changed, half hour lesson, get changed again and drive home. Far too much responsibility for a 9 year old unless the baby is left in a play pen or cot which could be distressing. It's irresponsible yet you're so belligerently condescending to whoever has pointed this out to you.
It totally depends on the 17yo. My cousin has got 2 dd's; the youngest is 17 and the oldest is 19 and I have left ds with the youngest since she was 15 as she's very on the ball and mature. However, I wouldn't leave him with the 19yo now, as she's in lala land most of the time and probably wouldn't notice if he was there or not! At 17, I was regularly looking after kids but I was mature for my age.
I'm not surprised that your 17 yr old is not mature enough to look after your youngest tbh, if you phone the older 3 constantly when you leave them for any length of time then how do they ever have the opportunity to become responsible?
Fwiw my eldest was walking his little brother to school and back on occasion from the age of about 9, his brother was 6 at the time. I often leave him alone now (he's nearly 12) and I leave my youngest (now 9) on his own for short periods.
For your children to become responsible, they need responsibility - your daughter is 17, not 7.
At 16 I was caring for my 5 month old cousin for 2 days a week, it's not until now that I've realised how scary that is. My Aunt obviously trusted me and I think I did a good job, but looking back I didn't have a clue. I was more confident then than I am now at 30 with my own baby.
You have to consider how your 17year old perceives looking after your LO. If she sees it as free money and an easy ride then I'd have a change of plan. However, if she sees it as a big responsibility, even if she's not quite 'there' yet then it's a good idea. It sounds like you should teach her what to do (do a dummy run of the nursery walk etc) and stress about the dangers to make them really obvious before you actually leave them though.
I'm not sure a 9yo should be looking after a baby but my mum often says she could have left me at that age with my baby brother, she never did it but then again she wasn't ever in the position where she needed to. It's a massive judgement call, but not completely inconceivable. I'm sure it's very common actually.
My daughter looked after a 4 year old when she was au pairing in Spain this summer.
It worked well even though my girl is a very young 18. She had sole charge in the afternoons, having picked the little girl up from nursery school.
She had the grandmothers phone number in case of emergencies, but never had to use it.
Hope this helps.
She may respond well to the responsibility.
My own DD could look after her younger brother and sister from around 14 really well. Her older D sis could look after her from the age of 11. Obviously I never left her to babaysit alone, but got their elderly GM to come in and be the responsible adult, while DStD did the majority of the actual looking after.
At 17 my DM had a one year old, a husband and a mortgage. I would imagine your DD will be fine as long as she doesn't hit him as well. Even if she dumps him in front of the TV, its one day a week, he'll survive.
I don't think she sounds capable of doing it. You describe her as 'prone to tantrums', what if the 3 yr old has a tantrum/ gets upset in any way, while in her care? How would she react, if still prone to tantrums herself?
I was ready to say yes, absolutely.
But since you say your DD is pretty immature she may be an exception.
I would have do a trial run as well though, because people can surprise you. I think teens who are on that awkward bridge between being a child and an adult tend to regress a bit when they are with their parents, but maybe she will act more appropriately when left in charge of a little one.
Only you know whether your 17 year old is responsible enough to do this. If you're not sure, you should start letting her babysit for short periods of time and see how it goes.
I don't think the fact that she has a temper and is always on her phone is that relevant though.
Big difference caring for a quiet kid and caring for a bolter with no sense of danger though.
ok I think your 17 yr old needs to grow up a bit you are a family and family helps each other out I was looking after my 3 yr old sister at 17 a lot of days and taking her too and from nursery some days, just let her do it what is the worst that can happen maybe a bit of family responsibility will make her grow up a bit she is almost an adult
I was babysitting sort of child minding as well at 17
I wouldn't leave your dd in charge as you say she's volatile and self absorbed.
She's too immature to be left in sole charge of a 3 year old.
maybe helping her mum out will change her attitude though not saying you should let her be in charge if you dont trust her but perhaps it is time she wasn't so self absorbed, and i wouldn't be paying her so much either
I don't know a teenager that isn't a bit volatile and self absorbed! It goes with the territory. Don't let that bit put you off. IME (I have 3) teens do tend to rise to the occasion, drum into her the importance of hand holding on the way to nursery and give her some trial runs and see how she does. As other posters have said she needs to be given responsibility in order to become responsible. You may find it is the making of her. Good luck!
well exactly they are all a bit up in the air as teenagers but i do think by 17 they should be calming down a little and being more responsible for their flare ups
OP, I'd give it a go, your DD might actually enjoy the responsibility. However I would not be paying her £25!!! More like a token £10 if you have to give her anything.
Some 17 year olds are responsible enough but doesn't sound like your dd is....
By "having tantrums" I presume you mean that she loses her temper with you? I don't think that means she would be unable to look after a 3 year old (unless you have reason to believe she would lose her temper with the three year old).
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