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Young babysitters?

(66 Posts)
indigodreams Wed 01-Dec-10 07:00:13

Do you think a very mature 15 year old is old enough to look after an 11 year old and a 2 year old from 7-1 at night? I'm not comfortable with it but all my friends say it is OK.

Goblinchild Wed 01-Dec-10 07:03:13

I wouldn't, unless you are totally confident that in an emergency she would react appropriately. Is there sensible adult backup within 10 minutes reach?

alfabetty Wed 01-Dec-10 07:03:16

Depends how far away you'll be. Could you be back in 15 mins if one of your children were unwell? If you are an hour away, that's a lot of responsibility for a 15 year old, unless his/her own parents are on hand.

But I would be OK with it - I've left my 2 and 4 year old with a 16 year old neighbour - but her mum is only a couple of doors away and we stay close by.

macdoodle Wed 01-Dec-10 07:06:21

My best friends daughter was babysitting my 2 from when they were about 7 and 1, from when she was about 15/16.
I've known her her whole life, but her mum was across the road for emergencies. The only time she had to call her was for a especially bad pooey nappy, the only thing she couldnt cope with grin

indigodreams Wed 01-Dec-10 07:08:43

We would be 15 minutes away but most of my family are close by, within 5 minutes.

alfabetty Wed 01-Dec-10 07:12:52

I think it will be fine. It is hard to leave them with a babysitter for the first time, but so long as your home is generally safe (stair gates etc) there's not much to go wrong, esp as the younger will will be in bed for most of the time.

Is different with a very young baby, but a 2 year old can communicate enough that they can let the babysitter know if they are poorly or need a drink etc.

Once you've done it, you'll love your babysitter beyond all reason.... wink

larrygrylls Wed 01-Dec-10 07:14:09

What is the issue?

As long as you are all contactable on a mobile, what could happen that you could not respond to?

We have used a 15/16 year old (never really asked) for our 17 month old since he was about one. She is v responsible and babysits for everyone in my squash club. We tend to use my wife's mother if we are out further afield, though.

bigTillyMint Wed 01-Dec-10 07:15:10

I ws babysitting a 2yr old and a 4yr old when I was 14. Admittedly my mum was across the road, but I never needed to call her fo help.

I think they will be fine, if you know the girl and feel she is smature and sensible enough to cope.

Goblinchild Wed 01-Dec-10 07:23:49

If you have an adult on tap, 5 minutes away who is prepared to be emergency call out, then I'd be less worried.

twilight3 Wed 01-Dec-10 07:58:23

agree with the others, plus the 2yo will probably be asleep for most if not all of it, right?

mummytime Wed 01-Dec-10 08:03:08

I'd be concerned about the 11 year old, if it wasn't a sibling. But with the right 15 year old and 11 year old it could be fine. I also wouldn't want it the first time (and would be happier if her mum was close just in case mobiles don't work).

piscesmoon Wed 01-Dec-10 08:06:48

It is fine if the 15yr old has a mum who is on standby and can get around as backup within 5 minutes.

frakkinup Wed 01-Dec-10 08:14:38

It's all about your confidence in them and whether you think they'd handle an emergency or not. There are some things where 5 minutes is too long.

They definitely need some form of backup - either a parent or a neighbour you know well (check with the neighbour first!)

I know that things rarely go wrong but when you get a babysitter you're getting them for the 'what if' scenarios.

Could they deal with a choking child?
What would they do if the house was on fire?
How would they cope in a power cut?

goingroundthebend4 Wed 01-Dec-10 08:19:34

ds1 16 babysits his younger siblings dd7 and ds who is 5 and has sn .But he is very sensiable and mature

Vallhala Wed 01-Dec-10 08:29:39

I wouldn't do it. My elder DD is 15 and I won't allow her to babysit either. If she were to and something went wrong, she'd csrry that on her conscience all her life.

piscesmoon Wed 01-Dec-10 08:41:44

At 16yrs they are able to get married themselves! I had babysitting jobs from 16yrs old-lots of people did and it was a good way to earn money.
It depends a lot on the maturity of the 15 yr old and whether they are just 15 or about to turn 16yrs.
Certainly my 15yr old babysat his younger siblings (aged 7yrs and 5yrs) It would have been cringingly embarrassing to have got a babysitter for him!
I very much hope that in a few months e.g. 6th form age that you would let your DD babysit Vallhala.You can't live your life in fear of what might happen. She might accidently drop something in the road, cause an accident and have that on her conscience for the rest of her life-more importantly she probably won't.

Vallhala Wed 01-Dec-10 09:01:02

Sorry PM, but IMO children shouldn't be responsible for the welfare of children. I don't think that a 15 yo is mature enough or responsible enough to care for another child unsupervised (and my 15 yo is on the intelligent, mature and responsible side of humanity... she can just be incredibly blonde sometimes!).

Yes, she's almost old enough in law to have her own child, but mature enough... no. It's because I felt this way that I never dreamed of leaving my own 2 with anything other than a mature, older, known and experienced babysitter.

piscesmoon Wed 01-Dec-10 09:04:28

Surely you can't get a babysitter for your 15yr old though?

Vallhala Wed 01-Dec-10 09:08:32

Never said I would or have PM!! DD certainly is too old for a babysitter now!

(That said, if I were to go away overnight I wouldn't leave DD1 alone, and as for DD2, NO CHANCE...!).

I was speaking of when my now teenaged DD's were much younger. On the rare occasions I went out they had a known and trusted adult caring for them. I wouldn't have dreamed of employing a 15 yo to look after my babes.

piscesmoon Wed 01-Dec-10 09:41:44

I looked after the DCs next door when I was 15yrs, but my mother was in and it was a semi detached-I could have banged on the wall!
It all depends on circumstances.

larrygrylls Wed 01-Dec-10 10:25:42


I think you are thinking about some fairly extreme situations.

I don't think it is possible or sensible to avod all risk in life.

MumNWLondon Wed 01-Dec-10 10:29:40

I think its okay until 10pm if you and her parents are nearby.

Until 1am though would want older babysitter as I think 1am is too late for a 15 year old and they might not be able to think straight if the 2 year old woke up at that time.

frakkinup Wed 01-Dec-10 11:00:41

They are extreme but they're all situations I've actually dealt with whilst babysitting or nannying along with suspected meningitis, parents stranded overnight in snow and completely uncontactable (I was ringing local hospitals), children falling from playground equipment or getting injured in games. Now I realise that doing it professionally puts me at a higher chance of coming across situations like that but the point of having a babysitter there is to deal with emergencies, otherwise there wouldn't be any point in having anyone there at all.

Accidents happen, it's part of life. It's perfectly true that we can't avoid all risk. But it's also the responsibility of the parents to ensure that if something does happen their children are with someone who can cope with whatever arises.

And power cut? Under current conditions really not extreme at all....

Now, if a 15 year old has done a 1st aid course they'll be able to deal with a choking child (providing they're mature enough to keep their head), a mature 15 year old would also know that in the case of a house fire you get out and call 999 and (crucially) be able to act upon that. Finally if they have instructions there's no reason why they shouldn't be able to deal with a power cut but being alone in the dark and resonsible for children is scary enough as an adult, so I would want to be certain that a 15year old could cope.

But then I appreciate that experience has taught me to anticipate the worst case and pre-emptively deal with it so red books are always left somewhere accessible, I know where the stopcock and fuse box is in every house I babysit in, ditto candles and matches (I also have a torch on my keyring), and one of the first things I do is make a fire escape/contingency plan covering a fire in the kitchen, a fire in the parent's room (from hair straightners being left on) and a fire preventing us exiting the house via the stairs.

Extreme, yes, but the job is to ensure the safety of the children in ALL circumstances.

larrygrylls Wed 01-Dec-10 11:12:00


I cannot understand the risks of a power cut? So, there is no light and it drops a few degrees. I am talking of being out less than 15 mins away and for less than 2 hours.

If you take that attitude to its conclusion, you would only employ super qualified babysitters. It would not be a question of age at all.

I mean you sound super impressive but, realistically, if you want that degree of safety, you would never let your children (even teenagers) out alone, ever, as there would be no adult able to ensure the hild's safety in ALL circumstances.

frgr Wed 01-Dec-10 11:15:19

That sounds more than fine. It's 6 hours in total, and if it's a mature 15 year old I assume your judgement is sound on that assessment.

I would have no problem with this.

I used to be on my own after school for a couple of hours from about 9 years old (neighbour next door popped in a few minutes every day to make sure I was ok). If you feel uncomfortable, you should do what other people have suggested - check first aid experience, get a neighbour to keep an eye on them, maybe go for a trial run (leave them for 2 hours and see how things go), etc.

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