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Babysitting age

(33 Posts)
cheeseandbiscuitsplease Sat 16-Feb-13 10:12:52

Hi I have 2 children aged 7.9 and 3.9. There is a girl aged 14 who is a very good family friend, very sensible and comes up to our house several times a week as she lives few doors down. Kids adore her, she's does them too. She has been coming up since she was 9. I was going to leave her with kids 5-8 tonight whilst me and my husband go out for a meal approx ten mins away. I feel completely confident to do so. My mother however been on phone saying she's too young. I've looked on the Internet and some sites say 14 some say 16. I'm unsure now sad she's a lovely girl but I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing. Opinions please ladies.

TickleMyTitsTillFriday Sat 16-Feb-13 10:13:54

14 is fine.

HollyBerryBush Sat 16-Feb-13 10:14:35

You re 10 mins away, she is 3 mins away from her own mother. Not a problem.

Marlinspike Sat 16-Feb-13 10:17:17

No legal age as such - under the conditions you state, I would let the 14 year old sit.

Have a lovely night out, and please don't fret!

niceguy2 Sat 16-Feb-13 10:18:16

There's no legal age. If you trust her then that is all that matters.

You are not exactly far away and she can call if she needs anything

purpleroses Sat 16-Feb-13 10:20:42

There's no legal age - at 14 you'd be legally responsible if the kids came to harm as a result of the 14 year old being too young to cope, but it doesn't sound from what you say that that would happen. If you're nervous then have your phone on all the time, or speak to a neighbour first and ask if they'd be OK for her to call on them in an emergency, then let her know. Have left both of mine many times with sitters from 14 years up. I might be inclined not to leave her cooking hot food in an unfamiliar kitchen at that age though - ie leave them something cold to eat.

cathpip Sat 16-Feb-13 10:21:50

If your children were younger then i probably would of said she was too young, but they are not, its also not late night sitting you are not far away and she is sensible, and her mother will also probably be on speed dial. Go and enjoy yourself.

Faxthatpam Sat 16-Feb-13 10:23:19

There is no legal age, but you can be held accountable if something happens. 14 is fine as you know and trust her. She is 2 mins from her own family if she needs help and you are 10 mins away. I have done exactly this with a lovely 14yo across the road - I did check her mum would be home first, just to set my mind at rest. Enjoy your night out.

Faxthatpam Sat 16-Feb-13 10:24:31

Sorry - X post!

DeepRedBetty Sat 16-Feb-13 10:24:40

I'd let her do it. You've known her for five years.

Have a lovely evening!

cheeseandbiscuitsplease Sat 16-Feb-13 10:26:33

Brilliant thank you ladies smile I was going to leave them money to get a takeaway delivered and also paying her £15 which she is chuffed to bits about. Thank you for your replies and yes I'm going to now go out and enjoy myself smile.....

mrsjay Sat 16-Feb-13 10:30:52

when dd 1 was small i had a 14 yr old baby sitter she babysat for years and did it from dd was 3ish she was fantastic with her if you trust the girl and the kids are happy then you are doing the right thing and she is getting money too what 14yr old doesn't like money grin

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 16-Feb-13 10:38:44

Personally I feel it's not right. I was a very responsible and mature 14 year old and was regularly left babysitting my neighbours 9, 8 and 3 year old.
It gives me shivers now to remember some of those nights. The older two took it as an opportunity to do what ever the hell they liked and wouldn't listen to a word I said. Yet because I had been earmarked as responsible I didn't want to let my neighbour down and never told about what the little shits put me through.
I can remember bathing the little one because she begged for a bath and as the parents hadn't specifically said not too, I thought it would be fine. Then leaving her alone in there for ten minutes because one of the boys had just smashed a glass and i had to clean it up. I can remember giving the 3 year old a bag of salted peanuts to eat because I believed her when she said she had them every night before bed. Letting the 8 year old go to the shop on his own at 9 pm at night. Letting them watch an 18 film (which I shouldn't even have been watching myself!)
A 14 year old may generally be sensible and self sufficient...but I don 't think they 're responsible enough to be in charge of younger ones....and because of the whole wanting to please aspect...any little 'incidents' when you're out you'll probably never hear of.

Homebird8 Sat 16-Feb-13 10:41:08

Here in NZ the legal age is 14. Interestingly you can't leave a child under that age at home. One day they need a babysitter and the next they can be one which is a bit daft. Also it's ok to let your children be out all day without you, but not in all day!

mummymeister Sat 16-Feb-13 10:41:37

would leave my own 15yrold in charge of her DS and DB but wouldnt let her sit for anyone else until 16 tbh. if something happened it would have a major effect on her too - she would feel terrible so think i will wait until she is legally able to work.

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 16-Feb-13 10:43:59

And just to put in context...i still see the parents every so often. I guarantee you that if you asked their opinion on a 14 year old babysitter you'd get a reply along the lines of 'Oh we had a babysitter who was 14 years ago.! Yes of course you're fine, we left our three with her all the time and she was absolutely fine, very mature...' etc.

Isityouorme Sat 16-Feb-13 10:47:03

You should not be getting food delivered when there are just children in the house. Probably not an issue but I would not want anyone knowing my children were being looked after by a kid.

PrettyKitty1986 Sat 16-Feb-13 10:50:11

Could you completely guarantee that if the 14 year old had just run upstairs or was in the middle of something that she wouldn't let one of them open the door?
It's things like this that would concern me, just the 'normal' thoughtlessness that many teenagers have.

sneezingwakesthebaby Sat 16-Feb-13 10:52:39

I think this depends on how much you trust her. If something went wrong and one of your children got hurt, would she panic and try to cover up what happened to avoid trouble or would she be mature enough to tell someone? That would be the thing I'd be worried about. I know that covering stuff up can happen at any age but the younger the babysitter is, the more cocerned I would be.

sneezingwakesthebaby Sat 16-Feb-13 10:52:52

Or concerned even.

Indith Sat 16-Feb-13 10:55:26

My babysitter was 14 when she started babysitting for us, she is a lovely mature young girl. We stay local though, I wouldn't go into town or out late with her sitting. There are 2 girls who we've used and our friends also use. Both the same age and both equally fantastic.

They have dealt well with them playing up a bit, we've come home to have the babysitter tell us ds1 had been complaining of growing pains so she tucked him up under a blanket on the sofa and massaged his legs then carried him up to bed when he fell asleep. We've had ds1 getting out of bed and showing her all his lego grin. She generally agrees to play one game with him if he will promise to go to bed afterwards or read one book or something.

I know for certain that she doesn't do things like you did pretty!

cheeseandbiscuitsplease Sat 16-Feb-13 10:55:49

Thanks for your replies. I hadn't thought about the food delivery issue but tbh she looks much older than 14. They have had a bath this morning so all it will be tonight is putting onesies on which she can easily supervise and a quick baby wipe wash ;) they will still be up when we get in. They live next door but two, her parents are in. They'll literally be watching telly and having a pizza.Both doors will be locked. My two cant turn the keys but she can. I'm hoping nobody thinks I'm being irresponsible I've thought this through and appreciate everyone's responses.

Cezella Sat 16-Feb-13 10:57:37

I think it very much depends on the 14 year old. I babysat a three month old baby and a seventeen month old four days a week after school from the age of 14, I loved it, was absolutely fine, had always loved kids etc. My mum's friend has a 14 year old on the other hand, who I wouldn't trust with my cat for three hours let alone my kids! Just completely depends.

Apologies if that sounded braggy, wasn't meant to!

Indith Sat 16-Feb-13 10:57:51

Oh and when one of them was babysitting for a friend the dcs started being sick so rather than spoil their night out she called the dcs gran who is local and merrily mopped up and cuddled children until she arrived to help out.

I tend to find teenagers involved in scouting or guiding are the best ones, especially those who help out with the younger age groups, they tend to have steady heads of their shoulders.

cheeseandbiscuitsplease Sat 16-Feb-13 10:58:17

Ps tbh I feel she knows my children and our house/routines/rules better than my mum etc does. She's like extended family and spends a lot of time with us.

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