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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!

HildaOgden Fri 10-Jan-14 19:22:55

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?

janey68 Fri 10-Jan-14 19:25:11

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

InsanityandBeyond Fri 10-Jan-14 19:29:07

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.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 10-Jan-14 19:33:00

£5ph is very reasonable. It'll be a much easier, nicer job than working in Tesco or similar.

Bloodyteenagers Fri 10-Jan-14 19:34:00

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.

Ragwort Fri 10-Jan-14 19:34:04

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 grin

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.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Fri 10-Jan-14 19:35:44

Our respite carer was 18 when she started caring for DD alone. .DD hss severe autism. She is particularly mature though.

RedHelenB Fri 10-Jan-14 19:37:16

3 year olds are hard work & you don't sound confident in her abilities so I would say YABU.

SparklingMuppet Fri 10-Jan-14 23:11:18

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.

SoonToBeSix Fri 10-Jan-14 23:14:51

Yanbu of course a 17 year old is capable. Why do your 11 year olds need babysitting though?

Starballbunny Fri 10-Jan-14 23:21:56

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.

Newyearchanger Fri 10-Jan-14 23:23:49

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.

Newyearchanger Fri 10-Jan-14 23:25:35

Also I wouldn't pay, especially so much and for the first time ever!

SoonToBeSix Fri 10-Jan-14 23:26:50

The named person in my dc nursery only has to be 16.

Starballbunny Fri 10-Jan-14 23:28:21

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

lia66 Fri 10-Jan-14 23:30:43

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.

Neitheronethingortheother Fri 10-Jan-14 23:33:49

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

Bodypopper Fri 10-Jan-14 23:39:37

Just wow!!!

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!!

Newyearchanger Fri 10-Jan-14 23:41:49

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.

Bodypopper Fri 10-Jan-14 23:53:51

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]

greenfolder Fri 10-Jan-14 23:54:10

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.

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 10-Jan-14 23:55:36

You let your 9 year old babysit a 7 month old?!

Sharaluck Fri 10-Jan-14 23:59:28

No don't let her! Trust your instincts, she doesn't sound mature enough. Find a child minder.

Bodypopper Sat 11-Jan-14 00:09:13

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.

Newyearchanger Sat 11-Jan-14 00:09:21

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!

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