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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!

JulietBravoJuliet Sat 11-Jan-14 10:57:37

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.

monicalewinski Sat 11-Jan-14 11:14:50

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.

PansOnFire Sat 11-Jan-14 11:19:05

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.

Skinidin Sat 11-Jan-14 11:48:15

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.

MammaTJ Sat 11-Jan-14 11:52:50

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.

ballinacup Sat 11-Jan-14 11:57:35

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.

Dubjackeen Sat 11-Jan-14 11:57:36

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?

mintberry Sat 11-Jan-14 12:03:00

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.

whatever5 Sat 11-Jan-14 12:30:20

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.

jellybeans Sat 11-Jan-14 13:39:21

Big difference caring for a quiet kid and caring for a bolter with no sense of danger though.

mrsjay Sat 11-Jan-14 13:50:21

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

mrsjay Sat 11-Jan-14 13:51:52

I was babysitting sort of child minding as well at 17

ExcuseTypos Sat 11-Jan-14 13:57:07

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.

mrsjay Sat 11-Jan-14 13:59:00

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

Faxthatpam Sat 11-Jan-14 14:27:11

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!

mrsjay Sat 11-Jan-14 14:37:00

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

TartyMcTart Sat 11-Jan-14 14:47:49

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.

foreverondiet Sat 11-Jan-14 19:39:00

Some 17 year olds are responsible enough but doesn't sound like your dd is....

whatever5 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:05:48

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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