ot; every night
Due to going back to work DH can no longer collect DC (14 & 8) from school.
DC are in same school and rather than get a nanny DD1 wants to bring DD2 home after school every day.
I see her point that she feels to old for a nanny but had some concern that it's too much responsibility, especially given comments on another thread re inappropriate caring responsibilities. Is it unreasonable?
Could you pay her something, and give her a trial?
too much responsibility. Dd1 is going to be doing her gcses soon, and that means an increase in homework. It also means she can't do any after school clubs or meet her friends straight from school.
Is there not an after school club or a childminder you could use for dd2?
Would she even be allowed to pick up dd2? At dd2s school you have to be 16 to pick up.
Another vote for give it a trial. I don't think 14 is too young for that responsibility.
YANBU and I think it sounds like a good plan.
From the age of 13-16 I would catch the train back from my school, collect my brother (age 6-9) from the childminder and take him home and look after him until my mum got home an hour or two later. I think it’s good to give kids a bit of responsibility in their teens.
Every day sounds too much. You don't say what time the first adult gets home? Could you pay DD1 to do Monday and Tuesday then have something else e.g. after school club the next 3 days?
I think it sounds fine as long as the school are okay with it and the DCs get on well together. How long will it be for each day?
I wouldn't have a problem with the ages, but I think it may be a bit much every evening. It means your older child can't participate in after school clubs or activities, or mix with friends after school. I would also be concerned it may impact on her homework. How long will they be on their own each evening?
Whoops, posted too soon.
I think it depends on how long she's looking after DD2. Just an hour or two is fine, if it's 3-4 hours + dinner, homework monitoring etc then I think it should be limited to just a couple of days.
Is there an ASC for the 8 year old you can put her name down for and trial it until a place comes up and take stock then?
I think it's too much - what if she wants to see friends after school or has a meeting or club she wants to attend? I'd get a childminder or nanny fir dd2 and make it clear they are only responsible for dd2 not dd1.
I think if it was a few days a week or for a few weeks only, fine. But every school day for the next....? years?
How much homework does she have? How well behaved is he? Is she expected to get them dinner?
Nanny seems overkill as you only need it after school.
I'm assuming they're at a Middle School? What happens when that changes?
I think it would be great for your dds independence and teaching her responsibility and family loyalty. If you dd didn’t want to then it would be a whole different story. Maybe spend some of the money you would spend on a nanny on upping her pocket money. Either way your dds behaviour should be rewarded and encouraged.
Have a look at this thread, it might give you a steer.
Maybe two or 3 days of DC1 looking after DC2 and 2 or 3 days of DC2 in ASC and DC1 going home alone?
What if DC1 wants to see friends, play in sports matches, go group work after school etc?
I used to look after my three siblings more or less every day after school, it was pretty common where I grew up and I see plenty of older siblings doing the same now. I don't see the issue.
DC imo shouldn’t be used as free childcare, it’s not fair.
However if she wanted to bring the younger one home, I’d allow it but make it her job for pocket money and I wouldn’t expect her to give the child dinner or anything just keep an eye out until your or your dh are home
Meant to say, how far away is the school? What time will an adult get home?
I think it depends on how long dd1 will be at home on her own with dd2 amd how much responsibilities you I expect her to have re her dsis.
If the aim is to take dd2 b home, ensure she has a snack and doesn’t kill herself by doing something stupid until one of you is back home whilst expecting dd2 to look after/entertain herself then I wouod day it’s ok.
If you expect dd1 to carry the same sort of duties a nanny wouod (eg check she has learnt her spellings, play with her if she bored, check she isn’t spending too much time on TV, iPad or doesn’t watch unsuitable stuff etc etc), then i think it’s too much.
Which basically means my issue wouodnt be with dd1 but with dd2 and how mature she is and whether can cope being on her own every afternoon until one of you is back home (so what? 1, 2, 3 hours??) because you shouodnt be relying on dd1 to do all thee entertainment etc... only the basic ensuring dd2 is safe.
DC imo shouldn’t be used as free childcare, it’s not fair.
My mum had four of us, my Dad left, and she had no family support nearby. She worked two jobs to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table and the money she earned just about covered rent, food and utilities. JUST about. I used to look after my brothers and sisters while she was at work. I have no resentment, all of us did very well in school and at university and we are all still very close now.
What, in your opinion, ought she to have done?
In many cultures it's completely normal to have older siblings take some responsibility for younger ones.
At dd2s school you have to be 16 to pick up.
I imagine that’s rare in most schools it is year 7 to pick up infant age children so age 11. Juniors don’t need to be picked up.
Thanks for thoughts - seems to be majority would be ok which is reassuring.
I'll try and answer a few Qs, see if that makes a difference:
School goes from 3-18 (technically the jnr and she schools are separate but in same site - all the jnr staff would know DC1)
There is an ASC which can be used everyday. No booking required. DD2 is not keen but will do it occasionally. She'd def rather go home with big sis.
They'd be at home somewhere between 1-2 hours before first adult home. Would also need to get public transport home.
I'm loathe to pay her - I've always had a strict rule that chores are part of family life and you don't get paid for contributing to the family. She does get an allowance, however maybe I need to reconsider this?
I used to do it for my brother with a much closer age gap. Give it a trial of a week and see how it goes?
Chores are different to having responsibility for your sibling daily though.
It would be unfair not to pay her.
I did it when I was 14 and had 4 brothers. I am very glad I was given the responsibility. I am very close to my DBs and DM used to save money so we had a reward day every school holiday when she would take a day off and take us all out somewhere to thank us for all being good and looking after each other. I was in charge but we were responsible for our own behaviour and if someone did something silly they were dealt with by DM when she got in.
I was given care of my younger siblings at 14 and I still feel really angry about it. I think childcare is an adult's job.
I would go for it if she wants to do it, me and my sister 5.5 yr age gap) would be home alone after school when our mum was working and we're really close. You can always review it if she finds it too much
I would not pay her. I see why people are suggesting it but if you make it transactional it will change how she sees it.
Nannies are v expensive. Could you reward her with a special family trip for saving money and being so responsible she could chose the location and activities?
It would depend 100% on what the 8 yo is like. If he/she is very sensible and would listen to the 14 yo where necessary then all good.
If the 8 yo will be difficult and potentially get into scrapes then no.
1 hour isn’t very long. By the time they both have had a snack, there won’t be a long time before one of those un come back home.
Public transport isn’t an issue if you are confident dd1 is confortable with that.
Paying dd1... I agree I wouldnt do it if, again, you are only expecting her to keep her dsis safe. But you could increase her allowance as she is getting older and has more responsibility in the house.
I'd pay for the after school club so it isn't an expectation of older one every day. I know younger would rather every day but older surely wants to go to a club or meet friends etc sometimes after school. So I would tell younger one that it's after school club and on days she's lucky older will get her on the way. If she has no other plans.
In a couple of months see how it's going
I was in charge but we were responsible for our own behaviour and if someone did something silly they were dealt with by DM when she got in.
I think that is essential! And it’s essential to spell it out to both dds.
Another vote for giving it a trial go. Maybe up the allowance a bit (after the trial, wouldn't want her to carry on just for the money if it's actually not working for her) for taking on more responsibility.
Sounds like a good plan but I would up allowance to reflect responsibility.
If it's not working with her doing it every day you can review and younger DD could do ASC 1/2 days a week.
Do neither of your children do after school clubs eg sport?
I'd give it a go if they are both sensible kids... 2hrs alone together is not that bad. I doubt it will effect elder dds study time, it's not a whole evening of babysitting!
I'd up the allowance for it a little bit just to show you appreciate the responsibility shes taking on.
Do you have a back up plan if your eldest goes out one day after school/back to someone's house/ joins a club etc? I think it's grand a few times a week, I have no issue with the public transport or time alone in the house but 5 days a week it is quite restrictive on the older one.
I think as lot depends on relationship between the two kids, but I don't see anything wrong with it, and I don't agree you need to pay eldest, this is family life we all do things to help each other out, there is nothing wrong with siblings looking after siblings, accompanying them home from school, getting them a snack its not like you are asking her to wash clothes make a full meals, my eldest dd 7 years older than db, would have had no problem with this as he accepted she was the boss when we were not there, and she accepted she was older more mature and therefore had to be nice not bossy- this is still the relationship they have today, my brother tried something similar with his two - almost 5 year gap, don't know if that matters but I suspect it does, but it was cancelled as his youngest is one of those kids who just always wants to push the boundaries and would constantly put on TV, not do homework, steal snacks and fight with the eldest, one day ran off on way home, that's when they stopped the arrangement.
That's a very short amount of time so I would definitely trial it.
You should be paying her though, I don't agree with your reasoning on that at all (although I'm sure others would). How much pocket money does she get? I would be upping that rather than making it a separate payment.
After school 2-3 days per week and with DD1 for the others.
As this is beyond a normal household chore and you're saving on AS or nanny fees pay DD1 something will help her to understand
that it's a responsibility she can't drop if something better comes along, but equally make sure it's not impacting on any after school activities or socialising she wants to do.
As soon as I started secondary school I collected my sister from primary and watched her until my dad got home at 5:30pm. I was 11 and she was 8 when this started. I was never paid and most of my friends had to do similar for their younger siblings.
Following your update, I still think it's fine. But I would increase her allowance - I think that's fair. It's more than just a household chore.
I used to do and it worked fine. I didn't get paid extra - it was part of my responsibilities for my pocket money.
Your dd might have after school supported studying on the run up to her GCSE's.
I think it is too restrictive for the 14 year old 5 days a week long term, i'd put the 8 year old into an afterschool club for a couple if years.
Ok more questions:
They both do ECAs but DD1 doesn't belong to any sports teams that would take her offsite so they finish at same time everyday.
The ASC can be totally ad hoc so DD2 I can tell her in the morning that she needs to stay and that's that.
Allowance is currently £100 - I'm loathe to give her access to too much more as she's already earning bits and pieces for the odd local babysitting gig.
I think if it’s every day then you shouldn’t consider it in the same way as general household chores. The payment wouldn’t just be for looking after her sibling, but would be about reflecting the fact she can’t do out with mates or anything last minute.
Before committing to it I would really think about that though. How often does your eldest go out after school? Or get selected for games/drama stuff after school?
Also what is the dynamic between them? I could leave my 9yo with either DS1 or DD2 without a thought. With DD1 it would be a disaster because her prickly nature and his prickly nature wouldn’t work well.
Also think about what you’ll do if it doesn’t work. How will that affect relationships and the dynamic at home.
Cross posts - you don’t have to give her the allowance. You could bank it for her.
We take (with his agreement) more than his digs from DS1 as he’s not confident in saving/not wasting it yet.
Blimey! £100? A month, I assume? Even so, that's a huge amount. OK, maybe a rethink on upping the allowance, but that will be difficult to explain to a 14-year-old, and still not possibly fair, if she's been used to getting that much without doing any school pick-ups.
You’re in a good position. BOTH girls want the same thing and there’s an ad hoc ASC. Either can let you know if they’re unhappy with the arrangement. DD1 needs to understand that you’re happy to use the ASC occasionally, but not frequently and it needs to be prearranged with you.
Don’t pay her. It’s part of family life & something she wants. Seemingly. I think it’s quite possible that she’s doing a deal with the devil - this is a better option than a nanny! But once she realises SHE could come home alone while DD2 goes to a childminder or ASC she might well change her mind. However, I would make it very clear that DD2 will be coming home after school, whether DD1 brings her or a nanny brings her.
There are students who will do this for you if you need ASC.
You’ll need rules of course - where they’re allowed to go after schoool, who is allowed in the house & what you expect of them both.
I was 13 & my siblings were 9 & younger. The worst thing was having all the responsibility but no authority. Like your DD1 I didn’t want a childminder anymore, so it technically was my choice, but I struggled with them telling me ‘YOU can’t make make me’ (homework/jobs/change out of uniform) then ME getting in trouble because they hadn’t done it 🙄😖 for intelligent people, I’m not sure how my parents never got that sorted out!
I would do what you suggest without a second's thought. You have ASC for if she can't do it for any reason.
And if she goes off the idea of the constant responsibility, or it gets in the way of her other plans in general then you can rethink the nanny idea. No harm done.
I have asked my 14 year old to pick up my two youngest from primary school on an ad hoc basis. My advice to you is that you always have a chat every morning to check that it is still ok and she hasn't forgotten something. There have been days when I have assumed it is ok and she has assumed I didn't need her and then there was a last minute panic.
I think if the 2 girls get on ok and can be relied on not to fight or create mayhem, then it's fine.
I used to do it when I was younger than your DD1 for my siblings and there was a smaller age gap and a fair bit of friction.
Nothing bad ever happened, because none of us were house-trashers or fighters - we'd have arguments but not physical fights.
Paying her - well if she's already being paid for babysitting then I can see why she would want to be paid for looking after her sister as well, but I'd also try to avoid that.
Just out of interest, OP, how do the ratios work if the ASC is ad hoc? As in, what would they do if an extra ten children turned up one evening?
And what would be the plan if one or other of your DC became unwell at school and had to go home?
You give your 14 year old £100 a month? No don’t up it, it’s already more than double the norm.
£100? wow - my dds are hard done by... what does she have to buy with it?
as it is 1-2 hours after school
and she wants to do it rather than a nanny I would say fine for a specified trial period especially as you have adhoc asc available as and when you need it (lucky you!).
I wouldn't pay her extra, you are happy to get childcare and she doesn't want it.
I think every day is too much (homework/study commitments, afterschool stuff, her own social life), but days would be fine.
LOL at the idea that it is wrong to ask older siblings to look after younger ones!
They'll be fine, I was watching my newborn sister at that age. An 8 year old can't be any more trouble!
I was babysitting for other people's kids at night at aged 12,so if they are both sensible kids then this would be totally reasonable,especially as this is what your eldest wants as opposed to her being forced.
FamilyOfAliens. Our junior school has Ad Hoc ASC too. With the ratios being so high (1:8 under 8 & 1:10 8-11) it’s never as issue (1000 pupil school). It all just works out 🤷🏻♀️
I'm loathe to pay her - I've always had a strict rule that chores are part of family life and you don't get paid for contributing to the family.
Chores, yes. Basically being a childminder 5 afternoons a week at 14, no. That’s an adult’s job, not a 14 yr old child’s “chores”.
Having said that, an allowance of £100 pm at 14 is huge. You’ve put yourself in a tricky situation there!
It’s nice that dd1 wants to do it but personally I would limit it to 2 afternoons a week to start with, increasing to no more than 3 with a review after a month. Fourteen is still very young and the work involved in GCSEs now is a lot. It also limits after school activities for DD1.
@familyofaliens honestly I have no idea. The women that cover ASC are not teachers but there are plenty of teachers on site. I have occasionally seen them in the rooms and just assumed they get drafted in if necessary - Seems to work.
If one of the DC were sick I'd leave work. I'm local and have enough flexibility to do that.
Before Y6 our school won't let children go home alone or with u16s - it would be a safeguarding issue. Think again for th next couple of years.
Of course it isn’t unreasonable to get her to do this! She is old enough to understand that the family needs money, parents need to work so she has to look after her sister. It’s just part of being a family. I wouldn’t pay her for doing it either. It is her sister, not a neighbours child she is babysitting. The money you earn will go to buying her food, clothes, lodging, so why would she get extra for being a responsible family member? That’s balmy. The only thing I would do is agree that if she had a regular, organised event, say D of E after school one night a week, then I would pay for DD2 to do ASC that night.
Before Y6 our school won't let children go home alone or with u16 - possibly not typical. Seems extreme to me, and certainly not the case at my DC's school.
Even with the generous allowance I think it's unfair if you don't pay her something. This isn't a normal chore, and would potentially save you a hell of a lot of money. Only needs to be notional, but I would suggest a half to a third of what the after school club would cost.
From 11 I did for my brother 6and loved it.i felt so adult and loved when he excitedly came out.i would bring him home ,we werent home alone for long though.nevrr in a million years would I think of being paid!
DD's school has a very similar set up (junior school is in one corner of the senior school site) and children are just let out. The juniors are only allowed to leave the grounds with an adult OR a senior school child.
We also have ad hoc after school club (and junior children are escorted back if their parents are late to pick up).
I would only be happy to do this outside of the winter months when/if it is dark on their journey (but my DD is 11). I would agree to a trial and go through some "what if's" with both.
Could you get a keysafe somewhere? In the very unlikely event that something happens (powercut/plumbing disaster) is there a neighbour or local friend? If neither parent was contactable at work I would be wary.
I would trial it. I would pay her £10 per week for it. She's missing out on the best bit of the school day, which is chatting for a bit after school. She might use that money to buy treats on the way home. Gives them a chance to bond too.
My children were the same age when they did exactly that. It rather depends on the temperaments and personalities of the children, tbh. I have friends with children similar ages and there's no way they'd be able to do it.
I didn't 'pay' him for babysitting as such but did have an allowance in mind so that if he wanted to go somewhere with his friends and needed more money, I provided that. They enjoy/ed each other's company so it wasn't really a chore for either of them.
Schools in deprived areas have lots of children who do it, as the alternative is - what? Mum loses her job? It means there are arrangements for particular children to sit any detentions during the day or on a day where they don't collect their siblings. The only time it's been frowned upon is where there was a child whose sibling had learning disabilities and then the collection age was increased to 16 (and 18 when she reached 16).
So Mum changed to working lates and all weekend instead, which meant she was looking after her sibling for even longer, thanks to the well meaning interference
At 14, there is the possibility of after school interventions for GCSE subjects coming up, which, with the ASC, means there won't be any difficulties or implications for the older one.
I do think that she should be paid the full rate, however - it's not due to finances that she'll be doing it and it is something that would cost if anybody else were to be looking after the younger child - and it needs to be clear that neither parent will assume they can stay later at work, go to the shops, go to the gym, etc, just because she's already there looking after her sister.
Yes, she could 'waste' the money - but if she's earned it, it's her money to do with as she sees fit.
What happens if she wants to stay behind for an activity, maybe a school play?
Very unfair. My DN had to do this and has never forgiven her mother for the fun things she missed out on with her friends after school.
If you are going to make her do it, of course you must pay her.
My dd is 15 and her and a friend look after an 8 and 10 year old in the next street in the half terms for £20 a day each. That’s from 8:30 til 4pm every day. She started just after her 14th birthday.
I don’t see how your scenario is much different!
As long as you trust dd1, she knows what to do in an emergency (fuse box and stopcock location, has phone numbers and a neighbour she can call on) then I don’t see the problem.
Comments re payment are noted. I don't think I'll pay her (it'd be £200 pcm and I'm a bit worried about her having access to too much cash) but think a monthly treat is appropriate.
Maybe I'll take her shopping or day out and let her know it's a treat for being responsible and reliable.
Interesting the extremes of approaches though.
Stick it a bank account, then. She's working - it could go towards driving lessons, her first holiday as an adult, expenses at University, deposit on a flat, anything she needs or wants that's particularly expensive in the future - and if she already has the idea of saving/putting money aside in the earliest times of working, it makes it normal to be doing it when she is solely responsible for herself.
Some people on here are unhealthily obsessed with money.
You’re doing right not to pay her.
She doesn’t need ‘treats’ for it either.
She WANTS to ‘bring DD2 home’ so there’s no after school care required, SHE doesn’t want a ‘nanny’ there. She’s lucky to be getting what she wants, THAT is her ‘reward’ You haven’t asked her to do it, you’re not making her do it.
They will BOTH be being responsible & reliable. I know you mean well, but ‘treating’ DD1 for ‘bringing DD2 home’ puts an unnecessary divide between them. They’re coming home together. Focus on the ‘together’ not the ‘babysitting’. The best thing you can do for your kids is enable a good relationship with their siblings, rather than one of minder/minded.
I think with the ad-hoc ASC it will be fine. Without that I'd say no because it's too much for DD1 to do it everyday, but if ASC can be used when necessary then absolutely fine.
Re. payment: Is DD2 well behaved and sensible? Will DD1 need to actually do anything like make her food/help with her homework? If she's working and looking after DD2 then she should be paid. If she's just going with her (which is what she wants) then she doesn't need to be paid. As pp said her reward is being able to go home with no nanny/after-school care required.
I'd pay for 8 yr old to go to afterschools until she's in the last year of primary.
I think it's fine and I've got the same age gap between DDs 2 & 3. DD2 has actually prefered DD3 to be with her most of the time rather than be home alone. My DC all get £100 a month allowance from starting secondary school. They pay for school lunches, their phone contracts, all non uniform clothes and shoes, all socialising, presents, etc. Keep a check of how much you're giving your teenagers over the course of a month and you might be shocked. I save money by giving them an allowance!
I did this from 12 but collecting them (2 siblings) from a different school till my mum got home at 5.30 and giving them (pre-made) dinner sometimes, I was super sensible and it stopped when they went to secondary and could walk themselves home. Was not paid although I got pocket money (£5 week 20-odd year’s ago, not sure what that’d be now!).
I don’t think you should pay here, but I do think you should show her how much you appreciate it from time to time - shopping trip, wad of cash, treat her and a friend to a trip out. That would be lovely for her.
I used to care for my 6 years younger brother after school & during school holidays from being 14. During term time it was only an hour or so after school, during the school holidays my mum would leave us in bed, go to work early & be home by 1.30ish. It never bothered me, my brother would very often go to a nearby friends house to play or bring his friends to play in the garden.
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