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DD "babysitting" every night

(86 Posts)
HighlightsandHeels Fri 22-Feb-19 10:32:38

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?

Nat6999 Sun 24-Feb-19 16:19:48

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.

O4FS Sun 24-Feb-19 15:59:02

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.

bananamonkey Sun 24-Feb-19 15:53:05

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!).

TheStarOnTheChristmasTree Sun 24-Feb-19 15:48:03

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!

Waveysnail Sun 24-Feb-19 13:55:00

I'd pay for 8 yr old to go to afterschools until she's in the last year of primary.

NuffSaidSam Sun 24-Feb-19 13:48:41

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.

IncrediblySadToo Sun 24-Feb-19 13:33:05

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.

MitziK Fri 22-Feb-19 16:51:55

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.

HighlightsandHeels Fri 22-Feb-19 16:42:52

Interesting the extremes of approaches though.

HighlightsandHeels Fri 22-Feb-19 16:42:04

Thanks everyone.

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.

HalfBloodPrincess Fri 22-Feb-19 14:15:29

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.

AuntieCJ Fri 22-Feb-19 14:09:36

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.

MitziK Fri 22-Feb-19 13:55:33

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.

WhatAQuandry Fri 22-Feb-19 13:04:20

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.

Margot33 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:35:35

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.

Madcats Fri 22-Feb-19 12:35:27

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.

kateandme Fri 22-Feb-19 12:27:16

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!

Reallyevilmuffin Fri 22-Feb-19 12:21:21

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.

daisypond Fri 22-Feb-19 12:20:12

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.

Randomnumbers7483 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:12:45

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.

Barbie222 Fri 22-Feb-19 12:10:41

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.

HighlightsandHeels Fri 22-Feb-19 12:07:45

@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.

IHateUncleJamie Fri 22-Feb-19 12:06:56

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.

IncrediblySadToo Fri 22-Feb-19 12:02:01

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 🤷🏻‍♀️

NutElla5x Fri 22-Feb-19 11:54:09

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.

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