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Would you let a 13 year old babysit your children?

(43 Posts)
Linnet Thu 05-May-05 22:00:24

In Desperate Housewives last night Lynette was on the phone to her babysitter trying to get her to come babysit instead of going to the mall.

She said "you're 13 there will be other trips to the mall"

I know that in the states a lot of people get young girls to babysit, it seems to be the done thing to do there. I take it it's not against the law for them to babysit at such a young age.

But would you feel comfortable leaving your children with a 13 year old in charge of them?

It got me thinking and I wondered about other peoples views.

I certainly wouldn't leave my children with a 13 year old in charge. But that's just me, my cousin is 13 this year and she's desperate to babysit for me, but I won't be letting her babysit until she's older.

misdee Thu 05-May-05 22:02:15

i was babysitting from 13 onwards.

colditz Thu 05-May-05 22:02:37

Nope. In fact i don't like going out for long when my sister babysits, and she is 15.

Actually, the ONLY babysitter I am truly happy with is my mum.

velcrobott Thu 05-May-05 22:03:00

My neighbour is 13 and I would trust her if her mum is at home and my kids already asleep.
I lived in Canada when I was 12 and was an au pair for 6 kids for 2 weeks at 14... hard work too!

colditz Thu 05-May-05 22:03:37

I was babysitting my 2 year old sister and 7 year old brother from 12 onwards. I think it is too young. I used to feel so overwhelmed sometimes.

Blu Thu 05-May-05 22:03:42

Not in sole charge. Too much responsibility if something goes wrong.

tiffini Thu 05-May-05 22:07:15

NO NO, I thought i was responsible and knew alot about children when i was 16 let alone 13, i now realise i knew basically nothing at all.

QueenEagle Thu 05-May-05 22:08:42

I have just started leaving my 13 year old dd to babysit. My others are 11, 9, 2 & 4mths. I make sure all are settled and fast asleep first. dd has the phone to hand and my brother and sil at the end of the road on standby. So far we have been to the pub about half a mile away and think that's as far as I'd be happy to go til she's at least another year older.

I used to babysit for a disabled girl who was my age when I was about 14 and loved it.

QueenEagle Thu 05-May-05 22:09:17

Forgot to say that I wouldn't allow any old 13 year old babysit, only my dd.

Catbert Thu 05-May-05 22:19:41

Actually I have had my neighbours 14 year old son "babysit" my DDs whilst I popped out for three hours one evening. However, to be fair, I was not going far (10 min drive), DDs were asleep and sleep well, so I didn't anticipate there being any trouble and TBH his mum and dad were "really" the ones in charge - as he was to call them at the first sign of actually having to deal with any crisis that came up anyway. So as I saw it, responsible parents were in charge, he was just the one sitting in my house, and the one I paid money to at the end of the night.

That said I would probably not want anyone who didn't have experience of children proper (i.e. childminder, or actual parent) in sole charge of my children at any time. (My 25 year old sister offers to sit them day or night at any time, but I am not sure really).

ghosty Thu 05-May-05 22:37:52

It is illegal in NZ under 14 ...
I think even 14 is too young ... maybe 15 or 16.

Hulababy Thu 05-May-05 22:41:22

I wouldn't let a 13yo babysit my DD at the moment. However, I used to babysit at that age for my little sister (10 years younger than me) and my baby and toddler cousins.

acnebride Thu 05-May-05 22:46:12

Yes i used to babysit my cousin at 13. Certainly wouldn't allow my niece to babysit at 14 - does depend a bit on the individual. But a younger cousin in the same family died some years later in a cot death. It's a selfish thought but I am just so glad that I was not sitting that night. Wouldn't want any 13 year old to have that responsibility.

Chandra Thu 05-May-05 22:53:32

I guess it depends on how reliable the girl is rather than her age. At 12, me and my sisters (13&9) used to be in our own all the afternoons, many evenings, and we used to take a couple of non-school buses some evenings and weekends to attend music lessons and other activities. We used to go camping with girls scouts groups whose leaders rarely exceeded 17 and they were dealingwith 32 girls. So I guess I would have no problem with that, ahving said that, the few teenagers I have contact with seem so young and childish that I doubt I wwould allow them to babysit.I might be getting old....

Blossomhill Thu 05-May-05 22:54:20

I wouldn't leave my kids with anyone under 18 so a big no here!

MarsLady Thu 05-May-05 22:56:09

My youngest babysitters are 14. We use them for short babysits eg cinema trips (cinema just down the road) and always leave them with a backup telephone number. We only use sensible sitters. We tend to keep our babysitters until they are 18 or 19 when they go off to Uni or discover partying for themselves. We use both boy and girl sitters. The children prefer the boys.

Chandra Thu 05-May-05 22:56:17

BTW.I think that many girls who want to baby sit take some kind of course, and read a few books (that in the US), I have a cousin that started babysitting more or less at that age and I remember she studied quite a bit to do it, but maybe my cousin is a nerd

TwoAngels Thu 05-May-05 23:11:42

used to babysit when I was about 12 I was recommended to friends of mums I baby sat for but Now I have my own babies there is no way I would leave them with anyone under 18 and even then they would have to know something about first aid.

but thats just me

ladymuck Thu 05-May-05 23:12:49

Depends on your kids as well as maturity/experience of 13 yo. I've used a 14/5 yo, but my children are asleep, very rarely wake in the evenings, and she has several back-ups in emergencies. mind you she hadn't come across croup beofre, but still seemed to deal with it sensibly - checked that ds2 was breathing OK and appeared comfortable.

joash Thu 05-May-05 23:34:31

It may not be against the law specifically, however, regardless of how mature or immature a potential/actual babysitter is ... if you leave your children with anyone under the age of 18 - you are legally responsible if anything happens to them (including the babysitter) and could be prosecuted.

Davros Fri 06-May-05 19:38:11

Only if it was Lisa Simpson. Have you seen that episode?

Socci Fri 06-May-05 19:55:01

Message withdrawn

Milliways Fri 06-May-05 20:00:35

My 14yr DD ius just starting to babysit. The rules are that I have to be at home so she can call me if worried, & no babies (nappies, unable to explain why crying) yet.

She only sits for my next-door-neighbour or our chuch friends as she is v.popular with the littlies their.

stitch Fri 06-May-05 20:05:25

i would let a 13 year old babysit her or his siblings. though of course not a young baby, unless absolute emergency.
i would never leave mykids with a teenager unless i knew them very very well, like my sis, who isnt a teenager anymore. so i guess no teenagers.

Aero Sat 07-May-05 11:38:20

My friend's dd has just started to sit for us and she is a v responsible 14.5yo. Her Mum is only up the road and also my neighbour directly across the road has said if any problems she could knock there too for any problems (and obviously we are always contactable).
That said, the kids are in bed and we have only went out for a meal locally - out for about three hours.
I was babysitting for my siblings at 13 and from about 14 for other people. I think it depends on the babysitter you are asking and if their parents can be on standby. I know many other 14yos I wouldn't dream of leaving them with.

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