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Do you let older siblings or friends siblings look after your child?

(27 Posts)
sherbetpips Tue 21-Jun-11 13:58:59

If you do how old are they? And in the question I mean for any amount of time - i.e. taking them to the park, playing out on the road when you are in the house, goign to the corner shop, etc.

sherbetpips Wed 22-Jun-11 06:05:33

guess no one does then

snailoon Wed 22-Jun-11 06:15:22

Yes of course all the time. We left very sensible siblings alone together for short periods (10-15 minutes) when even younger. Now we leave 8 and 12 year olds together for an evening and bedtime. We have good friends who are near neighbours and are "on call" though it has never been necessary for them to do anything.
It has always been very good for the children.

bellavita Wed 22-Jun-11 06:24:55

Hmm... In theory we should be able to leave the DS's together but at 14 and nearly 12, world war 3 would break out grin. They would just argue constantly and then one would push or shove <<sigh>> then something would probably get broken.

To be fair, twice lately I have done and all was fine but it was for about 40 mins until DH got home from work.

DS1 never took DS1 to the park, they have different sets of friends and I would never have foisted that upon him.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Wed 22-Jun-11 06:41:28

No. Never. I think it is monumentally unfair to put that responsibility onto another child.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Wed 22-Jun-11 06:42:50

Oh - I should probably mention that my children have autism. Or my post sounds a bit off.

mummytime Wed 22-Jun-11 06:43:31

My oldest 15 looks after the youngest, 8 quite a bit; and is sometimes left in charge of the 12 as well. Its now part of family life. Its usually 1/2 - 2 hours whilst often I'm running the middle one around. But it does mean that DH and I can occasionally pop to the pub (5 min away) for a quiet drink and a chat, without having to phone or babysitters etc. The best bit is if I leave him in charge and go to book group, I come back to find everyone in bed.

baskingseals Wed 22-Jun-11 06:55:28

my nephew who is 15 next week babysits for my 9yo, 3.10yo and 22mth old.

they have a whale of a time. i've only done it twice though and in the last month or so.

did feel a bit strange, but i think it is one of those win win situations - bit of responsibility and money for dn, and pizzas on the sofa for the dc.

cory Wed 22-Jun-11 07:18:37

I suppose it depends on what you mean by looking after. I don't go away and leave them alone for weeks on end, I don't expect the elder to be responsible for the younger's school lunches or dentists appointments.

But I do let them go into town together and have done since the elder was 12 and the younger 9. And I have been leaving them alone together in the house for an hour or so since approximately the same age, perhaps a year or two earlier. Dh left the now 14yo and 11yo for several hours late at night last week when he picked me up from the airport- their choice, they could have come. Of course the 14yo was responsible in the sense that she would have rung emergency services if he had been taken seriously ill- but then he would have done the same for her.

I don't really see it as the elder having to do a job: a 9yo is not a baby and doesn't need much looking after. They get on and like each other's company and usually get a choice about whether they want to go with me/stay at home with me or not.

I have let them play outside in the summer without immediate adult supervision (small, very safe island) since they were, I suppose, about 7 and 4 respectively.

Don't have any younger children but would have no qualms about letting 14yo babysit a toddler if I had one to hand, she'd probably enjoy it.

I grew up with several siblings, including two younger ones, and we spent a lot of time tootling round after each other: I don't remember it as a massive chore. I suppose my parents were reasonable in what they expected and a small measure of responsibility came with more freedom, so I was happy with that. In retrospect, I don't think they asked for more than was fair and sensible.

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 07:27:08

Yes-of course I would.
I was about to say that I would find it 'monumentally unfair' not to give a DC responsibility and then saw that it was talking about autism.
If the younger DC hasn't got special needs I would certainly let them look after a younger DC. It depends entirely on age. I would let an 8yr old look after a 2yr old in the playground if I was there. I would let my 12 yr old stay at home and look after 2 yr old brother while I popped to the post office. I let 15yr old babysit his younger siblings at night.

cory Wed 22-Jun-11 07:48:18

Agree with exoticfruits about a small measure of responsibility being an essential part of childhood unless of course there are SN involved. It's just about making it proportionate to the child's age and personality. I can't see anything remotely disproportionate in letting a sensible 12yo look after a toddler for a short while.

feckwit Wed 22-Jun-11 07:53:16

Yes, I leave either my 13 or 11 year old with the younger -9 and 7- year olds whilst I pop to the shop, drop to football or hockey training etc. I would not leave the younger two alone yet.

sherbetpips Wed 22-Jun-11 12:22:24

I often panic when DS (7) is at the park on the campsite we go to with his neice who is 11. My DH tells me not to be daft and I am relaxing a little bit when he is out of sight. Still wont let him play on the road (cul de sac) without supervision though - all the other kids do and some even youger ones (3 or 4 year olds) AIBU on him?
The awful hit and run of a 6 year old the other day made me even more panicky - awful things do happen

exoticfruits Wed 22-Jun-11 15:22:32

YABU on him, especially if the neighbours are out. It isn't news that hundreds of thousands of DC have been out in cul de sacs this week and haven't been hit by a car.
You are far more likely to have a car accident with him in the car and yet I bet it doesn't stop you taking him out.

cory Wed 22-Jun-11 16:55:35

The only hit an run accident we've had around here lately was a car hitting a mum who was taking her kids to school. As you can imagine, her presence was not much protection to them. Luckily she survived.

jubilee10 Wed 22-Jun-11 21:52:49

I let ds2 (13) look after ds3 almost 5 in the house with us around (street/garden) and I would leave them for a short while to drop off/pick up if the need arose. He takes him to the park etc. I would not leave ds1 (15) with ds3 (perish the thought) as he is not responsible enough.

Beamur Wed 22-Jun-11 21:55:47

My DSD (16) now babysits her sister (4) - last year I would not have done this though, a year has made loads of difference DSD is so much more mature. Not sure I would ask DSS though even though he is older..

motherinferior Wed 22-Jun-11 21:59:56

I readily sling fivers at older siblings of the Inferiorettes' mates to babysit. I would never get out otherwise.

Riveninside Wed 22-Jun-11 22:20:32

Mine have taken dd for a walk in her wheelchair. She is 7, them 16 plus

ragged Thu 23-Jun-11 10:15:18

Briefly, like in the playground if I have to go get something inside school building. Yesterday I had both DD9 & DS11 looking after DS3yo out front of the house (on country lane) whilst I was briefly inside to get something.
Not longer with the 3yo, not yet; I guess I have let the 11yo look after the 3yo very briefly out there, too, but only a handful of very short times; long enough for me to get a pair of shoes, perhaps. It is a very quiet road, btw, and we are all extremely vigilant about watching for cars.
I let DD9 & DS7 both play out (without me) on a field 50m from our house, to some extent both looking out for each other.
I can imagine the 13yo babysitting at home on his own for half an hour or so, the 4-5yo in 18 months or so. When I need to go get somebody else from school or a swim lesson, etc.

Fennel Thu 23-Jun-11 13:18:05

I let my 11yo or 9yo take 7yo to the shop or the park or to school, but I don't usually leave 7yo at home alone with one of her sisters, that seems a bit too much resposibility for them just yet. I don't make the older two look after the youngest, cos I don't think it would work if they weren't all willing.

At the moment I bribe dd1 (11) to take dd3 (7) to school, cos it gives me half an hour extra of work time. I pay her in candle wick, the currency of choice this week. It's cheaper than getting an au pair.

cory Thu 23-Jun-11 20:39:29

Why is sitting in the house more responsibility than going to the park for the same amount of time, Fennel ?(genuine question)

Fennel Thu 23-Jun-11 21:17:58

It seems that my children nearly always behave beautifully if looking after dd3 when out of the house, and dd3 will behave for them, and I don't think there's quite the same dynamic going on at home. So it's partly about that. Occasionally we'll leave dd3 with the others for 5 mins while nipping to the shop but I don't think the dds rise to the responsibility in quite the same way.

Somehow, they are more likely to argue, or I feel that, if left at home together. but they don't if out walking nicely to school together.

Ponders Thu 23-Jun-11 21:22:43

my older DC were 11, 8 & 4 when youngest was born & the older 2 were frequently a godsend, taking DC4 out in the buggy or staying in while I popped out or just being generally wildly entertaining whenever I had anything I had to do.

I didn't even have to pay them.

isn't this how the world always was in the good old days - big ones minding little ones? shame if it's no longer considered acceptable (to some fools grin)

Fennel Thu 23-Jun-11 21:28:50

Actually, Cory, thinking about it, it's not just that. Where we live there is quite a good communal feel, so if the dds are outside, there are often people around who would look out for them, intervene, help them, pick them up if they fall over. So in a way being out around here is less isolated than being in the house. If dd3 got upset and started yelling (which is possible), if they were out playing or going to school, someone would probably step in and sort them out.

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