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Leaving older DC in charge of younger sibling

(13 Posts)
FarAwayHills Wed 17-Aug-16 22:00:42

Just wondered if there was a legal or acceptable age that an older sibling can be left in charge of a younger sibling. I just wanted opinions as DD1 is always saying that I can leave her and DD2 at home if I need to pop to the shops for example. It's not something I'm comfortable with yet but there must be a point when it's ok.

It just made me think that at a similar age I was in charge of younger siblings while my parents worked in the holidays and at 13/14 I was babysitting for neighbours in the evenings. This was just the norm back then but I just don't think it would be at all acceptable now.

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 17-Aug-16 22:06:10

How old are they?

If the younger one is old enough to be left on their own normally then obviously ok to leave her with dd1.

If dd2 is asleep or easily distracted by tv then it would be fine to leave her for a short period (an hour?)

EssentialHummus Wed 17-Aug-16 22:08:31

DH's older brother was left with him when they were 1 and 5 y.o. My MIL apparently has nerves of steel grin

How old are they OP?

FarAwayHills Wed 17-Aug-16 22:08:49

Yes that would be helpful....They are 13 and 9

Bryna Wed 17-Aug-16 22:08:55

There is no 'legal' age for children to be left home alone, it's up to the parents to ensure that they have 'risk-assessed' and not put the children in danger. I was also baby -sitting a family of 5 at age 14! ( not just evenings, when they were in bed either!) I know that my oldest 2 would fight like cat and dog so it's not something I would do for a long while yet!!!

DramaAlpaca Wed 17-Aug-16 22:11:24

If they get on well I'd be OK with leaving a sensible 13 year old to look after a 9 year old sibling for a couple of hours.

kilmuir Wed 17-Aug-16 22:11:29

I would leave them at 13 and 9. No way would my DC at 13 have come shopping

OhFuds Wed 17-Aug-16 22:11:53

I leave my 4yr old with my 13yr old when I'm doing the weekly shop, usually it takes about an hour. I only leave the 4yr old if he's happy to stay and is happy to sit and watch cartoons on his tablet. I wouldn't trust my 13yr old if they were old wrestling on the trampoline though.

Somerville Wed 17-Aug-16 22:14:52

Lots of 13 year olds babysit younger siblings.

Main thing is that they get on and can be relied on not to have stupid squabbles and wind each other up. Also being sensible about following the rules, and talking through emergency procedures.

There are babysitting courses and first aid courses around for this age group. My 14 year old did one before she started babysitting her siblings - didn't really learn anything she didn't know already, but I felt that getting herself on a bus to go along for it on a Saturday morning, a few weeks in a row, was a good way of testing whether she really was mature enough to trust to babysit.

FarAwayHills Wed 17-Aug-16 22:22:46

How do you 'risk asses' and what would be considered putting them in danger? Just concerned that if something happened when they were home alone we'd have social services at the door shock

Chasingsquirrels Wed 17-Aug-16 22:30:49

Mine are 13 & 10.
I've been leaving them, together or separately, when I'm nipping to the shops or dropping one of them somewhere, for a couple of years. Before that I'd insist that dc2 came with me but would leave dc1 for a year or so before that.
I'd leave them for a few hours together now although I probably wouldn't leave dc2 on his own for that long, maybe a couple of hours max for dc2 alone. I'd leave dc1 alone for a school day if he is on holiday and dc2 isn't.

corythatwas Thu 18-Aug-16 07:32:10

If nothing serious happens, SS won't get to hear about it. If something serious were to happen, SS would be the least of your worries.

eyebrowsonfleek Thu 18-Aug-16 09:23:14

My younger 2 are 13 and 9 and have been left together lots of times.
They know to call 999 or me if they are in an emergency and that if there's a fire to get out the house etc.

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