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14 year old babysitting siblings

(16 Posts)
LadyHonoriaDedlock Mon 14-Dec-15 10:06:40

Hello All, I'm looking for advice/reassurance/experiences of 14 year olds babysitting. My ds is coming up to 14 (in a week) and from extensive reading of NSPCC and council websites, it seems that he is allowed to babysit as long as I know that I'm legally responsible should anything bad happen. His siblings are 11 and 6, he's very grown up for his age and has proven that he knows how to deal with an emergency (without going into detail, he is au fait with 999). However, none of our friends have teenagers and I would really like to ask people who do, if they have done this, and how it has worked out. I want to make absolutely sure I'm doing the right thing before I say yes. It would be for max. three hours in the evening if I did let him, and he'd be able to phone the next door neighbours for back up if needed. What do people think? Thank you!

AgeingArtemis Mon 14-Dec-15 10:26:51

If he's sensible, and most importantly the 11 year old will listen to him then I'd say it's fine. Wouldn't leave them overnight at that age though.

I suggest you threaten the 11 year old with a "proper" baby sitter if she/he winds up the 14 year old or refuses to go to bed etc grin I also had to babysit a sibling 3 years younger and I had NO authority lol

LadyHonoriaDedlock Mon 14-Dec-15 10:31:57

Thanks Artemis, the 11 yr old is fine with him, she's also very sensible. Good idea about threatening though! He's looked after his siblings for up to an hour when dh and I are swapping over work shifts (in daylight) so has been building up to it.

YeOldeTrout Mon 14-Dec-15 18:38:56

NSPCC have no legal powers or even proper moral authority to tell you feck all. (yes I hold a grudge)
DD is 14yo & looks after little brothers occasionally. A lot more sensible than 16yo DS.

GasLIghtShining Mon 14-Dec-15 21:18:11

You are responsible if something goes wrong and your DS is under 16 so it is what you are comfortable with.

WE slowly built the time up like leaving them to go shopping. My DC were 14 and 11 when we first left them in the evening to go out. We did pick a local restaurant and did threaten the future use of a babysitter if they argues or messed around.

As well as having our mobile numbers we also checked which neighbours were around in an emergency.

DramaAlpaca Mon 14-Dec-15 21:21:36

I think it's fine, as long as the 14 year old is sensible. My eldest used to babysit his brothers regularly from about that age.

TeenAndTween Mon 14-Dec-15 21:26:09

I think fine, if the younger ones would listen and he is sensible.

BackforGood Mon 14-Dec-15 21:28:34

I don't have any issue with a mature 14 yr old babysitting, but my only caution here would be that siblings rarely think they need to do what their brother/sister says, in the same way they would for a "teen you'd asked in to babysit". Maybe your dc will ?

ThornyBird Mon 14-Dec-15 21:36:30

My 14yo babysits get younger siblings (9 and 6)and has done for about 6mths. It didn't happen until she said she was happy to do it (after a 999 incident as well).

However, when she started, we set it up so that dc1 and dc2 (12) both get paid. Basically there is £10 on offer, they decide the split and if there is any squabbling etc then neither gets paid (to stop the 'he did' 'she did' scenario). They currently do a 7:3 split and it seems to have worked well.

steppemum Mon 14-Dec-15 21:42:10

mine are 13, 10 and 8 and we leave them sometimes for about 1.5 hours on a Saturday morning when we go running, and don't want to drag the youngest to the park with us (don't worry about the older 2 for an hour or so)
But we know that they will be vegging in front of the tv

I would also leave them in the evening if youngest was already in bed (or we were happy for her to stay up) and there is no chance that oldest would put youngest to bed.

It is a fine line for me, each time we balance the issues (how far away we would be, time of day, mood of the children) and we don't do it very often at the moment, once a month maybe.

Lucylou333 Mon 14-Dec-15 21:42:29

Think it depends on the individual entirely. I was paid to babysit from 14 but I wouldn't let my DD , as she is far from sensible but if she were I would wink

Dancergirl Tue 15-Dec-15 09:57:49

My 3 are 14, nearly 13 and 8.5. Oldest dd has been babysitting for about 6 months and all fine so far (except one time when they had an argument but this is very rare).

Still can't decide about whether to pay them or not, what do others do?

LadyHonoriaDedlock Tue 15-Dec-15 10:46:16

Thanks everyone, this is much more reassuring than I'd expected! As I say, I have no friends with kids the same age so very difficult to judge.

Not sure if I'd pay ds to babysit - he wouldn't expect it, but it might be nice to bung him some chocolate/cash to say thank you. I'll see what he thinks.

ThornyBird Tue 15-Dec-15 18:20:30

We decided to pay at a greatly reduced rate as we were paying a babysitter at least double anyway, we can use it as a tool as above wink and I read too many threads on here about eldest siblings who felt taken for granted when it came to looking after their younger siblings sad

JustDanceAddict Wed 16-Dec-15 15:00:07

We had sitters start from age 14 when my two were around 4 and 6. They were neighbours or children of close-by parents should anything untoward happen. My DD will be 14 in 7 months and I will probably leave her with her then 12-year old brother in the early evening. Am sure we will have to build it up though from going out locally for an hour or so, to full-blown evening out. In the day I am sure I would leave them for a few hours together, but it's different at night/in the dark.

trickydickie Sat 26-Dec-15 22:12:06

Yes I would especially if you know he is sensible. My children are 13.6, 10,8 and 5. In 6 months time I am going to get the 2 youngest to bed and then dh and I will go to a restaurant at the bottom of our street (maybe 6 min walk away or 2 mins in the car).

We also have neighbours we will ask to be there just incase daughter needs them. It will also be light at night by then so will probably do 8.15pm til 9.30pm first couple of times if all goes well. Don't think we would ever do more than an hour and a half, 2 at max if all goes well first few times.

I am pretty sure DD1 would phone us if she was worried or didn't know what to do.

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