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What age can you leave a 15 year old to babysit a 7 year old sibling?

(11 Posts)
Justletthemeatcake Mon 25-Apr-16 11:32:51

We sometimes leave our 15 year old to baby sit our 7 year old for short periods of time, a station run or something short, not long periods.

Are there no guidelines? I thought we could decide based on how responsible the teenager is?

OP’s posts: |
Playdoughcaterpillar Mon 25-Apr-16 11:34:37

Sounds entirely reasonable to me!

ApocalypseSlough Mon 25-Apr-16 11:36:25

Several years ago! I don't have such a big gap but from early teens I'd leave mine alone for station runs, evenings out, supermarket etc. And they babysat from 12/14.
Are they sensible? Do you leave contact details, rules about answering the phone/ door/ cooking etc.

Justletthemeatcake Mon 25-Apr-16 11:43:35


We are very consistent. Our elder is always told, the younger is always told. The younger isn't allowed to answer the door even to friends and they have to have the phone near them.

Not that we're hysterical but I think it's good to be clear.

So would it be fine for him to babysit for us to go out for an evening? I mean is that acceptable? I'm not sure what the guidelines are. I totally trust ds. And dd is very sensible.

Somebody recently said that 15 was too young shearas i thought it was partially parental sense of readiness of the children in question.

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SnuffleGruntSnorter Mon 25-Apr-16 11:52:46

If they're sensible then it sounds ok to me!

leonardthelemming Mon 25-Apr-16 12:03:42

I read somewhere that 16 is the "suggested" age - for what reason I don't know. Personally, we had 14-year-olds (in pairs) babysitting for ours when they were aged 7 and 2. No problems.

I recently spoke to a nurse about exactly this. She hadn't heard of this "suggestion" and said that she babysat from 14 and so did her daughters. And this was other people's children, not siblings, so I think it's absolutely fine.

Justletthemeatcake Mon 25-Apr-16 12:09:04


I just found this advice from the NSPCC which is good.

It says there is no precise law but that you can be prosecuted if your child has been left if it can be shown they left the child 'at risk'.

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AnotherUsernameBitesTheDust Mon 25-Apr-16 12:12:57

I left my eldest to babysit his 4 you get siblings from around 14. Starting off with me popping to the shop (so 15 minutes) to doing a school run if some were off (an hour)
He's 17 now, and we have left him a few evenings to put them to bed if we've gone out. I don't do it too often as he does like to wind them up. angry

It totally depends on the child, some 15 yo would be fine, others I wouldn't trust with a hamster for half an hour! grin

AnotherUsernameBitesTheDust Mon 25-Apr-16 12:13:22

4 younger siblings, not you get.

Justletthemeatcake Mon 25-Apr-16 12:22:30

Also how old before they can collect a sibling from school? I think private nurseries expect over 18 year olds only to collect?

OP’s posts: |
leonardthelemming Mon 25-Apr-16 14:56:28

When DS1 was 10 he walked his 5-year-old brother home from (the same) school. Not sure that's the same as collecting from nursery though, or if there even is a rule.
Perhaps write a letter to the nursery giving your permission for your teen to collect the younger one? That lets them off the hook - which is probably what they're worried about.

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