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Young Babysitter? Is 11 years old to young?

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Puppmom

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I wouldn''t leave an 11 year old at home without supervision...no way I would let them babysit!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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I was babysitting at 11, I was also "certified" by the Red Cross, which means I took a baby sitting course with CPR and first aid. I suppose it seems young, but I was staying home alone after school at that time as well. I think we underestimate kids these days.
 

steph72276

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11 years old is ELEMENTARY school...I don''t want a child watching my baby period.
 

Clio

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Date: 2/9/2010 5:33:38 PM
Author: oddoneout
Isn''t there something in the law that states how old someone has to be before they are left alone (maybe aged 12)?
This varies from state to state. In my state, a child can be left alone at 8 and can watch a younger child at 13.
 

4ever

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Is that legal?

In NZ you have to be 14yrs or older to be responsible for the care of younger children.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Depends on the 11 year old and the 11 year old''s history, I''d say.

My gut instinct was that it seemed way too young, but if the girl is the responsible sort and has been helping out with the baby (or babies generally) for months/years, then maybe. A responsible older sister sometimes is VERY involved with childcare for younger siblings; not all 11 year olds are alike. But, say, a more random 11-year old single-child neighbor child who had never been around babies yet was willing to sit in your house for 2 bucks and hour? Um... obviously not.


Interesting question!
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Date: 2/9/2010 5:44:17 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I was babysitting at 11, I was also ''certified'' by the Red Cross, which means I took a baby sitting course with CPR and first aid. I suppose it seems young, but I was staying home alone after school at that time as well. I think we underestimate kids these days.
I also wanted to clarify that babysitting at this age entailed the parents coming home by 8-8:30. There were no late nights or over nights. These families also lived within walking distance of my house and we lived in a safe neighborhood so walking/bike riding wasn''t an issue. I think every situation/child needs to be addressed differently. Some kids are ready for that kind of responsibility and others are not. I do, however stand by my statement of underestimating children today.
 

fieryred33143

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Date: 2/9/2010 6:41:58 PM
Author: KimberlyH

Date: 2/9/2010 5:44:17 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I think we underestimate kids these days.
This.
I agree with this but again, not for a 6 month old.

I wouldn''t have a problem with my 11 year old staying at home alone if I had to run out and do an errand. I was also a latchkey kid when we lived in Brooklyn. I also took care of 3 children when I was 13 between 3pm (after school) and when the mom got home (at 6pm).

But the children were 4, 6, and 8. I did homework with them, gave them a snack, and had them watch TV with me once homework was done. They could clearly communicate to me if something was wrong and if I couldn''t resolve it, I could pick up the phone and call whomever I needed to call.

A 6 month old is totally different. Babies don''t only sleep, eat, and poop as people like to think.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Firey, I disagree, I was taking care of my little brother when he was 6 months and I was 13. I knew how to change diapers, make and heat bottles, feed and burp the baby and proper protocol for if the baby got sick. I know I was two years older, but to be quite honest I don''t think I was the most mature 13 year old. While an 11 year old isn''t ideal in this situation, it can be done.
 

fieryred33143

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Maybe it''s just me then. I see Sophia as she is now (7 months) and there''s no way I''d let even a responsible 11 year old babysit unless it was a huge emergency. And Sophia sleeps 12 hours at night (7:30 to 7) and rarely wakes up unless she''s in pain/sick/teething.
 

Hudson_Hawk

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Again I think it depends on the situation and the kid.
 

KimberlyH

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Fiery, as I said I started babysittig when I was 11. I started caring for kids much younger though (I''m the youngest of 36 grandchildren on one side and all of those cousins had kids of their own that they gladly handed over to me at family parties and gatherings at a much younger age to diaper, feed, put to sleep, entertain, etc.). Using myself as an example is obviously andectodal and I don''t think any 11 year old should be left alone for hours on end, late at night, with an infant, but I do think we are way too protective of our kids now, and in not trusting them to do things like babysit, we fail to teach them responsibility. I wouldn''t leave my baby with an 11 year old because I don''t want CPS at my doorstep, but I do believe their are responsible pre-teens who are capable of doing a great job babysitting.
 

KimberlyH

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Date: 2/9/2010 7:07:59 PM
Author: fiery
Maybe it''s just me then. I see Sophia as she is now (7 months) and there''s no way I''d let even a responsible 11 year old babysit unless it was a huge emergency. And Sophia sleeps 12 hours at night (7:30 to 7) and rarely wakes up unless she''s in pain/sick/teething.
I don''t think it''s you, I think most people feel this way.
 

Rachel9

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Date: 2/9/2010 6:40:48 PM
Author: 4ever
Is that legal?

In NZ you have to be 14yrs or older to be responsible for the care of younger children.
Not where I live, federal minimum age of 14 for babysitting, Thank G*d. But it is also true that every situation is different.
 

Pandora II

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IIRC it's illegal in the UK to leave a child under the age of 13 home alone, so I would think you would need to be at least 14 to babysit - and the recommended age is at least 16.

I would NEVER leave Daisy with an 11 year-old.

For starters, how would an 11 year-old cope with a child who is fairly likely to scream for 2 hours solid. I wouldn't even trust an 11 year-old to carry my baby down a flight of stairs!

Currently only family members have babysat, otherwise I will use an agency where all the sitters are police checked, have completed first aid courses and are adults.

ETA: I am the eldest of 4 kids and there is a 13 year age gap between me and the youngest, so I had plenty of experience looking after young kids - and boy was it a good contraceptive - and my parents would only leave me looking after the others when I was 14 and then if they were just going round to the neighbours or something nearby.
 

megumic

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I too was babysitting at the age of 10. From 4-6pm across the street from my house for an 18 month old. Shortly thereafter I was watching small children and infants (4 months)). I agree with HH, it does depend on the babysitter and the baby, but in general it seems helicopter parenting is far too prevalent and is too enabling. I''m not a parent though, so perhaps my opinion doesn''t count.

Although 11 yo does admittedly seem young, when I think about all of the other things I was doing at 11 and 12, babysitting was the most innocent and probably kept me out of a bunch of trouble I could have gotten into otherwise.

I can only think of one situation when something went awry - a 9 month old had gotten out of his little seat at the kitchen table and had crawled onto the table.
 

PinkTower

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I think it depends on the babysitter, but for me, eleven is young unless the child is an immediate family member while a quick errand is run.
No matter what the age, I would require the babysitter have Red Cross Certification.
My daughter just started babysitting this summer at age fifteen. I would not allow her until she had all of the Red Cross training, and
Red Cross requires the person to be fifteen to get Red Cross Certification as a lifeguard.
We live on the beach, and most people have pools, so you can't be too careful, no matter how well the pool is fenced.
 

purrfectpear

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Date: 2/9/2010 6:59:05 PM
Author: fiery

Date: 2/9/2010 6:41:58 PM
Author: KimberlyH


Date: 2/9/2010 5:44:17 PM
Author: Hudson_Hawk
I think we underestimate kids these days.
This.
I agree with this but again, not for a 6 month old.

I wouldn''t have a problem with my 11 year old staying at home alone if I had to run out and do an errand. I was also a latchkey kid when we lived in Brooklyn. I also took care of 3 children when I was 13 between 3pm (after school) and when the mom got home (at 6pm).

But the children were 4, 6, and 8. I did homework with them, gave them a snack, and had them watch TV with me once homework was done. They could clearly communicate to me if something was wrong and if I couldn''t resolve it, I could pick up the phone and call whomever I needed to call.

A 6 month old is totally different. Babies don''t only sleep, eat, and poop as people like to think.
See I''d much rather see an 11 year old watch a baby than expect them to watch THREE kids at once, one of them a preschooler.

Babies are easier (much, much, easier) to watch then toddlers. Babies stay where you put them, can''t put things in their mouths if they are in their crib, usually don''t choke on milk, are unlikely to swallow chemicals, won''t play in the toilet, etc. As to crying, unless the sitter is an only child, they''ve heard babies wail before. It''s not like they''re going to panic because a baby cries. Also, there''s always their mom on the phone to answer "what do I do now?" Diaper changing is much easier now...no one uses pins anymore. I wish I''d had tape back then...whew. A few people mentioned an 11 year old "carrying" the baby, like that''s somehow abnormal? In most families with older siblings, it''s not uncommon to see brothers or sisters 7 or 8 years old carrying their little sibling around the house. Why would an older babysitter suddenly be incapable?

I''m not saying people should have 11 year old babysitters. Times have clearly changed. There were a LOT of responsibilities younger kids were intrusted with that most kids don''t have now (walking to school alone, going to a different store in the mall while parents shopped, etc.). I''m just reflecting on why it wasn''t unusual for 11 year olds to baby sit then, and why no one thought a thing about it.
 

ChargerGrrl

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I think I landed my first babysitting job when I was 12.

Although there may be some responsible 11-12 year olds out there, I personally think that the times are just not what they used to be. There''s just WAY too many distractions nowadays- computer/internet, phone, ipod, etc... all these things totally suck you in.
 

Kay

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I started baby sitting neighborhood infants and young children when I was 11. I was an only child, but my mom taught childhood development classes and made sure I was prepared. By 13, I was running the day care at church and watching 3-6 infants and toddlers during the 2-3 hour church services (I volunteered to avoid sitting through the boring sermons).

Now that I have a 15-month-old daughter, there is no way I would leave her with an 11 year old. I''m not sure I would feel comfortable with a 16-year-old sitter either. Lol, I thought I was so mature at 11, but as a parent I am way too protective to trust a child that age with my baby.
 

Haven

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I think it depends on the 11-year-old, and the children she'd be watching.

I started babysitting at age 11. I was in the 7th grade (I was always a year younger than the rest of my grade) and my mom met a lovely woman with two young children, aged 4 and 6, who needed babysitting. I started watching the kids every Saturday night when the parents had date night.

Shortly after I started watching the kids, the 4-year-old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and he was an extremely brittle case. SO, I then attended all of the hospital "training" appointments so I could learn how to care for the little guy--I tested his blood, measured and prepped his insulin shots, measured out his food, etc.

I watched those kids from age 11 through 21. I stayed with them for many long weekends and holidays during college, and even went on a couple vacations with the family.

So, at age 11 I was not only babysitting, I was caring for a child with a new (and thus, volatile) case of brittle diabetes. And it all worked out just fine. I'm proud to report that the older child is now a college graduate, and the youngest will be graduating college in May. Some of the side effects of his diabetes are interfering a bit with his life, but on the whole he is a happy, well-adjusted young man.
 

sba771

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I was babysitting at 11 (in ''96) and I was in 6th grade. The youngest I babysat for was a 3 month old. Everyone I babysat was within a 10 minute radius from my house and they all met my mom prior. I don''t know, I think it depends on the kids, but I probably wouldn''t hire an 11 year old. All the tween and teens I know now scare me in terms of their behavior.
 

Girlrocks

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Date: 2/9/2010 6:16:46 PM
Author: Clio

Date: 2/9/2010 5:33:38 PM
Author: oddoneout
Isn''t there something in the law that states how old someone has to be before they are left alone (maybe aged 12)?
This varies from state to state. In my state, a child can be left alone at 8 and can watch a younger child at 13.
Same in my state...whether the younger child is a sibling or not.
 

vespergirl

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I was babysitting other people''s kids in the neighborhood when I was 11, but that was in the late 80s - it was a different time, and kids were given more responsibility back then. These days, I probably wouldn''t want a kid under 14 babysitting my kid.

When my older brother was 10, he was put in charge of us for short periods, like if my mom went to the grocery store or something, and it was always fine.
 

fieryred33143

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I think someone mentioned above that the 11 year old of today is not the same as the 11 year old when we were that age. I think that''s an excellent point (don''t remember who said it though, sorry). And they''re definitely *not* the 11 year old of when our parents were at that age.

I also hate to say this but I really do think this is a situation that while everyone can make a very educated and thoughtful response based on life experiences and how they feel, it''s something you don''t really know the answer to unless you have a child that age now (either an infant or an 11 year old).

I''m willing to bet money that my response would most definitely change once DD is older and I have a couple more parenting years under my belt (and mainly, once I forget what it''s like to have an infant). I did poll another site of moms with babies 6-24months and of 262 responses, only 18 said yes. I bet if I asked the moms with older children, the responses would be way, way different
 

KimberlyH

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I asked my husband what his cutoff age would be for trusting a kid to watch our baby if we were to go to dinner or run some errands. He said if we were nearby, dinner up the street, etc., he would leave a responsible 12 year old, that we know well, with our kid, but he would much prefer to leave an infant with an adult because babies don't have the ability to communicate needs.

I absolutely agree that 11 year olds are not the same as they were even 10 years ago, I just also happen to find it disturbing and know that there are some 11 year olds who are quite capable and responsible.
 

mrssalvo

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Date: 2/10/2010 12:41:53 AM
Author: ChargerGrrl



Although there may be some responsible 11-12 year olds out there, I personally think that the times are just not what they used to be. There''s just WAY too many distractions nowadays- computer/internet, phone, ipod, etc... all these things totally suck you in.
totally agree about the distractions. when I was a kid we didn''t even have cable, so if I was babysitting 100% of my attention was focused on the kids I was watching. Today most families have computers/internet in their house and most 12 year olds own ipods and many even have cell phones where texting to friends is hugely popular. way too easy to get distracted when watching a baby.

I think it''s interesting that most of the ladies that currently have babies now say no way. you look at things different when it''s your own child being left under someone else''s supervision.
 

waterlilly

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I wouldn''t let an 11 year old care for my dogs, never mind my infant. Is that even legal? Are there some legal limitations on children''s ages for being left alone? You hear stories on TV about kids being found alone and the parents getting in trouble for it - are there actually established ages in different states for how young is too young?

I babysat for neighborhood kids when I was in high school (16+ yrs old) but can''t imagine being left to take care of an infant when I was a 6th grader.
 
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