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Young Babysitter? Is 11 years old to young?

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monarch64

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Date: 2/10/2010 10:42:35 AM
Author: KimberlyH
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.
Ditto/thritto/I agree also.

I think I started sitting for a 2-3 y/o when I was 12. Shortly thereafter I sat a few times for 3 kids at once, ages 6 months, 2 years, and 3 years. That was insane and to be quite honest I remember feeling overwhelmed. It was during the day maybe just for a couple of hours on a Saturday, but it was a LOT for a 12 y/o to deal with. The 2/3 year old I sat for on Saturday nights while the parents were at dinner and then dancing at their local fraternal order clubhouse was far easier than multiple kids.

I took the Red Cross SuperSitter class too, H_H. Most of the girls in the class were 10/11/12.

I don''t have kids, so I can''t say for sure whether I think 11 is too young. I only have my experience as an 11/12 year old babysitting to pull from. I was intelligent enough and responsible enough to interact with the kids, and know how to use the phone and what numbers to dial if anything went wrong. Nowadays parents are readily accessible with cell phones, and good god, kids can just google "CPR" if they forget what to do! LOL
 

purrfectpear

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We had transister radios with earphones, TV, record players, and the telephone. It wasn''t exactly the dark ages and there were plenty of "distractions"
 

mrssalvo

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Date: 2/10/2010 1:17:55 PM
Author: purrfectpear
We had transister radios with earphones, TV, record players, and the telephone. It wasn't exactly the dark ages and there were plenty of 'distractions'
I see your point PP but just disagree. Kids have way more things to be distracted by than I did 20 years ago. I never would have gone to someone's house to baby sit and even taken a radio/headphones or played with someone else's record player. I would probably have turned the tv on after the kids were in bed and I didn't talk on the phone much at 12. Not like today's 12 year olds that carry phones, ipods, are texting all the time, etc. or if they have an iphone they have everything they need in one device.

I used to walk home a mile from school alone too. I would never let my daughters do that today. it's just not worth the risk
 

Mrs Mitchell

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You''d be prosecuted for doing this in the UK.

I don''t doubt there are some very sensible and responsible 11 year olds, but they lack experience and sometimes inexperienced people (of whatever age) can panic when faced with a new or unexpected situation.

Our neighbours had a housefire a few years ago. Their 12 year old son was there with his 5 year old sister while their parents were out for less than an hour. He got into a panic when he saw the smoke and hid in the closet with his sister.
Fortunately they were both safe, because another neighbour saw the smoke and called the fire service. (Their parents were prosecuted.)

Now I''m not saying that every child would do that, but I''m saying that there is a chance they will do something illogical if they are frightened. It''s a bit of an unknown quantity. I would not leave my child in the care of another child under any circumstances.
 

KatM

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Date: 2/10/2010 3:25:52 PM
Author: Mrs Mitchell
You''d be prosecuted for doing this in the UK.

I don''t doubt there are some very sensible and responsible 11 year olds, but they lack experience and sometimes inexperienced people (of whatever age) can panic when faced with a new or unexpected situation.

Our neighbours had a housefire a few years ago. Their 12 year old son was there with his 5 year old sister while their parents were out for less than an hour. He got into a panic when he saw the smoke and hid in the closet with his sister.
Fortunately they were both safe, because another neighbour saw the smoke and called the fire service. (Their parents were prosecuted.)

Now I''m not saying that every child would do that, but I''m saying that there is a chance they will do something illogical if they are frightened. It''s a bit of an unknown quantity. I would not leave my child in the care of another child under any circumstances.
Here it''s illegal to leave kid under the age of 12 home alone. 11 seems old enough to be a mother''s helper, which is what i did, but definitely not old enough to care for an infant alone.
 

charbie

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Date: 2/9/2010 2:08:34 PM
Author: elledizzy5
Ya know, I babysat when I was 11-12 (that would be 1993-1994) and it was no big deal.

I just spent the weekend with my 11 year old niece, and I cannot IMAGINE leaving a baby with her!

It really depends on the kid, but it does seem a bit young to me, even though I did it myself.
I''m a year pr 2 younger than you, but same thing here. I babysat all the time at that age, and it never seemed to be an issue for a few hours, even at night.
 

Maisie

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I think the law in the UK is 14 for babysitting. I think it depends on the person. One of my daughters is nearly 14 and she isn''t mature enough to babysit. I would probably leave her home alone for a short time but would keep calling her to check she is ok. I wouldn''t let her use the cooker.
 

butterfly 17

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I think it is too young. I wonder what the legal age to leave any child alone at home is. I always thought it was 18 years old.

When me and my husband used to go out sometimes, we would ask my cousin who is 15 to babysit. I only asked her to do it when I knew her mother would be home though, just in case of emergencies.
 

junebug17

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I think 11 is a little too young to be baby-sitting an infant. It''s a lot of responsibility, and I just don''t think it''s worth the risk. Even a fairly capable 11 year old could panic in an emergency. My daughter was a mother''s helper at that age, which I think is more appropriate for that age.

I think in the past children were placed in positions of responsibility out of neccessity. That doesn''t mean it was a good idea. These days, parents have more options. In this case, it''s really not neccessary (I don''t think) for this child to be home alone with an infant. Sounds like it''s just convenient for the mom. I could be wrong on this, and if so I apologise.
 

steph72276

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Date: 2/11/2010 10:33:50 AM
Author: junebug17
I think 11 is a little too young to be baby-sitting an infant. It''s a lot of responsibility, and I just don''t think it''s worth the risk. Even a fairly capable 11 year old could panic in an emergency. My daughter was a mother''s helper at that age, which I think is more appropriate for that age.


I think in the past children were placed in positions of responsibility out of neccessity. That doesn''t mean it was a good idea. These days, parents have more options. In this case, it''s really not neccessary (I don''t think) for this child to be home alone with an infant. Sounds like it''s just convenient for the mom. I could be wrong on this, and if so I apologise.
Ditto!
 

Loves Vintage

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Is there any reason why a parent would hire an 11 year old to watch her baby other than because she would have to pay the child less, or perhaps nothing at all, to watch her baby? An emergency situation could arise, I understand that, but on a regular or pre-planned basis, I think it is crazy. I''ll spend the money, rather than rely on a child to save a few dollars.

I don''t care how "mature" the 11 year old is, when I have a baby, there is NO WAY I would ever allow a child to babysit. 11 years old??? Seriously, I will hire an adult, or schedule appropriately with DH, or take the baby with me or STAY HOME.

A lot of people have posted that they baby-sat when they were 11? Great. Well, does that mean that you will now let an 11 year old CHILD watch your baby? I haven''t read through every post, but I didn''t notice anyone who said that.

And, I agree with the poster who said she wouldn''t let an 11 year old watch their pets. Same here!!!
 

somethingshiny

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If I raised the 11 yr old in question, I would let the 11 yr old watch a younger sibling. This is not just some girl down the street, it''s a sibling that the mother has raised and the mother knows what she''s capable of.

IMO, an 11 yr old should know how to behave responsibly, handle emergencies, and have basic common sense. This goes for ANY 11 yr old.
 

MustangGal

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My younger sisters were babysitting the neighbor''s infant at 11 and 13. This was about 12 years ago, and my mom lived right up the street if anything went wrong, but we never thought anything bad of it. The only reason I wasn''t baby sitting at that age was that I refused to change diapers.

I do remember being left home to watch my 3 younger siblings when I was 14. They were 9, 7 and 1.
 

JSM

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Ha, I babysat my siblings (baby and toddler) at 10. My brother would do the same at 9 years old. I didn't do much 'paid' babysitting because I watched my younger siblings so often (my parents worked a lot). We knew all the emergency numbers, how to prepare meals (nothing complicated, sandwiches, mac and cheese, etc), hot to exit the house in case of a fire, how to entertain, how to change diapers, how to make a bottle. It was no big deal. I think we rather liked the freedom!

I am not a parent yet, but I would let an 11 year old babysit IF I knew the child and his/her parents well, and trusted them. Never overnight! But for a few hours in the evening, sure.

I think people generally act how you EXPECT them to act. I notice this with kids and adults! Kids are given a lot less responsibility now than they were, and they act accordingly. I don't necessarily think this is inherently a good thing or a bad thing. Kids are given more time to act like kids. But, in SOME cases, this can lead to children moving out of their parents home and not knowing how to balance a checkbook, cook a meal, change a tire, or do their own laundry, much less care for another person. Responsibility has to be learned at some point.
 

KimberlyH

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Date: 2/11/2010 11:10:44 AM
Author: Loves Vintage
Is there any reason why a parent would hire an 11 year old to watch her baby other than because she would have to pay the child less, or perhaps nothing at all, to watch her baby? An emergency situation could arise, I understand that, but on a regular or pre-planned basis, I think it is crazy. I''ll spend the money, rather than rely on a child to save a few dollars.

I don''t care how ''mature'' the 11 year old is, when I have a baby, there is NO WAY I would ever allow a child to babysit. 11 years old??? Seriously, I will hire an adult, or schedule appropriately with DH, or take the baby with me or STAY HOME.

A lot of people have posted that they baby-sat when they were 11? Great. Well, does that mean that you will now let an 11 year old CHILD watch your baby? I haven''t read through every post, but I didn''t notice anyone who said that.

And, I agree with the poster who said she wouldn''t let an 11 year old watch their pets. Same here!!!
I think it''s sad that what was once a great way for tweens/teens to learn some responsibility and earn some spending money has turned into something that people view as a way to take advantage of kids.

I started babysitting at about 11, I''m 32 and I still babysit for one family (kiddo has special needs and mom is very selective about who she''ll leave him alone with, but they do have a neighborhood girl who is 14 or so who watches him too). I learned some great skills as a babysitter and I was really good at it. I hope we''re lucky enough to find a neighborhood tween/teenager who is as trustworthy as I was to do the same for our kid.

As I mentioned above, I most likely wouldn''t hire an 11 year old, but I would hire a kid to babysit because I think it''s good for my kid to be around other kids of all ages rather than always being under the care of adults. I also like that I would be giving someone the same opportunity I was given as a kid, as I truly loved babysitting (obviously, I still do it!) and it played a big role in my growing up and becoming who I am. It has nothing to do with money, I would pay the child fairly. But I''m also one of those horrible people who thinks kids should go outside and play without parental supervision and interference.
 

trillionaire

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I started babysitting when I was 11, and continued over the years until I was about 20-21. I was an excellent babysitter, very responsible, if not occassionally overwhelmed with 3+ kids, but you really have to know and trust the kid. I''m with the others on this thread that feel that 11 ''seems'' too young, and I am a little mortified that I was allowed to do it in hindsight and retrospect. The kids I babysat love me, and I am friends with most of them on FB now, lol! It''s fun to see them grow up, as I got to know a lot of families through babysitting.

Also, I think that legally a kids has to be 13 to babysit... so if something DOES happen and an 11 yr old is left in charge, you could probably be charged with neglience or something...

(didn''t read the other posts, sorry if redundant)
 

fieryred33143

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Date: 2/11/2010 2:06:44 PM
Author: KimberlyH
I think it''s sad that what was once a great way for tweens/teens to learn some responsibility and earn some spending money has turned into something that people view as a way to take advantage of kids.

I started babysitting at about 11, I''m 32 and I still babysit for one family (kiddo has special needs and mom is very selective about who she''ll leave him alone with, but they do have a neighborhood girl who is 14 or so who watches him too). I learned some great skills as a babysitter and I was really good at it. I hope we''re lucky enough to find a neighborhood tween/teenager who is as trustworthy as I was to do the same for our kid.

As I mentioned above, I most likely wouldn''t hire an 11 year old, but I would hire a kid to babysit because I think it''s good for my kid to be around other kids of all ages rather than always being under the care of adults. I also like that I would be giving someone the same opportunity I was given as a kid, as I truly loved babysitting (obviously, I still do it!) and it played a big role in my growing up and becoming who I am. It has nothing to do with money, I would pay the child fairly. But I''m also one of those horrible people who thinks kids should go outside and play without parental supervision and interference.
Well, for starters I don''t think anyone would think of you as a horrible parent that let''s their child go play outside


And this isn''t about being overprotective either.

There is a huge difference between the examples given here in this thread and the specific situation that BB described in her original post. A lot of you have described baby sitting at 11 years old but I think only one or two of you have said you watched an infant (I think even one said a 3 month old which is
to me). The examples here of babysitting at 11 years old have been for children, not infants.

An 11 year old taking care of a 3 year old while mom runs errands for a few hours during the day or an 11 year old taking care of a 2 year old while mom and dad grab dinner on a Friday evening is not the same as a child taking care of an infant "late at night for about 4 hours."

6 month olds are not the same as toddlers. Most cannot sit up unassisted. Those that can do not know how to go from laying to sitting on their own. Majority are not crawling yet, some may be barrel rolling. Majority cannot hold a bottle on their own. They still depend a lot on the care giver which to me, again in this example of late at night for 4 hours, is not something that I would feel comfortable leaving my baby with a child. That doesn''t mean I''m going to confine DD to the 4 walls of her home for the rest of her life...only until she''s about 35


I would let a responsible teen watch my pre-schooler any night I want to go out
.
 

KimberlyH

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Date: 2/11/2010 2:54:42 PM
Author: fiery

Date: 2/11/2010 2:06:44 PM
Author: KimberlyH
I think it''s sad that what was once a great way for tweens/teens to learn some responsibility and earn some spending money has turned into something that people view as a way to take advantage of kids.

I started babysitting at about 11, I''m 32 and I still babysit for one family (kiddo has special needs and mom is very selective about who she''ll leave him alone with, but they do have a neighborhood girl who is 14 or so who watches him too). I learned some great skills as a babysitter and I was really good at it. I hope we''re lucky enough to find a neighborhood tween/teenager who is as trustworthy as I was to do the same for our kid.

As I mentioned above, I most likely wouldn''t hire an 11 year old, but I would hire a kid to babysit because I think it''s good for my kid to be around other kids of all ages rather than always being under the care of adults. I also like that I would be giving someone the same opportunity I was given as a kid, as I truly loved babysitting (obviously, I still do it!) and it played a big role in my growing up and becoming who I am. It has nothing to do with money, I would pay the child fairly. But I''m also one of those horrible people who thinks kids should go outside and play without parental supervision and interference.
Well, for starters I don''t think anyone would think of you as a horrible parent that let''s their child go play outside


And this isn''t about being overprotective either.

There is a huge difference between the examples given here in this thread and the specific situation that BB described in her original post. A lot of you have described baby sitting at 11 years old but I think only one or two of you have said you watched an infant (I think even one said a 3 month old which is
to me). The examples here of babysitting at 11 years old have been for children, not infants.

An 11 year old taking care of a 3 year old while mom runs errands for a few hours during the day or an 11 year old taking care of a 2 year old while mom and dad grab dinner on a Friday evening is not the same as a child taking care of an infant ''late at night for about 4 hours.''

6 month olds are not the same as toddlers. Most cannot sit up unassisted. Those that can do not know how to go from laying to sitting on their own. Majority are not crawling yet, some may be barrel rolling. Majority cannot hold a bottle on their own. They still depend a lot on the care giver which to me, again in this example of late at night for 4 hours, is not something that I would feel comfortable leaving my baby with a child. That doesn''t mean I''m going to confine DD to the 4 walls of her home for the rest of her life...only until she''s about 35


I would let a responsible teen watch my pre-schooler any night I want to go out
.
You''d be suprised, fiery. I work with kids in two capacities and I am amazed at how little freedom and responsibility so many of them have, and then I connect the dots and recognize it''s why we have college graduates whose parents are involved in the job interview process and still doing their laundry. I am amazed at how infantalized so many tweens/teens are and it''s because they aren''t allowed to earn freedom through being given the opportunity of having some responsibility.

I wouldn''t be okay with the situation proposed by the OP, and it''s not the same as the other examples you gave, but a lot of people have since said they would never let any child/teenager watch their baby and I find that hard to comprehend, just as those people think I''m nuts for wanting a tween/teen to babysit for us.

And I want to be there when you let Sophia (I think I''ve got the spelling correct) loose at 35.
 

Kaleigh

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I remember starting out as a Mother''s helper. I wasn''t left alone with the kids but would keep them busy while the mom tended to things she needed to. Then as time went on and she knew I could handle the kids, she would maybe run to the grocery store, etc... for a couple hours.

But to leave an 11 year old for 4 hours in the evening for the first time with a 6 month old?? Not something I would ever have done. No way.

I agree, there are very responsible 11 year olds.... BUT no way would I leave my 6 month old baby with an 11 year old who had never worked for me before, and then trust all will be fine for 4 hours at night??? That''s just asking for trouble.
 

Loves Vintage

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Kimberly - I was too general in my comment above. You are right. I would not have a problem with a repsonsible 14 or 15 year old watching a 4 year old, for example. Maybe a 13 year old watching a younger sibling for an hour or so during the day. I should not have said no child, ever. And, you are right about teaching personal responsibility. I too see many young adults (early 20s) who are far too reliant upon their parents.
 

trillionaire

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Another thing to consider is that it's a lot of responsibility to put onto a young child. I babysat primarily for the money, and while there were some families that I loved to death, there were other kids that were like miniature terrorists. I'm pretty certain at this point in life that I don't want kids, and I know that my decision is heavily influenced by all my years taking care of other people's kids. It's exhausting. I mostly babysat families of 2-4 kids, occasionally 5 kids, or combined sets of kids. I was one of the most beloved babysitters in my community, and parents still ask about me too, and occasionally try to get me for last minute jobs, lol! The kids weren't bad... just kids and tiring...

Just something to think about...
 
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