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would you let your 11 yr old babysit?

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi! This is one of my first posts, here. I find you all to be such a lovely, informative group.

I have a very mature, responsible, loving, intelligent 11 year old son. He is exellent with kids. Teaches neighbor kids to ride bikes, is a very good role model when all the neighbor kids are out playing in our court yard.
He has also show great trust and responsibility in dealing with his younger brother who has a brain injury

He has also taken the red cross babysitting course.

Is it legal for him to be babysitting?

Would you let your son/daughter of 11 babysit? for what length of time?

Id love your opinion
post #2 of 35
Welcome to the forums!

It is my understanding that in my state, 11 year olds can only legally babysit siblings. At 12, they can start babysitting outside of the family.

That said, I personally would not leave my children with a 12 yo, in fact, my 12 yo doesn't babysit his younger siblings. He really has no interest in babysitting outside of the family but asks to babysit for us. We just aren't comfortable with it yet. Maybe at 13-14, but we'll have to see.

Congrats on having such a wonderful son though!

ETA: I just noticed you were in Canada so your laws are probably completely different. Sorry.
post #3 of 35
Here, a child has to be 12, I believe, to legally babysit. At that age I would definitely let them, though.
post #4 of 35
In your case, since he's taken all of the saftey classes, etc and has made a serious attempt to me mature about it, I would be OK with it.

that said, my DS had a babysitter until he was 13
post #5 of 35
I let my son babysit his 5 year sister when he was an old 11. I did not (and do not) let him babysit his 9 year old sister for more than 20 minutes as they will fight

I let him babysit for up to 2 hours.

He is now 12. I would let him babysit children in the 4-8 year old category (younger kids are "too busy" and older ones might have trouble listenning due to the nearness in age) for up to 1.5 hours if I were home and physically close to where he was babysitting so I could advise him if need be.
post #6 of 35
I think it really depends on your child (both of them actually, the responsibility/maturity level of the older one and the dynamics between them both), where you live, and how far/how long you'll be gone.

My 12 year old has been watching his 4 year old brother for about a year or so, but only for an hour or less while I'm in town.

It's the almost 15 year old and 12 year old that I have problems leaving them home together, as they are at each other all the time.
post #7 of 35
I have a mature 11 y/o daughter, and no she can not babysit. She wants to, but our deal is that she can when she is 13. We've just recently started leaving her home alone for short periods of time, I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving her alone and responsible for a younger child at this point. However, she has babysat the young children (6mos-2years) of our friends when we were home. Basically, she is completely responsible for the child, but the adults are outside or busy for an hour or so at a time. We are always within earshot. This gives her practice and allows for the adults to do something uninterrupted.
post #8 of 35
I'm sure it depends legally on where you are.

When dd was a baby we left her briefly with an 11 year old "babysitter". We needed daytime care for a half hour, and the neighbor's daughter was super-keen to try out her new babysitting skills. Her mom was home next door, and would have come over if there were any issues. It worked out well!
post #9 of 35
He would have to be twelve to babysit here. However, if he's eager to get experience he could try being a mother's helper or something along that line. I hired a friend's 11-year-old daughter for two afternoons a week to play with Maia so I could get interviews done a couple of years ago. She went on to be our regular babysitter.
She made up flyers advertising her service - explaining she couldn't babysit yet but she could play games, do art, make snacks and keeps the kids busy while parents got things done in another part of the house...
post #10 of 35
I think it depends on the individual. As his Mom, only you know your child well enough to decide if he's ready.

A 15-year-old might not be able to handle babysitting as well as some 10 year-olds. I don't think age is nearly as important as personality, maturity, kindness, preparation (cpr, first aid, what to do in an emergency), how they handle younger children and responsibility for others.

My daughter is 11 and she was first asked to babysit when she was 9. She regularly played with our then-4-year-old neighbor and her mom consistently asked her to babysit. I was home so it wasn't as big of a responsibility but she insisted on doing everything herself and handled it well.

Now, at 11, I wouldn't have a problem with dd babysitting anyone 3 or older as long as she was nearby (preferably in the neighborhood) so she could call me if she needed to. I wouldn't want her babysitting an infant or young toddler until she was maybe 14...? We'll see when the time comes...
post #11 of 35
My mom started leaving me alone with my siblings when I was 9, which was totally illegal, but it's not like I knew that and my mother was likely drunk anyway, so she wouldn't have been actually taking care of us. From the time I was 7 (and they were 1 and 3) I was getting them up in the mornings, getting them changed, dressed, fed, etc. At 9 I was more than capable of handling a 3 and 5 year old. By the time I was 11 I was allowed to babysit pretty much anywhere in my neighborhood, and when I got my license I started getting jobs that required driving.

If you feel you're son is ready and the other family has no qualms, I don't see a reason not to.
post #12 of 35
Whether or not it's legal for your 11yo to babysit depends on your local laws. I checked my local laws (actually the CPS website) before letting my kids stay home alone even! It turns out that in NYS at least there are no specific ages, just general guidelines "it depends on the maturity of the child babysitting and the age and maturity of the child being babysat."

I've let my kids stay home alone for an hour or so at a time starting around age 9 or 10, and babysit starting around age 12. I've been letting DD2 babysit for DS (6) since age 11.5, since she's mature enough and there seemed to be no logical reason to hold off until her next birthday when she was ready for it NOW.
post #13 of 35
He sounds wonderfully responsible; so if it were within the law; I'd let him babysit. I would make some basic rules though; such as...
  • not being allowed to babysit a child under 7 (or whatever age you feel apropriate)
  • limit his services to daytime hours only (or whatever you feel)
  • limit the length of time to 2 hours (or whatever)
  • limit the distance away (ie: he can only babysit within' a two block radius of your house in case help is needed)
  • to make sure you're available to go and help him if necessary
  • that he isn't to feed the children (unless he's has formal training with choking)
...and so forth. Basically, if you're going to let him do this; there has to be some (flexible-ish) rules that you establish first. If he were just watching a 6 and 7 year old and they had potato chips and juice and watched a movie; that would be an okay situation in my opinion.

OH! He could also offer a distraction service. As in; he could be paid a small fee to occupy the kids while mom/dad get some housework or paperwork done. So they'd still be there; but he'd be in charge of getting them things they need, playing with them, etc.
post #14 of 35
Originally Posted by Blu Razzberri View Post
OH! He could also offer a distraction service. As in; he could be paid a small fee to occupy the kids while mom/dad get some housework or paperwork done. So they'd still be there; but he'd be in charge of getting them things they need, playing with them, etc.
ITA. There is always something for an industrious child - I think it would be a great intro to babysitting to get paid to entertain the children (and build his 'resume'), which is what he seems to love doing. There are several neighborhood kids in our area who do this, they usually get around $5/hr and do 2 hrs. in the later afternoon (the witching hour). They will do younger children (under 3) but right in the backyard/playroom, so there's always help at hand if the baby needs something he/she can't handle. Hth!

PS - I'm in NY too, and so though there is no law, I don't think I'd hire even a very responsible 11 yo, only because they need to be able to handle contingencies (like broken bones, bleeding, etc. and I think it's better for them not to have to handle that alone).
post #15 of 35
Not a mama of a teen, but I'm gonna pop in anyway...

I babysat at 11, but it was for my parents' best friends' daughter (while they were out with my parents, who hired a different sitter for my sisters, as I had the fighting issue with my then 9 year-old sister, plus my youngest sister was only three at the time), who was eight at the time, and a very easy-going kid. We knew the child in question very well; I had been bossing her around like she was my own sister since we were tiny. I was a pretty serious kid, too, so that probably helped.

The parents were also only a half a mile away at the bowling alley, and were perfectly willing to come home, for any reason, if I called. So for a lot of reasons... yeah, I was mature enough to babysit IN THAT SITUATION. I don't think I'd have been mature enough to handle it in other situations.
post #16 of 35
I let my 12 yo niece babysit my DS, but I wouldn't go far. (A friend's up the road, pick up DF from the bus stop... small errands.) Mostly she was a Mother's Helper. (On her March Break I got sick... she was VERY useful)

I would make him stick to known friends/family/neighbours until he's older.
post #17 of 35
My 12yo son watches his younger brother and sister often, for short periods of time, no more than 2 hours. He did at 11 as well. i have a cell and he can reach me. he does great and even handles their bickering quite well. i think it all depends on the kid
post #18 of 35
My oldest babysat his two siblings for a couple of hour stretches at a time once he was 11 and had taken the babysitting course. None of my kids have done much babysitting for anyone else.
post #19 of 35
In WA state, where I live, there is no 'legal age' for what's considered casual labor (paper route, lawn mowing, babysitting, etc.) Same goes for leaving your child at home by themselves.

That being said, I wouldn't let an 11 y/o babysit my children. I wouldn't even let my 11 y/o stay home by themselves.
post #20 of 35
I babysat for some people down the street starting when I was 11. They had a 6 year old and 3 year old twins. All girls. I had taken the baby sitting course through the Red Cross as well and I charged practically nothing (maybe $2 an hour, but $2 was my weekly allowance so it was a lot to me!). I also have three much younger siblings so I had quite a bit of experience with young children. My parents were also right down the street, though I never needed their help. This was in WA where it's legal; I would have your son check the laws where you are.

You could always encourage him to start as a mother's helper while the mother is home and gradually become a babysitter as he gains the parents' trust

love and peace.
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