Families with 4+ children - what is your babysitting arrangement? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have 4 children.  Ages are 8, 5 and 2-1/2 year old twins.  We do not have a regular babysitter.  Grandma has watched all 4 kids once this past September.  Before the twins were born we had family watch the older two dc's a handful of times.  We are starting to feel like we might be getting to a point where it would be nice to have a "regular" babysitter (like once/month).  We do not have family nearby.  

 

A good friend has highly recommended the child of an old neighbour of hers (who just moved down the road from us).  She is the oldest of 4 children (she is 15 or 16).  I just can't imagine one teenager taking care of all 4 dc's.  It would only be for a couple of hours but might include bedtime which can be tricky.  Her younger sister is 13.  I was wondering if the two of them would be able to tag team our dc's.  Obviously, we would get to know the girls and feel comfortable with the arrangement but I've always wondered what other "large" families do when it comes to babysitting.  

 


Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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Old 12-29-2010, 08:21 AM
 
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Well I only have one. But, there is a family of four kids who live next door. The oldest two always tag teamed as baby sitters in the neighborhood and were really fun and good at it.

 

They started at 14 and 12.

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Old 12-29-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I would leave my four oldest (7 1/2, almost 6, 4 and 2) with a trusted teenager. I actually have a friend with a 15yo who I would definitely have as a sitter if I needed one for something, she's the oldest of 5 and very kind and responsible. My kids are generally pretty quiet and independent though. I couldn't leave any of them (maybe the oldest two) for bedtime though, so I don't know about that, I've only had a sitter once and I just had the kids take a nap and asked her to have them do something quiet around bed time (they watched a movie) and I came home and put them to bed a couple of hours late.

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Old 12-29-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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We have 6 (ages 6 and under) and our local YMCA is a lifesaver. We pay $40/month for membership for the whole family and that includes use of the gym and all of the family activities. But even if we don't work out the entire month (which happens frequently) it's still totally worth it for the free babysitting.

 

They do one Friday night every month for free and two Tuesday afternoons a month. With 6 kids I'm paying way less for membership to the Y than I would be to hire a babysitter for those times. 


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Old 12-30-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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We have 4 - 10, 8, 6 & 3.  There are a handful of babysitters we use some are older teens (16+) and some are late 20's.  All the kids are pretty mellow and it has never been an issue to stay with a sitter.  Even at bedtime the older 2 put themselves to be, the youngest has always gone to bed easy, and my 6 year old sometimes needs a little extra help, but usually my oldest will read him to sleep for the babysitter.  We are flexible though, so if someone is having trouble falling asleep we have no problem with the sitter letting them lay on the couch and watch TV quietly until we come home.  But it really isn't and issue usually.


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Old 12-30-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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I was a teen who sat for a family of 4 (then 6, after the twins were born) children. Sometimes my little sister came along, but she was the age of the children; she didn't come as a helper!

 

On New Year's Eve and other majorly long evenings (or entire days) the family would hire 2 sitters. Usually me and a friend of mine, but sometimes a pair of other teens.


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Old 12-31-2010, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.  I am thinking that one might be able to handle them.  I know they always behave better for others eyesroll.gif.  Sometimes the twins can be a handful though.  It's interesting to see what others do.


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Old 01-01-2011, 09:12 PM
 
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I regularly babysat for 3 families-of-four as a teenager.  I don't recall how old I was when I started, but I definitely wasn't driving, so <16.  One family had kids 0, 2, 4 and 6 when I started watching their kids for a couple hours as a 13-14 year old, later I watched them for longer stretches.  Another family had kids 4, 6, 8 and 10, and I regularly watched them so their parents could go out at night--I would handle dinner (they usually left money for me to order pizza, or something equally easy like mac + cheese), put the 4 kids to bed, clean up after our dinner and then hang out until they got home.  The third family was my oldest brother's (he's 15 years older than I) and I watched them all the time.  When I was 17, they went away for a long weekend and left my best friend and I to care for their 6-month-old, 4, 7 and 10-year-old from a Wednesday night thru Sunday afternoon--which seems totally NUTS to me now, as a parent, but they were really comfortable with both of us and I guess it felt all right to them--and, indeed, everything was perfectly fine.

 

I would definitely leave my 3 kids with the right teenaged babysitter now, although I'm fortunate to have family in the area, so hiring a sitter hasn't been necessary for us.

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Old 01-09-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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My kids are getting close to not needing a sitter anymore. When they were smaller (toddlers/preschoolers), we had a girl from across the street babysit. She was only 12 when she started, but she was the oldest of 4 and her mom was right across the street just in case. We never had any problems with this arrangement. My kids weren't super hard to put to bed, and we were also okay with relaxing regular routines when we were gone.

Our current babysitter was 14 when she started, is now 16 and we only use her when we are out for many hours or if both DH and I will be further away from home.

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Old 01-09-2011, 09:38 PM
 
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When I was younger I baby sat for big families by myself.  I think it started when I was 13 or 14.


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Old 01-10-2011, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.  I talked to the mother of the girls last night and she was great.  The 16 year old doesn't babysit anymore but the younger two are 12 and 13 years old.  The 13 year old is babysitting and her younger sister loves to help her out.  She says they both love kids and help to care for their 7 nieces and nephews when they visit.  We are going to get them to come over sometime soon to meet the kids and just do a few visits like that so that the kids all feel comfortable and we can get to know them.  


Karen - spouse to dh for 11 years, mama to ds (Nov '02), dd (May '05) and ds and dd (Jun '08)

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