I would also let my 11 yr old babysit inside our house if the parents wanted to drop their children off here but only if I'm at home as well.
My oldest is 13 and he has stayed with his siblings alone for no more than 30 minutes in the past when I drove up the road to the post office. I worried the whole time and even called twice during that 30 min time frame to check on them.
Single (divorced), self-employed working, college student MOM to:
17 yr old
11 yr old
4 yr old
My daughter is 13 and she just started watching her 8 and 5 year old siblings for 30minutes at a time this year. I don't allow her to do any cooking other than making sandwiches or getting out an approved snack. This summer we have a standing arrangement that she watches her sisters for 20-30 minutes per morning while I run two kids I watch to camp(since everyone won't fit in my car) and I pay her $10 per week. It's worked out really well aside from the beginning when she put them in front of the tv the entire time and I had to set rules on that. I would probably let her babysit a preschool age child or older now for up to maybe 2-3 hours at a stretch since she has a phone and she LOVES the little ones. I feel like she'd be responsible enough for that as long as I was available in case of emergency. I would NOT let her do any cooking(microwave included) other than cold food prep though.
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That simply is not true, because when I called child services after my ex decided to leave our then 9 year old and 7 year old at home alone for an hour or so, they told me that there is no legal age for that subject and they could not do anything about it!
Welcome to the forum. :)
Your son sounds terrific, though I don't know the babysitting/age legalities of where you live. Once you know and he can legally do this and you have every confidence in him, then go ahead but always remain in telephone contact with him should any need arise.
The first part of this thread is very old: those kids are well into their late teens by now. But it seems like it's still an important topic, and it's one that I've recently been dealing with.
My newly-11-year-old has begun babysitting in the past month. Where I live there's no law. The branch of the government that oversees child welfare recommends 12 as a general guideline, but it's a recommendation only. My older three kids were more like 13 or 14 when they started babysitting, but my youngest is a different kid in terms of her motivation, her temperament, her maturity and her training. She completed and excelled at a three-day babysitting safety and skills course sanctioned by our local community college, is incredibly confident and responsible, and simply loves being the responsible person charged with looking after young kids. She has logged lots of hours over the past year in a mother's helper capacity, to the point where one of the mothers just didn't see the point of being home any more since my dd was comfortably handling everything. So now she uses the time to go for a run, or pick up groceries, or attend a meeting. She typically leaves for 2-3 hours, which is all she needs, and it works beautifully. There aren't very many kids I think could babysit at 11, but there are some and I think my youngest dd is a prime example.
I do think that staying home and being responsible for a younger sibling or two can be appropriate for more kids at younger ages than traditional paid out-of-home babysitting. It's much easier and safer being in a very familiar environment, with children you know very well, with disciplinary expectations that are well-understood and shared -- provided the inter-sibling relationships are strong and positive. I left my older kids, the ones who did not start babysitting until 13 or 14, home with a younger sibling or two from about age 11 onwards. They did really well. I never treated it as "you're in a position of authority over your younger siblings, so they need to do what you way" but as "all of you need to take responsibility for making this work, though of course ___ since you are older, I expect more responsibility from you and if there's any conflict resolution to be done, you'll be the one to take leadership in that." My kids loved being trusted with that responsibility, took it very seriously and co-operated really well. We started out gradually and worked up to longer stints.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up