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How Old Should Your Babysitter Be?

 


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Many teens get into the babysitting game at a very early age. It’s not uncommon to find someone who is offering this service who is only thirteen years old. You may not want someone this young looking after your children, however. Although it is true that lots of teens are very mature at an early age, babysitting is a huge responsibility they just might not be ready for yet. Your own child may be asking for permission to babysit, in fact. There are times when it may be all right-say an hour or two during the day, but taking care of children later on in the evening should be restricted, and best left to someone who is older and has more experience.

Allowing your child to care for children for a short time during the day is fine if you are going to be within easy contact. In fact, it’s a good idea to have the child brought to your home while you are there to make sure all is well. This way, you can keep an eye on things without interfering, and your child can gain a little experience for when she becomes older. Babysitters are in great demand as more and more people return to the work force, but parents should always proceed with caution before hiring anyone. Children who are as young as thirteen often need a babysitter themselves.

One good way to see how responsible your teen is, is to leave them in charge of their siblings for a short time. You can run a short errand, and see what the circumstances are when you return home. If everything is calm, you can repeat the method, leaving for more extended periods of time. Never be out of touch, however, and it’s a good idea to have a friend or neighbor “look in” from time to time. Your teen has to learn that babysitting is not just a way to earn extra money, but in fact, is a ‘job’ with certain responsibilities. It’s serious business and should be taken as such.

Many people prefer sitters who are at least sixteen or seventeen years old, but even then, the level of maturity must be considered. It’s not enough to have reached a certain age, they must have a level head on their shoulders and be able to cope with many different situations. Do they know what to do in case of an emergency? Would they know who to call? Have they had first-aid training in school? These are all things you should consider before hiring anyone to watch your kids. Lots of parents would rather hire a college student if one is available.

Take into consideration whether or not this sitter has brothers or sisters at home, and whether they have been allowed to “sit” for them. If their parents have not had them babysit right at home, you might want to wait a while before calling them. Older teens are usually more available on the weekends, and able to stay later in the evening. This may be something you will want to consider, also. If your children are close in age to a younger sitter, there may also be the question of whether or not they will listen to him or her, or be willing to obey instructions. This can pose a big problem.

Tell your teen that you respect his or her wish to begin working as a babysitter , but as a parent, you are the only one who knows whether or not they are ready to take on this responsibility. Of course, they will insist that they are, but you have to be the final judge of this. Again, it’s a good idea for the children to be brought to your home the first few times, where you can be a casual observer, and are close by if needed. Babysitting can be a great educational experience, prepare your child for later on in life, and give him or her the good feeling of knowing they are earning their own money.

Be cautious about letting your child babysit. Ask your friends if they have any objections to your teen taking care of their children in your home to gain some experience. Explain that you will be there at all times, and they should have no problem with this idea.

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