Many parents with tweens and teens believe that once their child has reached the typical babysitting age of 12, 13 or 14 that they can then assign babysitting jobs within the home. It is very important to remember that all families and kids are unique and some children, when they reach the age of 12 or 13, are simply not ready for this type of responsibility. Just because your child reaches a specific age does not mean that they are ready for the complex responsibilities that come along with child care.
Every child moves at their own pace and parents should assess where their child is at before handing them the great responsibility of taking care of a younger sibling. It is also important to remember that many siblings argue and some even physically fight, so leaving them alone with one in charge of the other may not be the wisest decision.
Here are 3 ways that will help you decide whether your child is ready for the responsibility of babysitting and if they have reached the babysitting age, both mentally and physically.
Can Your Child Handle Common Babysitting Issues?
What if the younger sibling is afraid of the dark? Will your 12 or 13 year old be strong enough to support the younger child in getting over their fearful moment or will they also be afraid? If they can be strong and brave for their younger sibling and if they know some tips on how to support their baby sister or brother with this fear, they may be at the right babysitting age. Can your older child handle the cries of a baby? Do they know what to do if the baby is crying? (I.e. feed, change diaper, cuddle or burp) If they have some of these tricks up their sleeve, they may be more prepared to babysit than you think.
Is Your Child Aware Of What To Do In Crisis?
Does your child know what to do in the event of an emergency? Do they know who to call, where to look for emergency phone numbers and what to do in general? If your child hasn’t taken a babysitting course, you might want to get them started with that before they start babysitting your younger children.
Does Your Child Act Responsibility?
If your older child deals with responsibility well, you may have a soon-to-be babysitter on your hands. Do they do their chores and homework before going to play or going out with friends? Do they take care of their allowance money? Do they clean up messes they create or do they help you around the house for no reason? These are signs of a responsible tween or teen.
There is no specific babysitting age. Just because they have been watching over their baby sister or brother since they were young, does not mean they are ready for babysitting. You as a parent must decide whether your child is ready for the massive responsibility of taking care of a baby.