Is it ok to have a 12 year old babysit his younger siblings?

Julie - posted on 03/26/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

2

7

0

I have 4 kids ages 12, 9, 7, and 4. I'm a single parent and sometimes have to work a few hours in the evening. If I'm only gone for a few hours I will have my 12 year old son watch the kids with help from my 9 year old daughter. It is going pretty well. They have phones and I always have my phone and am usually only about 15 minutes from home. My question is, is it fair to my 12 year old to have to watch his siblings? I am the second oldest of five and watched my siblings a lot when I was growing up and I didn't have a problem with it at all. He doesn't have a problem with it either, but as a parent I feel like it's not fair to him. I'm not sure why I feel that way since it doesn't bother him and it didn't bother me when I used to watch my siblings. I'm just wondering what other moms think. Thanks.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Micah - posted on 03/30/2010

11

14

1

I have a 12 year old that babysits her younger siblings she doesn't seem to mind i,but I make sure she has her time on her own also.

Geri - posted on 04/06/2010

22

84

3

Well..lol..i am going to be absolutely honest....I agree that you really need to find out about state laws..regarding this because they are there...usually...I never let anyone watch my kids unless they know cpr..first aide the basics...and my oldest is 14 yrs old and I would never ask him to watch his two younger siblings...but only because I was mistreated by my older sibling when we were growing up....of course she has apologized over and over now that we are grown...but she has to live with that guilt ...so if your son is ok with it..and the laws permit it..and your not taking advantage..and only doing it a few hours here and a few hours there...Its ok in my book. Good luck and God Bless!

Taija - posted on 07/20/2012

1

0

0

I have 4 children as well and am a single mother. I have recently started doing the same one day a week. I have sat my children down and explained what is expected and that my 12 year old is in charge. I actually pay him twice a month to reward him and thank him for this. He is very responsible so I do trust him. I call home every chance I get and he has 3 different numbers to reach me. Knowing that there are other people out there that do this helps to ease some of the guilt I had.

Lori - posted on 03/26/2010

177

47

14

The law in Texas is 13 yrs old to be left home unattended depending upon maturity level. However, the law can vary if you have a twelve year old who will know what to do with not only on how to get himself and his younger siblings out of the house in the event of the emergency. Also on subject matter such as keeping doors locked, not answering the phone unless it's a parent, not answering the door unless it's a parent etc. I feel like it's risky and an extremely difficult decision to make, however, I also understand what it's like to be a single parent. I'd say that if having a trusted friend, family member or even neighbor keep an eye on the children while you are away from the home simply is not an option to at least make sure that the 12 year old without doubt knows the basic safety. Tiffany mentioned below about state laws, and I have to absolutely agree with her. You really should find out what your state laws are pertaining to the subject matter. This is going to sound absolutely nuts but please continue to read. You can contact children's services. You would basiclly follow the same steps that you would to file a report to get a live person on the phone. Let the person at the other end know that you are making an inquiry only regarding the situation. YOU DO NOT have to give them your name, address, phone number, etc. They are a wonderful source to find out what exactly these laws are and providing outside sources for parents. This way if you would be in violation of your state's laws at least you will have resources on where to go to for no to low cost child care. Depending upon your state this information may be listed on their website as well.I wish you the best. Good Luck!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

23 Comments

View replies by

Anna Blakely Rose - posted on 07/01/2014

43

0

3

Yes, I think it would be perfectly fine. When I was twelve, I babysat my younger sister Andrya (then 4) and everything was fine. Now I'm 16, and I still sometimes have to babysit and I really don't mind it. I get money (my parents pay me) and I spend time with my sisters (ily Andrya, Bailee, and Kimlie ♥)

~Anna Blakely Rose

Alexis - posted on 06/30/2014

3

0

1

Hi my name is Alexis im in a wheelchair and i want to know where i can find a babysitting job and i live in Louisiana and i am 12 almost 13

Chet - posted on 06/08/2014

1,890

0

586

@Tim Mayer In Ontario there isn't a specific age when children can be left alone, or be left to supervise younger siblings. The idea is that each situation needs to be considered on a case by case basis. If there were very specific laws people could potentially arrange unsuitable care that was technically legal. Instead, the law says simply that children under 16 must have reasonable supervision for the situation.

There is also something under the Criminal Code of Canada about child abandonment. I think that to prove child abandonment you need to demonstrate that a child's health or safety was clearly at risk. Again, there is nothing specific about ages, durations, distances, etc. It's the danger or unsuitable care aspect that needs to shown.

Legally, a 10 year old could be left to care for a 2 year depending on the situation.

Tiffany - posted on 06/08/2014

2

0

0

Texas doesnt not have a law on how young. Look it up. As long as they are mature enough.

Tim - posted on 03/11/2014

1

0

0

I HAVE BBEN TRYING TO FINE THE LAWS IN ONTARIO CANADA BUT CANT SEEM TO FIND ANYTHING I HAVE A TEN YEAR OLD AND A TWO YEAR OLD AND I AM NOT HAPPY THAT MY WIFE LEAVES THEM ALONE

Katie - posted on 10/28/2013

5

0

2

It depends if you trust your child enough and think he/her is mature to look after the other children.

Phee - posted on 11/03/2012

1

0

0

All of this advice was well taken in by me. I have a 12 year old daughter who is mature and does baby sit my my nine year old when I need her to. It isn't to often, but when I let her I'm running late for work she already knows what to do.

Becky - posted on 04/23/2010

34

19

0

I had the same situation when my now 20 yr old was younger i worked nights and couldnt afford childcare so my daughter watched the younger one she said it was ok but then she started to resent it > she ended up having a baby at 16 because i wasnt there to keep an eye on things so she had a boy coming over at night and they knew i could not be there it ok for a short time but thats all

Angela - posted on 04/06/2010

8

10

0

My 14 year old has watched his siblings before periodically. I always has him first, don't leave him for long periods of time and I see it as a first step in responsibility lessons.

Denise - posted on 04/06/2010

37

45

0

i am the oldest of 4 and understand wholeheartedly how u feel about growing up and having to watch the younger siblings i didn't mind so much until i got older and realized how it infringed on my being a teenage but i can't really put the blame on my mom as she was a sickly women by the time i was 14 yrs old but i do know that from this experience i did learn how to be a better parent then my parents and yes i have done some of the somethings that they did but i have also done i lot of different things i also have 4 children ages 24, 21, 19 and 12. So as you can see my oldest was 12 yrs of age when my youngest child was born so there was times i had to leave him at home for short periods with his younger siblings and to this day he doesn't mind watching his baby sister or any of his little cousins and i bet if his sister asked him to babysit his niece he would with no problem just remember that the experience alone will be enough in the long run as it will make him or her a better parent later because they will already know how to handle situation that they would never have known how to do without the experience you are giving them once in a while and don't be so hard on yourself

Jamie - posted on 03/29/2010

11

20

0

I think it really depends on the kid babysitting and the child they are looking after. I babysat my sister when i was 12 for long periods of time, but i was mature and she was a non fussing baby

Loretta - posted on 03/28/2010

3

20

0

Ok, I have a 12 year old who watches her siblings....It is not for long hours maybe an hour or two. I had her take babysitting classes at our local YMCA and also an officer comes to schools to talk about taking responsibilities and how to make their own money like babysitting....If your child is mature and level headed and not 'dingy' you should be fine. My daughter has access to her grandmother ( lives 5 minutes away) and neighbors if something is needed. She has land and cell based phones available. She earns some money too.

Glenda - posted on 03/28/2010

44

19

4

I would say yes if he is a mature 12, some are not. I would agree with Sarah, that if he has plans with friends, you shouldnt use him to babysit, but I know that probably will be later on, you sound like a great mom to consider his feelings, I understand how it is to have to work, so good luck and , you know what best for your family. glenda

Christie - posted on 03/27/2010

42

4

1

I would say normally yes, absolutely! My sisters and I started babysitting when we were 10, but that was quite a few years ago. There are so many variables though. How responsible is he, how hard to manage are the younger kids, what is the length of time, and how accessible are you if he needs help, so you have other support he can call on.

I tried not to overload my kids (I have 7) with babysitting, but I let them know that we are all in this together, and we are part of a team. If you need help while you are working, going to school, or other activities, remind the kids that these things help to support the family and keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. If you are running errands, maybe sometimes you can take one child with you for some one on one time with them. Or like for grocery shopping, i would sometimes let the babysitter make one special request to add to the shopping list as a thank you for helping me. It is not bad to expect kids to be part of the family team, and my studies in Family life (BS 2009) indicate that it is good for children's self esteem and development.

Julie - posted on 03/27/2010

2

7

0

Thanks everyone. I don't think there are laws about it in my state, but I'll check into it. They all know the rules and what to do when I'm not home. When he gets older and doesn't want to do it anymore, my daughter will be old enough, at least I'm hoping it works that way.

Tiffany - posted on 03/26/2010

8

17

0

In most states there are no laws regarding it. It all depends on how responsible the 12yr old is, but I would start out with a trial period to see how well your 12yr old can handle it and provide a little reward for doing a good job. As long as the older child knows the ground rules and what is expected it shouldn't be a problem. I would however sit all the children down and explain that when you are out the older child is in charge so that thee is no confusion and the younger child(ren) learn to respect the other child.

Sarah - posted on 03/26/2010

339

31

45

I think at that age, it would be ok. Like as long as he is ok with it, but when he gets older and wants to do his own things, i think it wouldnt be fair. I just remember i had to watch my sister every fri night, for my mom. I was really upset about it and still feel sore about it today, lol. so i will not be doing that to my daughter. she is 11 and my son is 6 months, she is looking forward to the day she can babysit now, but when she is a teenager, like 16 or so, i know she will not be as excited, lol. But for your question, i think its fine, especially with a nine yr old there to help, it should be fine. its not like its over night, or all day. But just remember as he gets older to keep asking how he feels about it.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms