Is an 11 year old too young to babysit?

  1. Hi,

    My niece just turned 11 a few weeks ago. My sister is now allowing her to watch her 5 year old brother 2x week for about an hour to an hour in a half. This is while she runs some errands. My niece (Becky) obviously knows own her phone number, her address, my number and her friends' number. She also knows about calling 911. But I doubt she would remain calm in the event of an emergency. I think she would freak out herself.

    My sister has told me that if I ever needed a babysitter (for a short period of time) then my niece could do it for me. I also have a 5 year old son. The only problem is that I don't feel 100% comfortable leaving her alone with him (calm me over protective, I don't care). I personally think that an 11 year old is still a child themselves. I would only leave her in his care if I had to walk to the mailbox or take the dogs out. That is minutes, not for a continuous hour or more.

    What do you think? Would you allow an 11 year old to babysit your children or child? How old is the best age for a babysitter to be? We do have babysitters that watch him. But they are at least 15 years old or more.

    Thanks!
    Jules
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  2. 59 Comments

  3. by   JUSTYSMOM
    Quote from JUSTYSMOM
    Hi,

    My niece just turned 11 a few weeks ago. My sister is now allowing her to watch her 5 year old brother 2x week for about an hour to an hour in a half. This is while she runs some errands. My niece (Becky) obviously knows own her phone number, her address, my number and her friends' number. She also knows about calling 911. But I doubt she would remain calm in the event of an emergency. I think she would freak out herself.

    My sister has told me that if I ever needed a babysitter (for a short period of time) then my niece could do it for me. I also have a 5 year old son. The only problem is that I don't feel 100% comfortable leaving her alone with him (calm me over protective, I don't care). I personally think that an 11 year old is still a child themselves. I would only leave her in his care if I had to walk to the mailbox or take the dogs out. That is minutes, not for a continuous hour or more.

    What do you think? Would you allow an 11 year old to babysit your children or child? How old is the best age for a babysitter to be? We do have babysitters that watch him. But they are at least 15 years old or more.

    Thanks!
    Jules


    Oops, I just re-checked my thread. I made some stupid grammatical errors! Sorry! :imbar
  4. by   RNBSN1
    Would you allow an 11 year old to babysit your children or child? No


    How old is the best age for a babysitter to be? 20, for my children
  5. by   jemb
    I think 11 is too young to be taking care of another family's child in someone else's home.
  6. by   purplemania
    NO!!! In fact, in some states it is illegal. I might let an 11 y/o watch the child while I am in another part of the house, but NEVER without adult supervision. They just don't have the ability to handle emergency situations.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Hmm, it sounds as if you answered your own question. Yes, each kid matures individually and differently. 11 IS young for many. IF this girl could not handle an emergency, remaining calm and collected enough to summon help and maintain safety, then she has NO business watching children at all. Also, if she does not have CPR training or baby sitting classes, she should NOT be watching a younger child.

    Only In my opinion, I realize, most kids of 11 are TOO YOUNG to assume responsiblity for younger children independently. Some can barely care for themselves. Some can do this, but they are a rare few who I consider mature and capable enough to safely handle it. I guess I am just an overly-cautious mom. I just NOW allow my 12 year old son to watch my daughter (5) for 30 minutes or so while I run errands within 10 minutes of home. And, it was not legal before this, that I know of.

    But he knows CPR, we have neighbors all around to whom he can turn day and night for help, and he IS calm and cool enough to know what to do in emergencies. We have drillled the fire, water pipe blow-out, earthquake emergencies already. But that is only 30 MINUTES, not hours, I leave them alone!!!! And never at night, only in daylight hours.

    In your niece's case, I think too much responsiblity is being placed on her too soon, based on what you say here.
  8. by   hypnotic_nurse
    It depends on the 11 year old. My daughter took baby sitting classes at age 11 (basic CPR and the whole bit) and not only watched her 7 year old brother after school but that summer she also watched a neighbor's 1-year-old for 3-4 hours each evening while the mom worked (mom also knew that I was 2 doors away and could show up right away if needed). By the end of the summer she was very accomplished at taking care of little ones and later worked in a day care center from the time she was 16 through 18.

    That said, some 11 year olds are NOT responsible or are not suited to this type of work.

    My daughter showed an interest in babysitting at an early age and loved taking care of and playing with smaller children. She also went to the trouble to learn how to do it safely and responsibly.
  9. by   RNIAM
    I absolutely would let an 11 year old babysit. I started babysitting when I was 10 myself. I think it is more based upon maturity of the child. Could she remember to take the child out of the house if it were in fire? Can she call 911 if there was an emergency. Keeping calm in a emergency is difficult for most adults in that situation let alone a child. I guess for me being calm is insignificant in comparison to being able to do the right thing at the right time. My daughter began babysitting her younger sisiter when she was 11. She did have to complete the babysitter trainning course first. She is a great sitter and everyone wants her. She is now 14 and have been sucessfully babystting for 3 years.
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Funny how differently people see an issue like this.....I would never let an 11 year old kid outside my family watch any of my kids....never did. Even most teens are unrealiable that I see......
  11. by   KaroSnowQueen
    Depends on the individual kid. My oldest DD was very mature at 11, IF I had a 5 yr old at that time, I wouldn't have hesitated to let her watch it for 45 min or so (an hour and a half might be too much at that age.) AND I would not have volunteered her to babysit anyone else's kid, family or not.
    On the other hand, my youngest DD is 20 now and I don't know that I would let her watch a 5 yr old yet!!!!! :chuckle
  12. by   mercyteapot
    I started babysitting when I was 12, and the parents of the kids I babysat for loved to use me, because I was supposedly "mature" and also, I'm sure, because I was cheap. I'm here to tell you that it was far too young to have started. When my son was 7, we used a neighbor who was 14, but this kid's Mom was at home when he babysat and she's a nurse, plus there were other neighbors he could call upon if there had been an emergency. He worked out just fine for when it was a couple hours or less. For longer periods of time, I don't think I'd go below 16, and for younger kids, I would only use an adult.
  13. by   rjflyn
    Considering some parents have been charged with neglect and child abandonment for leaving there 11 year old child home with younger siblings I would have to say yes it is too young to babysit. A couple hospitals I have worked at have had babysitter training classes and the minimum age for these have been 13, but it depends on the 13 y/o.


    Rj
  14. by   smk1
    in general i think 11 is too young but if it is the kids siblings and its only once in awhile for a short time (and she or he is mature and has demonstrated a sense of responsibility) then i suppose it could be ok. However I think this shouldn't be the norm and certainly I don't think that an 11 yr old is the best person to watch other kids outside the family. This is just my opinion though. I think 14 or 15 is a better age but thats just me.

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