As a general rule, I recommend that babysitters do not start working until they are 11 years old. This is the minimum age required to attend a Red Cross babysitting course. For an 11- or 12-year-old, I highly recommend signing up for a babysitting class before they start watching their siblings. If you`re tired of not having money and always relying on your parents financially, then you`re probably pretty eager to get a job as a babysitting. But how old should a babysitter be? The American Red Cross babysitting course requires students to be at least 11 years old. The maturity levels of 11-year-olds can vary widely, so this course can be a good indicator of how prepared they are for light babysitting tasks. As a busy parent, you may find yourself in situations where you have to leave your children alone at home. Since finding a babysitter isn`t always a viable option, you can leave the responsibility to your older child. However, one question most parents ask themselves is at what age a child can stay home alone with a sibling. Most people recommend the age of 12 as a good minimum age for children to consider becoming a babysitter, but the age of the babysitter also largely depends on whether or not parents like to leave their child alone to care for their children. You can`t babysit without someone taking care of someone! Your eldest is probably willing to babysit siblings if they are able to prepare meals, wash dishes, go to bed on time, and do other chores around the house.
The easiest first step in determining how safe your teen is to play the role of babysitter is to sit down and talk to them about it. Ask them if they would feel safe in different situations when there is no adult around, and you`ll have a good idea of how they might behave and how mature they would be when it comes to taking on the job of babysitter. If your child finds himself in a situation that you have not discussed with him while keeping his siblings, will he know how to cope himself? Or are they more likely to panic when they don`t know what to do? In addition to age, consider the child`s physical, mental, and emotional well-being and the laws and policies of the state in which you live when deciding whether the child can be left home alone. Consider the following factors before letting the older child babysit the younger child. The honest truth is that no matter how mature you think you are and willing to babysit, it doesn`t matter if the parents aren`t willing to hire you. The most important thing you need to do to prove that you are a capable babysitter is to gain qualifications and experience. Maybe parents are almost on the idea of hiring you as a babysitter when they were younger, but they just need a little more conviction. Before your child babysits for the first time, discuss all the common scenarios that can arise and how best to deal with each situation. As a parent, many things come naturally, but for a 12-year-old, these may be the first times they have to deal with certain situations on their own. Talk about what they might do if children misbehave, if the power goes out, and who to call in an emergency.
We`re sure you`ll be able to think of more random issues that arise in your home, so keep your senior updated on how to deal with whatever comes your way. According to Connecticut state guidelines, children must be at least 15 years old to care for younger siblings (6). However, this differs from state to state. So, if you`re wondering at what age a child can babysit, first analyze their decision-making ability and willingness to take responsibility. Then you can prepare them for this task by teaching them what to do in unexpected situations and performing experiments. You can also keep them safe by occasionally adding FaceTiming to them. Finally, after taking the necessary precautions, you can make sure that your children are safe and ready to take matters into their own hands. Do you think that is a fair assessment? Do you feel old enough to start babysitting, even when you`re only 10 or 11 years old? Be honest with yourself. If you`re not sure, ask a parent and they should be able to give you feedback on whether you`re mature enough. See also our article: How to add babysitting to your resume, a good resume that lists your experience and qualifications can help you find work.
However, things get harder when one of your other children is too young or has additional physical or mental needs. Treating a child with ADHD or autism will be much more difficult for a brand new babysitter, even if she is familiar with her siblings` condition. If your older child has special needs, such as ADHD or behavioral problems, it will take a little longer to develop the level of maturity needed to babysit younger siblings. Children of any age with ADHD are probably too impulsive, distracted, and lack the judgment to care for young children until they are a little older. You must have an excellent attention span and be able to concentrate and think ahead to safely care for one or more younger children. If you`re babysitting your eldest child for the first time, it`s best to start small and do it in increments. The American Red Cross offers childcare and childcare classes to prepare course participants with universal skills and techniques that every babysitter should have. These courses are available online for those who prefer to study as they please or in a personal classroom with access to highly qualified teachers and classroom activities. These courses include basic care for infants and children, basic first aid, child behaviour, emergency protocols, leadership and age-appropriate activities. The Red Cross also offers CPR/AED first aid and certification courses. You may have heard older friends or siblings talk about how much money they made from babysitting. When it`s time to leave your children alone for the first time, set them up for success.
It can be helpful if you can write down all the resources and rules for your child and stick them in the fridge or easily access them somewhere if they don`t know what to do. If you can find babysitting jobs a few blocks from your home, that would be ideal as you could just walk there. But depending on where you live, that may not be an option. Parents are more likely to leave their older children with a younger babysitter because they are better equipped to take care of themselves and less likely to get into trouble. I wouldn`t let an older child babysit overnight until they`re at least 16 and can drive safely. Because let`s face it, driving safely requires a lot of emotional maturity. You need to be able to follow the rules, be vigilant and avoid being impulsive. These are quite close to the skills needed to babysit. Could you say no to a child if they want to eat something or watch TV if parents say it is not allowed? This is an excellent qualification for all babysitters, but especially the youngest. There are legal age restrictions for children who are left home alone. Some are guidelines and some states may have more definitive laws than others.
Age is not the only deciding factor in determining whether the child is mature enough to care for siblings, as different children mature at different rates. Dr. Pierrette Mimi Poinsett, Certified Paediatrician and Medical Advisor for Mom Loves Best, explains: “There is no legal age that dictates the minimum age for a babysitter. A good rule of thumb for a minimum age for siblings who sit for short periods of time is between 11 and 12 years old. Younger siblings should be over two years old. On the other hand, the recommended age for an older sibling to spend the night caring for siblings under the age of two is 16. The amount of time you let a child keep for their younger sibling is also a determining factor in whether it will be something they can handle. We recommend leaving children for short intervals before gradually moving on to longer stays so that everyone feels comfortable and confident.