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Old 02-16-2008, 05:21 PM
 
Location: FL
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I remember back in the olden days that I started babysitting at 12 years old- and that was with twins! Then again, if it matters, I am a girl....

My oldest son is 12 years old, going to be 13 in August. His brother is 7, to be 8 in July. They are good together- never a fist fight, actually better brothers then I see around! Of course they bicker- the one tries to be dad and the other tries to be like his big brother, but that's norm. My oldest is mature- I wouldn't worry about the house being burnt down- he follows the rules and wouldn't break any rules.

I have been contemplating perhaps using him as a babysitter- either for my hubby and I to go out food shopping, or perhaps at night to go out for a couple of hours. Just contemplating.

My husband isn't for it. He thinks it would be a disaster.

What do you think?
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Old 02-16-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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Well.. times have changed.

I was born in 1972, when I was 8 - my 12 year old brother and I would be left home alone for short periods of time - while my parents went to dinner, or something similar. Never more than 1 or 2 hours.

We didn't die. We didn't burn the house down. We did take all the cushions from all the furniture and build forts.

its weird to me, but now it seems that people don't want to leave anyone younger than 18 in charge!!

Good luck to you and your boys, whatever you decide!!
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Honestly, only you can make this decision. I was babysitting when I was 11, but my brother couldn't really be trusted (and he's 3 years old!). He probably would need to be 16 before being in control of a child! If you feel that he is mature enough, then trust your instincts. Just start with something small, like running to the grocery store, and of course, always have all emergency numbers on the fridge, go over the whole "don't answer the door," etc..... Once your hubby sees that that's ok, maybe you'll be able to have dinner out :-)
Another thing, consider paying your son just a bit of money (or give him a special privledge) to take care of his bro to make him enjoy it and really take responsibility for being in charge
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Old 02-16-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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I agree with Jessiegirl98. My mom used to run to the grocery store when I was little and left my older brother in charge of the house when he was around 12 years old. I must've been about 6 years old and my sister was 10. All we did was sing to music, watch tv, and play tag. Paying him something may make him realize it's an important job and he may take it more seriously. Certain rules like no friends over, no answering the door, and leaving a list of phone numbers on the fridge would be a good starting point for rules.
Also, letting one of your trusted neighbors know what you're doing should your son run into any problems is a good idea. My neighbor did this for her son the first few times when he was 12. She called me up and asked me if I could be the 'go to' person if anything should happen and he needed help. Nothing happened and all was well.
Good luck! This is an important developmental step for you AND your son. Congratulations!
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Old 02-16-2008, 08:55 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
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Try it for short periods and then talk with your hubby about longer periods. I was the oldest of 4 and babysat starting in 6th grade (11 years old). That torture went on until I moved out, lol.

Just set ground rules: What foods they can have (cooking can be an issue), what they can do (inside or outside play), when to get ready for bed, who to call if they need something (neighbors, etc), make a schedule of what they should do at certain times so its real easy for them. Kids can be really responsible, especially when you stress what your expectations are.
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Old 02-16-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inthesierras View Post
Try it for short periods and then talk with your hubby about longer periods. I was the oldest of 4 and babysat starting in 6th grade (11 years old). That torture went on until I moved out, lol.

Just set ground rules: What foods they can have (cooking can be an issue), what they can do (inside or outside play), when to get ready for bed, who to call if they need something (neighbors, etc), make a schedule of what they should do at certain times so its real easy for them. Kids can be really responsible, especially when you stress what your expectations are.
Great suggestions! I would especially get a trusted neighbor on the lookout.

Our neighbors started leaving their kids at home during the summer months & told us the ground rules for their kids. As much as these parents believed in how mature their 11 yr old (oldest) was, he broke every rule in the book - not out of defiance but just because, well, he's 11. I can't even tell you how many scrapes we got these kids out of - whether helping them look for the dog, telling them to get back in the house, shut the doors, don't use the oven!!!!, don't water everyone's cars with the hose, etc... There were a few things that were just plain dangerous that kids would never view as dangerous because they just don't see the risks or consequences.

I think you might prepare your son by also giving him more responsibility/tasks around the house and see if he can complete on them without too much prodding or supervision. I think for some kids, that could be a good measuring stick of whether they are responsible enough/ready to baby-sit themselves & a younger sibling.
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:13 AM
 
Location: FL
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Thank you for all of your comments.
My son does have chores that he does daily. He is the one that is to take out the dog (we live in a complex so he has to walk him to the dog walk area) 2ce a day (deals with picking up poop), he feeds the animals 2ce a day, and he does the trash. He does get paid, we just hold his money until he asks for it. He also has stayed home alone when his father and I run out with his brother for little things. I think most was 3 hours. I trust him alone.

We wouldn't even THINK of letting them outside His father is just a little worried about the brother and him together. Perhaps they'll argue more when we're gone and it'll escalate, but I say that we can't assume..we have to find out on our own.

I do agree it should be something little at first....like an hour or so. I also would plan on having new movies for them or something like that for them to do.

I just know my in-laws, the only family I have down here, would look down their nose completely on this. I don't know if they ever let my hubby (the oldest) babysit his sister, so they probably do not agree with babysitting under 18! You know what, my hubby was immature and couldn't babysit at all, so that's probably what they are basing it on.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:53 AM
 
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My 12 almost 13 year olds have been babysitting for a year now. The Red Cross offers babysitting classes for 11+ year olds. Have him take one. Around here you would never get a babysitter if you didn't use a 7th or 8th grader because once they get to high school they are way too busy/social to babysit. Most of their friends babysit as well. I don't see a problem with it at all. Our oldest babysat our twins when he was 12 as well.
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
934 posts, read 933,428 times
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Totally depends on the kid!

My daughter (9) is quite responsible. By the time shes 12 I'll have no qualms having her watch her brother (who will then be 5?)for an hour or two
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:47 PM
 
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Your 12 year old is your own son, so you would know his maturity level more than anyone else.

I personally couldn't imagine leaving a child of that age alone at night... things seem much scarier at night, and I think more bad stuff could happen. For an hour or two in the afternoon, though, if he's very mature and the kids get along well, then I wouldn't see a problem.

I babysat my brothers and also other children when I was 11 and 12 years old, and I really was not responsible enough... by the grace of God nothing bad happened, but it could have. I was also scared at night to be in charge of myself and others, but I'd never admit it to my parents or the parents hiring me...
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