Would You Hire an 11-Year-Old Babysitter?

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I bet a lot of you moms out there grew up babysitting, and started at an age that today would be considered frighteningly young. I had my first paid job when I was 9—and it was the real deal, feeding a 5-year-old dinner, putting her to bed, and hanging out for hours afterward. I had three younger sisters and was a generally responsible kid, but still—THE DAY I would ever hire a 9-year-old to watch my 5-year-old daughter! It’s laughable to me now.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently came out with research on how well 11- to 13-year-old babysitters are able to handle emergencies. Virtually all of them—98%—know who to contact in the event of an intruder (anyone else scared for the kids in the care of the 2% who don’t?). Slightly fewer—96%—know who to call when a child is injured. Only 85% knew who to get in touch with when a child is poisoned.

The more worrisome stats were these: 40% of these sitters admitted to having left kids unattended, and 20% opened the door to strangers.

So all of this begs the question above: Would you hire an 11- to 13-year-old to babysit your child? Take our poll, and let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

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  1. by michelle b

    On November 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

    This depends on the children, all of them
    Some 11yo are totally ready for the
    Responsibility. Some 13yo still shouldn’t
    Even be left alone themselves. Also how
    Well behaved are your children the real
    Wild ones require adult supervision end
    Of story.

  2. by Kara Corridan

    On November 30, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Michelle, I think you’ve got a point about the maturity factor weighing in. Our poll results so far are heavily against hiring 11-year-old babysitters: 11% would, 89% wouldn’t.

  3. by mary

    On March 5, 2011 at 11:50 am

    LONG BUT PLEASE READ CAUTIONARY TRUE STORIES:

    My husband and I don’t trust most adults let alone an 11 year old. We allow my parents, an Aunt of his, and a mutual friend of ourS to babysit and that is it….if none of them are available we don’t go out, and we are fine with that, we would not have had a kid if we weren’t. I feel like my daughter’s safety is more important than a night out. It only takes once. We learned our lesson the one and only time we had no other choice but to leave our daughter with a 16 year old cousin’s trusted friend (everything turned out fine)CAUTIONARY TALE: My FIL passed away this passed spring and my parents wanted to pay their respects, we agreed to allow my husband’s 16 year old cousin’s very trusted friend babysit for 2 hours, then my parents-whom the babysitter did not know–would pick her up so we could be comfortable the rest of the night.(My DD and my father have a safe word) Within those two hours back at my house (not the house she was being babysat in) it is to be believed my estranged MIL who was not allowed at the wake broke into my house and stole my husband’s service weapon (only thing taken- safe pried open-my husband is a police officer) — had my MIL thought of it or wanted to she could have gone to the house and said i am here to pick up my granddaughter, i am her grandmother. the girl would not have known better and handed her over — and then what… OR if she had been watching her at our house —then what— i don’t think i need to go into the possibilities. mind you, we have very normal happy lives and families (other than her) and live in one of the safest happiest communities. but it still happened to us. 11 year old’s do not know how to handle something like that…and i will never take that chance again!!!

    Also,

    about 2 months later a cousin of my husband’s in another state went out with her husband for their anniversary…seriously they were the perfect family, perfect life, and she was a GREAT mom. – truly one of a kind–he was the happiest kid. The parents hired a very trusted friend of the family (13 years old– very seasoned babysitter). the babysitter went out back for a swim with him, came in ate dinner with the son, put him to bed and went to watch tv. she fell asleep. It was 8pm when the security camera’s caught the son fall into the pool outside. When asked about it later she said she did not think she needed to close the gate to the pool because she knew she would be with him the whole time and she locked the door inside — which the 18 month old had just learned to unlock. The parents had stressed the importance of the gate before they left for the night.

    PLEASE THINK BACK TO WHEN YOU WERE 11-19!!!!! YOU WERE INVINCIBLE!!! SO WERE YOUR FRIENDS!!! There are so many studies out there that show that a teenager’s brain does not work like an adult’s, the rational section just doesn’t work.

    is your child’s life really worth convenience.

  4. by Daisy

    On July 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    We have a twelve year old watch our kids from time to time and I would highly recommend her. To me her age is not an issue, its a matter of maturity and knowing the child you are hiring to babysit. We knew her family for a year before we let her babysit our kids. We were able to see her watching her siblings and to gauge her responsibility level and maturity. So, I don’t think people should write off kids at this age right off. Get to know the child better and ask for prior families she babysat for, talk with them and then make your choice.

  5. by Irritol Calgary

    On September 14, 2011 at 6:59 am

    The article leads to a nice discussion.It is very good issue to understand and comment.I think blog raised a good issue.

  6. by Babysitters

    On August 4, 2012 at 2:00 am

    This so awesome topic to discuss so i have got a lot of information from this post hope to see the next update soon.

  7. by Emma

    On March 31, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I am an 11 year old babysitter. Personally I think it is the age of the child. I wouldn’t take a job for a kid that was like 7, because the age difference, etc, except for my brother. However, I went through 6 hours of training to get certified in CPR, First Aid, and Babysitting so I believe I am prepared. SO, it depends on the maturity of one like myself, the age of the child, and the qualifications :)