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So what age is old enough to babysit in your opinion? (LOL Spin off so we don't take over a thread)

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In Ohio, there is no age limit. It is a gray area that states that a reasonable adult would assume it is okay to leave the child. AKA It's reasonable to leave an 8yo alone while you go grocery shopping but not reasonable to leave them home alone at midnight.

My oldest, 12, watches the younger kids for me when needed. She is also extremely reliable and mature armed with a cell phone and 2 very large dogs. We don't leave her at night except to walk around the block after dinner. If Rob and I go out and will be gone longer than 2 hours or if we'll be gone late, we call my mom to come over.

She has watched herself and the younger three since she was 10 (IF the baby was napping) while I ran down the street to the store for milk but never more than 20 minutes at a time.

What do you think?

by on Nov. 1, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Replies (11-20):
by on Nov. 1, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Isn't that awesome?  I love it when things just go that way.  My oldest would love to have more responsibility, but when it comes to actually being responsible, that's just too much work.  I know everyone moves at their own pace, but it will make me sad to see his siblings surpass him on the responsibility path in a way that's obvious to him.

Quoting mem82:

THIS! My 8yo has never been left on his own but he feels like a 'man' now that he is in charge of babysitting himself. LOL

Quoting hwblyf:

And see, if I had a 12yo and a 2yo, there's a definite hierarchy.  Mine's a blurring of the lines.  My mom LOVES to complain about how when she was a kid (seriously, 60 year ago, sigh) she had to watch her younger 2.  COMPLAINS!!!!  So I don't want to set up that kind of relationship with my kids, especially since they are closer in age.  Now, if I had just one kid, I'm thinking 8 would be a bit young to be left alone, but to be on his own in the company of my other kids, totally.  If I said that right.  :)  You should see how excited my youngest (5 today!) gets when he's "in charge."  He doesn't know that it's a teeny tiny bit of responsibility, he just knows he's trusted.  One day I want to leave for a longer period of time.  :)

by on Nov. 1, 2013 at 1:05 PM

 I think it has so much more to do with the maturity of the child then the child's actual age!

my oldest has Autism & was not mature enough to stay home alone until he was 15. I didn't start having him watch his younger siblings until he was 18 & they where 8 & 6. Even then I still did not do it all the time or for more then a few hours at a time.

by on Nov. 1, 2013 at 1:06 PM

My kids are 6, 7, and 10. I've only left them alone for a very few minutes, a couple of times. However, my husband works in the backyard, so even though they were alone in the house (and these were times I needed to drive two blocks away to take dinner to a friend, or I had a doctor appointment and had to leave at 1:00, and my husband was coming in to stay with them at 1:10), they weren't 100% "alone." He's working and unavailable but if there were an emergency, he's just ten steps away.

I am working on it. I would like to be able to leave my oldest in charge more often. For now, she still gets in a fight with one or the other of the younger two at least once a week, so until that is more settled, I wouldn't feel comfortable with it. She is a smart girl, and I don't think she'd try to cook the dog in the microwave or anything, but I would just worry she'd get really angry with them. 

I guess 12 or 13, I would feel more okay about it. Also by then the other two will be 8-10 years old and more capable of doing things on their own, too. I still wouldn't leave them after dark or for very long. 

When we hire sitters, we try very hard to only hire girls 16+ years old. Even if they don't have their own car, I like having someone who CAN drive if need be, and just a little older/more responsible. We've used a 14 year old a couple of times, but always during the day, and things my kids tell me afterwards make me question that decision!

by on Nov. 1, 2013 at 1:11 PM
I will leave my oldest 2 ,9 and 11 at home alone for about an hour tops. I sometimes (depends on how they behave that day) will leave one of the boys 5 and 7 with the oldest if its something quick like 1/2 mile to store to grab milk or picking one of the other kids up.
by Silver Member on Nov. 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

I think it depends on the childs maturity more than age (also your state laws.)  I only have one though so he will only be babysitting himself if I ever leave him alone.  I started babysitting my younger brothers and kids of my parents friends when I was 10.

by Gold Member on Nov. 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

My friend has to do this with her almost 8 yo.  He has to think that he is in charge...or he makes his sisters miserable.

Quoting hwblyf:

Here's my take, which is probably unique.  My kids are an average of 1.5 years apart.  I don't leave them for lengthy times, cuz that's just inviting trouble.  Bill and I have gone out on morning walks when no one, or maybe just one, is awake.  They know where we are and we won't be long.  Whoever is awake, is "in charge."  We define this as making sure no one leaves the front door and no one hops the fence in the back (we back to common space and have a low fence that they climb over when we're home so they have more playing space).  To me, they should not be expected to listen to a sibling.  A sibling can remind them of the rules, but there are fewer than 6 years between all my kids, and I can't fathom telling my kids that they're responsible for the others or that the others have to bow down to the commands of another.  That tells you about the maturity of my kids.  :)  BUT, if I were to hire a babysitter, I would expect that there would be interactions, they'd color, read, have fun.  With my own children, it's more an expectation that they all police each other so no one leaves the house and no one does anything dangerous.

I was babysitting when I was 11.

by Jinx on Nov. 1, 2013 at 3:51 PM

I agree it depends on the maturity of the child more than the age. I was babysitting and making good money at about 13yo.

Wih my kids, who are 15, 13, and 10 yo, I rarely have one "babysit" IMO they are all old enough to keep track of themselves and follow the rules. Sometimes I have the 15yo "in charge" when the 10 yo is home but most of the time I take her with me and just leave the two boys home.

Jinx - Homeschooling, Scouting & Karate butt-kicking  Mom to Star Scout Ian 1/98, Scout Sean 9/00, Junior GS Heidi 4/03. Wife to Joe & Alpha to German Shepherd Spazz.

by Silver Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 10:10 AM
My kids are close together and I've been leaving them for grocery runs since they were about 8 and 9. Yes, they are pretty mature for their age, I've known some kids I wouldn't leave at 13. Now that they are 11 and 12, I'm comfortable leaving them for date night for several hours.
by on Nov. 2, 2013 at 10:18 AM

i can not answer this. its too dependent on the circumstances, the time of day/night, the area you live in, the age of the children, the maturity of all the children (both the older and younger ones)...

hell, id get nervous to leave my kids in some adults supervision.

by Sonja on Nov. 2, 2013 at 10:19 AM
I shall have to think about this one and get back to you.
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