You may be a little surprised when your tween first mentions that she wants to be a babysitter. You may even be a little skeptical if your child, who needed a babysitter herself just a few years ago, expresses interest in caring for other children. But don’t say no too quickly. There may not be a perfect age milestone to determine when your children are ready to be a babysitter, but you can look for a few signs to know when they may be ready for this responsibility.
- Do they enjoy spending time with kids? First and foremost, help your tween or teen determine if she is simply looking for a revenue source, feels pressured to babysit from her peers, or if she will really enjoy the job. Be careful not to use only younger siblings as your guide. Your son or daughter may bicker with his/her younger siblings, but enjoy working with other non-sibling children.
- Can he handle responsibility? Answer this honestly, but also remember that your tween may act differently at home than on the job. So if he is not always responsible or on-task at home, this does not mean he will not be responsible while babysitting. But do take a good hard look and determine whether your child will be OK in stressful situations. If the family’s baby is crying while the toddler starts pulling out pots and pans, will your tween be able to defuse the situation calmly?
- Can your child handle the added workload? Babysitting can be a wonderful fit, but if she is struggling with her school workload or overcommitted in afterschool clubs or sports, then adding another responsibility could prove challenging to maintain. Actively monitor your child’s workload and help her set boundaries, like only babysitting on weekends and holidays.
If you believe your teen or tween is ready to start babysitting, help prepare him or her for the responsibility by providing a babysitter manual or enrollment in a babysitter training class. Crittenton Hospital offers babysitter training courses regularly. The class is certified by the American Red Cross and taught by a registered nurse. Upon completion of the class, your child will receive a certification of qualification. By giving your son or daughter certified training, you will help him or her be more prepared to begin babysitting.