At What Age Should My "Big Ones" Be Able to Sit with My "Little Ones"?

Updated on October 06, 2009
J.Y. asks from Rowlett, TX
5 answers

We have 4 daughters that are 13, 11, 8, & 6. The 13 & 11 year old are allowed to stay by themselves with no problems. My husband & I have been debating over whether or not they are old enough to sit with the younger ones, so that we might get to go out for a dinner or a movie alone sometimes. My husband says "yes" because he sat for his younger brother & his mom's friend's children. I'm not sure, but of course, he thinks I'm just being over-protective. So, what do you Mamas think?

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K.D.

answers from Dallas on

It honestly depends on how mature your 13 and 11 year old are. It also depends on if your younger girls will actually respect their older sisters requests.

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K.A.

answers from Dallas on

I started baby-sitting when I was 11, but it really depends on their maturity level. It is also a little different with siblings. You might start out by leaving them alone while you go to the grocery store, then lunch and work your way up to a night out. They should be fine, but if the older two argue all the time, the younger two may not get all the supervision they require.

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J.J.

answers from Dallas on

My 13 year old is very mature and babysits for others - so she can certainly stay home with her 10 year old brother and 6 year old sister. That is just my child though. I started babysitting for others at age 12. Every kid is different...

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A.

answers from Dallas on

Well, it could be done, but like everyone said..it depends on the personalities involved. I have 5 kids, and know that the oldest could handle the younger ones when she is about 12, but I would not leave the 2nd child with her (who would be 9 at the time). Those two are like oil and water most days. Something a friend of mine does is tell the 13 year old she is in charge in general, but give the 11 year old something to be in charge of too..like making sure the younger kids get read to before bed etc. I leave 4 of my kids (not the baby) with a 13 year old babysitter for short nights, like dinner close by. Start with that..maybe on a night that you have fed them dinner, and everyone is in PJ's, you could have a late dinner. Set them up with a movie or something, and be back home in an 1.5-2 hours. I would certainly make her take some red cross babysitting classes, and learn CPR and basic first aid. Also, have some hard and fast rules. No answering the phone, no answering the door..PERIOD! Even if it is the police, you tell her she should call 911 first to confirm, they are more than happy to do that. These days the bad guys are way smarter than we want them to be, and while it is so rare that something could happen, you will feel better if you can say for certainty that you prepared her for different scenarios. Have a practice fire drill..not to scare yourself or her, but to build confidence, and have a plan that they all know! Maybe even let a trusted neighbor know and that will certainly make it easier for you. I do think 13 is old enough, with some training. Maybe that is a good meet in the middle between you and your husband. Good luck, I am not sure how I am going to feel when my oldest is 12 or 13. They still seem so young sometimes! ~A.~

G.W.

answers from Dallas on

My 11 year old has sat with her 4 year old brothers for as much as an hour and has done very well. Obviously, dinner and a movie is a bit longer but if your 13 and 11 year old were pretty mature and got along and you could trust the youngers to obey and respet their sisters' authority, then I'd probably give it a shot.

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