February 09, 2009,
S.C. asks from Fort Worth, TX on February 06, 2009
Would You Hire a Boy Babysitter?
My 12 year old son wants to start babysitting. He really likes kids and wants to start saving for a car so he thinks babysitting will be a great way to do that. I signed him up for a babysitting certification course to learn baby/toddler CPR, first aid, feeding, age appropriate activities/games to play with the kids, etc. At the least, the training will make me feel more comfortable letting him watch his younger brother. I'm wondering, though, if he'll have a hard time finding parents who want a boy babysitter. My concern stems over my neighbor's reaction when I told her he'd be taking the class. Her response was, "but he's a boy". She said she would let him watch her 4 and 6 year old sons only because she knows him, but thinks people who don't know him well will be hesitant to hire him because he's a boy. She said if her children were girls, she wouldn't hire a boy sitter. I'm hoping she's wrong about parents being sexist towards boy sitters, but wanted to put this question out there for some honest answers. I've already told my son I don't want him babysitting little babies at first until he has sitting experience with older tots at least 3 and older. And the families must live nearby so if for some reason he runs into a problem, I'm just a minute away.
So my question - - If a babysitter has CPR/first aid training and is great with your kids...do you care if the sitter is a boy or a girl?
J.J. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
I have a boy and a girl. I don't think I would care if I had a boy or girl sitter, but the truth is I have yet to trust anyone other than my parents to babysit :) It is too bad you don't live close to me. Ideally I think I would like to find a younger sitter and get to know them by them just helping me with the kids while I am here before I ever actually leave them alone. I like the idea of a younger sitter because I'd like to build that relationship with them and have them to use for many years to come. Perhaps you can find someone like that. If I found someone I like, I don't think it would matter either way what sex they are.
T.T. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
I would probably hire a boy babysitter (I have boys) either if I knew the boy or if he came recommended by a friend. That being said, I would do the same with a girl babysitter, so I don't think it would be any different.
I think it all depends on the kid. For example, my 17 year old nephew has always been very attentive and patient with my boys. He plays with them and keeps an eye out for them. His 15 year old sister has no patience with them and NEVER plays with them and NEVER has. My younger son almost forces her to interact with her and can see she loses her patience very fast. I do have two other nieces from the other side of the family that are GREAT with my boys.
By the way, those nieces had a boy babysitter when they were younger who was wonderful. The girls loved him and he was very responsible. He babysat for them until he went off to college several years ago. They even attended his wedding last summer!!
It may take him a little more time, but if he's good he'll build up a cliental. GOOD LUCK!!
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R.T. answers from Dallas on February 09, 2009
We only hire babysitters that we know very well, boy or girl. My son is actually being cared for by a male provider at this time and he has been a God send. That being said, I am pretty open-minded and many of my friends, coworkers and family members raised their eyebrows at us letting a male watch our son. If this is something your son wants to do and he is good at it, trust me, he will have repeat clients. I would not let what other people say get to you!
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T.H. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
in our situation we have a girl and no i wouldn't hire a boy babyitter, it's just not a good situation. when my daughters friends come over, even ones on our street and i'm not home my husband won't let them come in. i thought it was a bit extreme at first but i see his point, he doesn't feel comfortable with a bunch of little girls. unfortunately sometimes little kids make things up or something gets taken the wrong way. and to holly who said that the husband was helping at her home care i'd get a background check on him. while he's probably fine if the wife is licensed i would tell him i'd doing one, if he has a problem with that my child wouldn't go back, actually she wouldn't go back until the check came back clear. now if i had a boy i would probably feel different if i knew your family or a friend knew your family. good luck to him.
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G.W. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
First let me say that I am the mother of two boys myself so I have no bias against boys - that being said, no, I personally and I know my husband would agree, would not hire a boy to babysit my kids. I can see that when enough people see this post, it will get very heated and probably get a lot of responses. I've been blasted on this site before for being a firm believer in the thoughts and wisdom of Christian child pysychologist Dr. James Dobson and he spends a whole chapter in one of his books (Dare To Discipline I believe) discussing why generally it's not a good idea to have teen boys babysit (and he was the father of a teen boy himself). It's early and I'm not awake enough to go into the reasons :-) but again, I found the arguments to be very convincing. Best wishes to your son as he tries to make his plan succeed.
E.T. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
I have a 4 year old boy and I wouldn't care... however, 12 is a little young to babysit on his own. I know of a friend who has hired 12-13 year olds as mother's helpers, and that might work for your son, especially if he could find a single dad who might need some help with multiple kids.
He could also see about working in the nursery of his church, if that applies. That would help get him experience and he would be supervised.
The youngest babysitter we ever hired was 15 and that's only because she was the cousin of a good friend and we were able to confirm references and a solid family structure.
A.C. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
Interesting question. I wouldn't hire ANY babysitter AT ALL without just knowing the kid, or in my babysitter's case, her family...good references would help depending on how well I knew the people giving the references. I would without a doubt let the boy that lives next door watch my son if he were old enough, I'm sure of it. What it really comes down to is patience, responsibility, adhering to instructions/directions, experience with younger children, how my son feels about/acts with the sitter, etc....all the things you look for in a sitter, regardless of sex. That being said, PERHAPS I would feel differently if I had a daughter....I would like to say no, but I don't know.
S.M. answers from Dallas on February 08, 2009
I think it is fantastic that your son wnts to start babysitting. I personally take age more seriously than gender. But when i was his same age Itoke all the courses and then I "advertised" myself as willing to help around the house. ie: watch the kids while parents cleaned house, do chores around the house... This way they got to know me and see me interact with their kids before they left me alone. My first true client was a my next door neighbor who taught piano lessons and had two young boys. Two days a week afterschool I watched her boys while she gave lessons in the next room. Pretty soon I was watching the boys when her and her husband went out and she was refering me to freinds and neighbors. Your son is definitly facing an up hill battle but tell him not to get discouraged. Find creative ways to reach his goal. Good Luck
H.S. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
I hired a boy to watch my daughter while I was at a pampered chef party across the street. I felt more comfortable with him being a responsible sitter, than the girl next door. That said, you might check into the legal age that you can leave him to babysit, in Texas I think it's 13.
I took one of those sitter classes when I was a kid, and it was great - and helped prepare me for entertaining little ones. They suggested a bag that had different things - in other words you bring the "entertainment" not expecting it to already be at the house.
A.G. answers from Dallas on February 07, 2009
My favorite babysitter is a boy, but I know him very well. He is a family friend. That being said, we only hire babysitters that we know very well, boy or girl. I think it is fantastic that your son wants to babysit, and that he is getting training, but I wouldn't expect for him to get much business from people he doesn't know well. Maybe he'll get a bit from references, though. Good for him for giving it a shot and being willing to work to save some money.
My son is 11 and is wonderful with our younger son who is 4, and he has talked about doing the same thing. I teach and many of my co-workers know my kids and have asked when my oldest will be able to babysit their kids because they know he's so good with my youngest. There are others though who I know wouldn't consider allowing him to babysit for them simply because he's a boy.
Life gets so much more complicated when our kids begin to go out into the world. :-)