21 answers

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?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

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.

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!!

More Answers

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!

1 mom found this helpful

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.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Good luck.

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. :-)

I have one son. And I have and do hire boys to watch him. You do want to make sure that he does not encourage to mcuh rough play, to much a chance to get hurt. Of course that is one reason my son loves to have some of the older boys watch him.

If he does get some clents that are girls, I would discuss some perosnal boundaries for him that will protect him from being accused of funny business. Only girls that are older enough to clean themselves(potty trained fully) I young man watching girls should not be horse playing, any hugs should be at a minimun at best. You do not need him to be falsy accused for being a kind and generous. It is rough times, and if he is old enough to watch kids, he should be old enough to explain the realities of why parents maybe reluctant to have him watch kids.

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!!

Wow, some of these responses I think are a little harsh; but then you gotta let people go with their gut feelings. And they are being honest, which is what you need.
Anyway, I would not hire a girl or a boy that I didn't know. There are very irresponsible girls out there, too.
I would not hesitate to hire a boy if I knew him. There is a 10 year old boy at my church who is wonderful with my daughter and I ask his mom "So what age will you let him start babysitting?" :) But I would assume at least 14.
That said, 12 is WAY too young. I love my 12 year old neice and she's great with my daughter and very responsible but I would never have her babysit alone at this age.
Suggest your son tag along with you while YOU babysit for prospective clients? Let them get to know him so they can trust him later on. If he's serious about it, that's all I can suggest. Good luck!

Well, I do not think that it is sexiest not to want to hire the opposite sex child to watch my child. I would say that is being cautious.

I have two girls and a son. If I did not know your son, no way on earth would I hire him. Nothing against your son! But as moms we protect our little girls and remember, I dont know your son.

Now, if I knew your son would I hire him? That all depends on how well do I know him. If he were the child of a close friend from church that I am around often because we visit and I knew he had a heart for Jesus and a wonderful personality, I probably would go for it without much hesitation.

If I had only boys and I did not know your son, I would revert back to my first answer. He could be a great kid, but I dont know that and statistics show that boys even at a young age are more likely to hurt a child of any sex.

I am sorry, but it isnt about your son, I bet he is a great kid! And it isnt about being sexiest and thinking that a boy wouldnt do a good job. For me my caution comes from a protection point of view and not that I dont think a boy would be just as awesome of a babysitter as a girl would be.

I just wanted to be honest about what an outsiders thoughts might be. I am overprotective and I dont let my kids out of the yard to play unless I am outside, I have seen too many stories of kids being abused by people close by and in their lives and I just dont want to take any risks.

well i have two girls and honestly nothing against boys but i would hire a boy sitter.. now if i knew him well enough i might.. i would just start with people you know then they can be a good reference. i worked in a daycare recently and there was a boy in high school that worked there.. he just loved kids not a bad thing.. just have to build good reference. i think itll be fine. good luck

He would have to be a family friend for me to even consider it & surely not when mine are so young 3 & 5. The truth is I'd have to know him and his family well.

Unfortuatly, people that do not know him well are not going to hire him. You may want to think in the angle of protecting your son. If you are letting him babysit people you do not know (and maybe you are not) they could have issues that you are unaware of. He could be in a situation where he is blamed for something he didn't do because he is there and someone has to take the blame. I would only let him babysit for familes that you personally know and who know him.

I have 5 children, a boy and four girls, and I would not hire a boy babysitter. I just don't think that it is appropriate for a boy to be in that kind of situation with a girl. Now if I had all boys, I may feel differently. I would suggest mowing lawns or maybe being a pooper scooper for extra cash.

I hate to admit it but when I found out the husband of my son's daycare provider was helping and changing diapers it bothered me. I've never been that type of person either. I have always thought that whether your male or female you should be regarded as equal. After I got to know him I felt better about it. All my friends thought I was crazy for letting him help with my son. They said they would yank him out of there and find a new daycare.

The problem is that you don't hear much about female pedophiles but you hear ALOT about male ones. It just make parents very nervous. I mean our #1 goal in life is to protect our children so denying a male babysitter is just a defensive mechanism. Just a month ago a man was arrested in Keller for molesting a little boy and he worked at Apex Academy (a very reputable afterschool program in this area). I knew a boy in high school that threw a 4 yr old up against the wall and killed her at a daycare in Hurst.

I have a son myself and it is hard to think that they would be treated unfairly in a situation like this but it happens. I would say let him try. The people that know him won't have a problem with it at all and of course there will be some parents out there that it won't bother. Just my two cents. I think it's cool that he is so interested now. He will probably be a great father someday.

Both of my boys babysat when then were teens....a LOT. Just a couple weeks ago I hired a 15 year old boy to come and watch my grandson when he was visiting and we all wanted to go out. Definitely. If they are responsible, it doesn't matter if they are a boy or girl. This is a great income for a "tween" also....at a time when it is hard to find work. Good luck!

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.

I have 1 girl so.....NO...I would not. I wouldn't consider it.

If I had a son, I would not have him babysitting either. TOO many things could be misconstrued and he could end up being blamed for something he did not do.

I also have one of those husbands who is only around my daughter's friends when I am around. We avoid situations that could possibly become very ugly.

My opinion has nothing to do personally toward you or your son.

Holy sexism, batman! Okay, clearly some folks aren't comfortable with boy babysitters, but I say that's their problem. Unfortunately, you will have to explain to your son that some folks are biased, but we all have to explain that to our kids at some point, regarding some situation. I think it's TOTALLY FINE for a boy to babysit. My DH did when he was a teenager, and I'm sure he was great at it, just like he is now a great dad. Seriously, if folks have no issues with hiring a girl to sit for boys, they shouldn't have issues with a boy sitting for girls. Irresponsible kids come in both sexes, as do responsible kids. You CERTAINLY don't want to teach your son that the world EXPECTS boys to be perverts!!!!!

As for the age, I did start sitting when I was 12, but, as you said, only for kids on our street when my mom was home, and only for older kids (like 6 or 7) who couldn't be left alone, obviously, but could also do a lot for themselves. At the same time, I started working as a mother's helper for my godmother, who had a 6 year old and newborn--so I got experience helping with the newborn, but was never left alone with him at that stage. I started babysitting for a wider age range, and kids who were farther away (like, a 5-10 minute drive) when I was 14. I think the classes and certification are key, and also making sure he gets experience somehow while supervised (e.g. as a mother's helper, or with younger kids in the family).

BTW, I think it's GREAT that your son wants to work with kids. Many boys and men, I believe, are naturally caring nurturers, but our culture tends to discourage that--to the detriment of the boys, men, the women in their lives, and their eventual children. I hope you encourage your son, and help him to find families who are open to benefiting from his skills!

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