Old Enough To Babysit?

Dear Sara,

My daughter is twelve years old and wants to babysit. She has a younger brother and sister (five and seven) and sometimes watches them for a few hours. She thinks that she should be allowed to go to other people’s houses at night to babysit. I’m not so sure. How do I determine when she’s ready to babysit?

Dear Judy,

There is a big variation in the ages that girls mature. Your daughter may be mature in some areas but not in others. If you trust her with her brother and sister for a period of time then she must be fairly mature. There are some things to think about though. When she is at someone else’s house she may not be as familiar with things she needs to know, like where the first aid supplies are or how to locate the exits. She may also not have close neighbors that she can call on.

I would suggest that she take the Red Cross babysitters class. This will increase her knowledge and give her some hands-on experience. When you think that your daughter is ready (and you know her capabilities best) let her start in your neighborhood with families that she knows fairly well and see how she manages. Be around to support her if she needs advice. I hope everything works out well for her.

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