Are Tweens Too Young to Be Babysitters?
Should there be a minimum age for child caregivers? What do you think, moms?
When I was in sixth grade, I babysat the three neighbor kids for about $3 per hour for up to 6 hours. At times, it was pretty easy; the kids were good and I adhered to the parent’s directions vigilantly.
Bedtime was 9:00 p.m.—no deviation. Snacks were laid out on the table; I just had to make sure no one did anything stupid, no one robbed the house and no one answered the phone to alert anyone that a tween was watching 3 children under the age of 6.
Looking back, I felt like a responsible tween but, now that I have three kids, I wonder how I ever managed to keep three children—ages 2, 3 and 6— out of trouble. It seems crazy to me now that at the age of 12, I was actually hired to watch three children. Apparently, though, this would almost never happen in the United Kingdom.
A UK news headline read, “Police Caution Mum for Leaving Son, 14, to Mind Three Year Old Son.” A caution is equivalent to what we in the U.S. would call a ticket. The teen watched his brother for 30 minutes.
Here in Bethlehem, the American Red Cross offers Babysitter Trainings for ages 11 – 15, seeming like even a fifth grader could babysit. While Pennsylvania itself does not have any legal minimum age requirement, Illinois and Maryland have statutes that require a babysitter to be 14 and 13 respectively.
What do you think?