Ask the moms: How young is too young for babysitting?

In your opinion, how young is too young for babysitting? It would obviously, depend on several factors. How young the child they are watching is (an infant vs. a 5 year old) the maturity level of the babysitter, how well you know them, what time of day it is, or if the child is awake or asleep.

I’m really curious to see what you guys think about this.

How young is too young? What if it’s just at night when the baby is sleeping- so no actual care of the child, just simply being at the house- put all the “what if this or this happens” scenarios aside.

Fire away! I’ll discuss with you in the comments 🙂

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

15 thoughts on “Ask the moms: How young is too young for babysitting?

  1. Depends on a lot. I've had an 11-year-old watching my then 3-year-old for just an hour or two. We know her well and she lives just two houses away. Her mom was always home at her house, available for help, if needed. (It was never needed). But, to watch all 3 of my boys, the youngest 2, for an evening, I feel more comfortable with someone a bit older. We have a 14 year old girl in the neighborhood that is an awesome babysitter.

  2. I think it really depends on the sitter and there maturity level. My sis will babysit for me if E is already in bed and we sneak out for a late dinner or something. She is 14 but I am not sure I could go much younger than that.. esp since E is still not quite 2 ya know?!

  3. I definitely depends A LOT on the age of the sitter and the age of the child. My first time I was 12, it was for an infant while he napped – his parents knew he was going to be asleep for a few hours and they needed some fresh air. The baby never woke up – I think I just sat and stared at him for about an hour 🙂

    Otherwise I would consider the maturity of the sitter and the demands of the child. I don't think I would let most sitters under the age of 15 or 16 watch my boys – they have a lot of energy and need a lot of attention.

    And I think Tyler has a good point – a 14 year old can “watch” a sleeping baby/toddler for a few hours at night.

    I also think it depends on the local support. Our neighbors know us and our kids very very well – I know any sitter we had could contact our neighbors in an immediate emergency if needed.

  4. I started at 10. By 11 I was watching 2 children 4 days a week 9 hours a day. And by 11-12 I was watching 5 children from ages 1-10. I don't know that I would let my daughter watch that many children at 10, but It's how mature she is too.

    I'm going to go with a general age here and say 12. But it does depend on maturity

  5. I had a mother's helper who was 11 watch my kids while I threw a baby shower. Best baby sitter ever (oldest of 6 kids), but I will wait another couple of years to have her watch my kids in the evening. 14 and 15 is a good age.. and they usually aren't too busy like older high school students are. I started babysitting during the summer when I was 10!!

  6. Christina- I agree with you on the younger in then 18 part in the sense that I would be worried about younger kids being able to handle more serious/dangerous issues that might (but hopefuly not!) arise

  7. Tyler & Liz-

    That was our thing… my husband thinks that a younger kid – age 11 or so could “watch” Lucas at night because he will just be sleeping. But I worry about how she would handle situations if they did arise, especially at night, ya know? She can't even drive and she would be borrowing her parents cell phone!

  8. My oldest is 11.5 and we're getting into this now. She watches her sisters for me while I run errands – that's a little different scenario. She's also recently started being a parent helper, also a different scenario.

    But she did do a solo babysitting job for a family with 3 young kids for 2.5 hours one morning. The ONLY reason I agreed to this was because the setting was a seminary campus and there were plenty of families around to help if help was needed (it wasn't). I don't think we'll go that route again anytime soon, though, as it was a pretty big responsibility for an 11yo to have.

    Now then, just today our family watched my friend's 2yo. But I put my 11yo and 9yo in charge of him together and when it was time for napping, I drove the three of them over to his house and they (together) babysat there for the 3 hours he napped. I then went and got them and brought them back to my house for dinner, but then took the three of them back again for bedtime.

    They did super fine. But the difference here is that I really am a phone call and very short drive away and I had the two of them do it together.

    It's a tricky dynamic to be sure.

  9. I agree with you 11 is too young at night. When I watched when I was young it was during the day and my father was across the street and another friend in the same apartment building.

    Could you start her as a mother's helper to begin with – see how she handles things? I know this won't give you the night out you are looking for now, but it may help you find a long term babysitter who really knows your kids.

    Do you think her mother would be willing to “babysit” with her at night, help her “train” but give you the comfort of knowing an adult is there? I think I would be up for that with my daughter some day – help her get ready to babysit and know that she can handle it

  10. I was the oldest of 7 kids and thus very responsible. I started sitting my siblings out of necessity at 9 years old. I started sitting other people's kids at 11. It worked for my parents mostly because they didn't have another choice. I probably wouldn't let anyone sit my daughter who was younger than 16, though because I'm a control freak.

  11. I was regularly babysitting when I was 10. By that time, I had already been an aunt for 5 years, and was used to changing diapers and giving bottles. Now that I'm a mom, I wouldn't let anybody younger than 16 watch them!

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