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Is 12 Too Young To Babysit?

By Jodie Lynn
www.ParentToParent.com



QUESTION:

This summer my 12-year-old daughter wants to start babysitting. One of our neighbors has already asked her to watch her two kids, a girl around eight and a boy around six. She would be doing so three days a week for four hours each day. Is 12 a good age for me to let her have this much responsibility or should she wait another year?

ANSWER FROM READER:

We used one of our neighbor's daughters to help us out with our two children, ages seven and nine, but she was almost 13. Since it was only for around two-and-a-half hours, three days a week, it actually worked out pretty well. I guess it depends on how you think your daughter would do with this age of kids for the amount of hours the neighbor wants her to watch them. If she has never babysat before, you might want to be on hand in case of any emergencies. This way, she can call you and ask you to come over or maybe even show her how to do something. - Jordan and Jessie W. in Seattle, WA

FROM JODIE:

If your daughter is already pretty responsible about various things and she seems to be organized enough to handle children this age, then you might allow her to try it out a few times before committing to the set schedule. For example, sometimes kids this age forget that this is actually a job and they need to be there no matter what, unless they are ill. This means there may be times when she will not be able to join her friends in whatever they are going to be doing. Be sure that she understands the seriousness of the situation. One of the things that I always required of my babysitters was to have their CPR certificate... just in case. This can be easily obtained at local places like a YMCA, YWCA or Red Cross facility. Check online or call ahead. I also used boys as well as girls and always had a backup plan in case something came up and made sure that all of the household rules, allergies, etc., were written out and stuck on the front of the fridge. It might be a good idea to get those in writing and go over them with her to see how she reacts when seeing them all laid out. Three months is a long time not to be able to have a stress-free summer just to hang out and be a kid with friends, but if you feel she is ready for it and really wants to do it, give it a try.

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CAN YOU HELP?

I thought this summer would be nice for our two kids to make time to help their grandmother with some inside and outside chores. However, it appears that they think they are going to be too busy. I want them to go over at least once a week. Should I make them schedule a visit each week, every other week or once a month? I don't want them to not want to go and feel pressured and get negative vibes about their grandmother.

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including eDiets.com, KeepKidsHealthy.com, ClubMom.com, BabyUniverse.com, CatholicMom.com, MainStreetMom.com and MommiesMagazine.com. Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit www.ParentToParent.com for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.

 

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