Directly, the legal system does not specify a particular age when it is okay to start babysitting. So, there are no clear boundaries on this aspect. Instead, there are other issues that parents should consider when choosing a babysitter.
In the UK, the law states that a person under the age of 16 cannot be prosecuted if accused of neglecting or mistreating a child. The parents or guardians of the child will be held responsible for the deeds. If the person babysitting is over 16, then he or she will be prosecuted in cases of neglect.
We are planning to talk with them this week about it. So, you can get a rough idea of the rules in the various regions. So, stay tuned.
So far, what we know is:
States like Illinois recommended and supported too by Department of Children and Family services indicated that, “age 14 is when children can be left unattended for a reasonable amount of time. This means the person left in charge has to be mature and in good enough physical and mental condition to be home alone.” quoted
Good Reading Start Book
Technically, you can find a babysitting job at any age, under the condition that the child’s parents approve of you. Although, if you are in school and under 16 years old, you have to make sure you have your principal’s permission to babysit during classes to avoid getting into trouble. If you convince adults that you are responsible enough, love children, and will do anything that is necessary to take care of them, finding childcare babysitting jobs should not be too difficult for you.
Even better, before this, American Red Cross itself offered a discounted package on babysitting courses for 11 to 15 years old.
You may have to contact them for an update because according to American Red Cross’ FAQ for babysitting here, this age of 11 was the youngest age allowed for most States for babysitting in short periods.
I already sent out an email to them about this, waiting for their feedback. Will update this post once they reply.
The best way to test your skills and aptitude towards babysitting is when you have to babysit your siblings.
Children that grow up together with brothers and sisters that are younger than them will often learn the responsibility of taking care of another person. Guided by their parents, they can learn the ground rules and what needs to be done when babysitting a small child. The next step of taking care of someone else’s child will not be that difficult under these circumstances because the introduction has already been made.
But still the Red Cross does have training classes and online courses that you can participate in. We just made our recent post about this, how and what are the best course that you can follow both online and walk in training.
Hopefully, it will help you out there.
Legal Age to Babysit in California
Even though there are no legal statements that have settled on a certain age for babysitting, there might be recommendations from authorities regarding the age a child is responsible enough to be left home alone and to take care of younger children.
A legal advisor in California, USA, states that, although there are no regulations, a person aged 13 is capable of looking after small children.
Most childcare specialists say that a child that has reached the age of 10 or 11 will be mature enough to handle being left alone for a short period of time.
How much to Charge for Babysitting?
Costs of hiring an adult babysitter may vary, due to a number of factors. The area where you live, the working hours, the number of children or the need for extra activities might all influence the wage of the sitter. Thus, in bigger cities, the rates will be greater than in smaller communities.
The number of children can also add up to the cost. Younger babysitters may be cheaper than the ones with extensive reputations and years of experience. But, on average, for the UK the rates for babysitting range between £6 and £10 per hour. In the USA, the average cost is about $11 per hour.
According to SitterCity, they even provide a table for babysitting rates by States.
|Rates based on 2 children||Under 21||Over 21|
|Los Angeles, CA||$13.83/hr||$14.25/hr|
|New York City, NY||$14.42/hr||$14.92/hr|
|San Diego, CA||$11.67/hr||$12.00/hr|
|San Francisco, CA||$15.75/hr||$16.00/hr|
Those are standard prices; it might be much higher in the 7 situations below:
- Nannies and babysitters are not the same, and neither are their rates
- Pay more for more kids
- Pay older and more experienced sitters and nannies higher wages
- Additional responsibilities require higher pay
- Cost of living isn’t the only location-based factor to consider
- Once you find someone who is great with your kids, consider giving them a raise
- Be prepared to pay extra for special occasions
For more details about each of points above, please visit SitterCity Calculator.
It’s kind of a marketplace for babysitters where they set their price, and you decide whether to agree or not. Helpful to know in case you are thinking about choosing your sitter from SitterCity.
Anyway, what I really suggest when setting a price is, take your time to read some forums that have discussed this already.
With this, your overview will be much wider.
For example, while looking at the SitterCity example above or maybe care.com we only looked at the base pay for the babysitter. On forums, the reviewers might review other subjects such as quality and even highlight if those costs are “plus food.”
These are a few lists that we gathered that discuss more about babysitting rates:
If you read it fully, you will realize that it supports the case that for the UK babysitting is going to be around £6 per hour and the US around $10 or so.
What happens if something goes wrong?
It depends on the situation and what is happening.
Do you need to act fast?
Do you have any time to call your neighbor for help?
Or is it just enough for you to give a call to a parent, report to them just so they know what happened but that there is nothing to worry about.
Anyhow, as the babysitter, you are in charge.
And you have to decide things quickly if needed. To make it even easier for you, we just listed out some possible incidents that might happen here.
Also, included is a downloadable list that you should have in hand when your routine starts. For example, parent’s number, neighbor’s names and numbers, etc.
Top 5 Maturity Check Questions
Is it OK to leave a child alone and allow him to watch over his smaller siblings?
From a psychological point of view, it is. Giving your child tasks that imply taking care of other peers and being able to take care of himself will help develop a better sense of responsibility.
Still, if you have doubts about if your child is ready or not for this chapter in his life, here are some questions you should answer:
What kind of area do you live in?
A quiet residential area or living in a rural one will not enhance the fears of a child of being left alone at home. An experience like this can be as frightening for them as it is for you.
High traffic, noises, hundreds of people talking and walking by can increase the stress of a child facing this new challenge.
Thus, the chance must be offered gradually.
Is your child aware of basic principles, like not opening the door to strangers?
You should go over, together with your child, a well-defined set of rules, meant to increase his safety when left home alone with your smaller children. He should know never to open the door to strangers, no matter what reasons they may have.
Are there neighbors or friends nearby who can come over in case of an emergency situation?
It would be even better if those persons lived close nearby; to shorten the time required to reach your home. Sometimes, a quick reaction time can prevent disasters from happening.
Has your child proven good judgment in the past?
Think about the times when your child had to rely on his judgment when confronted with different situations. Were those judgments a good way to act? If yes, then you know you can count on your child when left home alone.
How does your child feel about being left alone?
You should never force your child into being home alone. Talk to him and get his opinion about it. If he has fears about it, make sure you discuss all of them together and always reassure him that it is temporary, as you will soon return home.
Sites that help you find the perfect babysitter
Living in the UK or the USA and still searching for a reliable babysitter? We know this is a high-pressure situation; this is why we chose to help you out, selecting the best sources where you can immediately find the perfect sitter for your children. Check out the sites below.
Babysitters for the UK
Safehands provide babysitting services for over 15 years, so their reputation is entirely reliable. You do not need to subscribe to book a sitter, but they do have preferential rates for members, as you will see on the booking page. They have extended services as they not only cover England but also are available in Scotland and Wales. All the babysitters offered by this agency have CBS clearing and are recruited with care, so as to help you avoid the hiring of persons not suitable to take care of small children.
You have to register to get a sitter on this website, but registration is free. They are in the market of childcare since 1967, so they have managed to build quite a reputation among parents who need support. They offer a variety of services, from nighttime supervision to daycare programs, even hotel services in case you are away with your children. If you want to see what parents think about their service, try looking at the Testimonial page on their website. They also have a public page where you can see their rates, so there will be no surprises when you have to pay up.
On Gumtree, you will be able to see the posts for babysitting services, but you will have to check them one by one if you want to find out extra information. No registration is needed; you just need to find the time and patience to screen through all the offered services until you find a suitable one for you. The websites present agencies and individual job posts, placed by persons who want to be hired as a nanny. You can also post your request here. You can introduce your child and write a few lines of information about him and what are your expectations.
Babysitters for the USA
There is a reason this service provider occupies the number 1 spot on the list. You have to register if you want to place your babysitter request, but it is just a simple form, no payment is required whatsoever. The best feature of this website is that you can choose your location.
Because with care.com, you can select a few important points when selecting or finding your trusted babysitter.
Which are, where do you live so you can find someone near you and what’s the condition that you prefer, for example, you want a summer babysitter or weekend only. There are plenty more options to choose from.
With this site, you can easily find babysitters near your home. It is very simple to use as it has a clear and comprehensive interface. In your request, you can add your specifications, what kind of job you need, schedule, info about your child and offered rates. Because of this, this platform is complex and complete, helping you to find a sitter that will fit perfectly with your situation.
Here is a screenshot of the website to show you how easy it is to use and understand – and ultimately to decide.
Sign up on this online sitter search platform is entirely free. You have to sign in, post your requirements and conditions for your babysitter, and the babysitter will contact you. You have the possibility to ask information from your sitter, like experience, background or anything you might find important. Finally, establish a face-to-face meeting and make your final decision.
You can find sitters in town, or you will enter your city zip code and you will be contacted by a local sitter of your area. Reviews from mothers show that the search process can be comfortable, but safe, as you have the entire power of selecting the potential sitters.
Registration for Greataupair.com is free, and all you have to do is post the requirements regarding the type of help you need. The platform is very sophisticated as it offers a wide range of great quality services.
You can search for candidates simply by filtering their location and desired characteristics. Private messaging is supported so you will have all the tools to find out the information you are interested in.
The only thing you have to pay for is if you want to receive an in-depth background and information check about the people you want to hire. The fees are according to the required services.
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