Having a babysitter has many benefits, today we'll talk about those benefits. We'll talk about how old a child needs to be to babysit and how to pick a great sitter. Leaving a "stranger" home with all that you love and hold dear can be hard.
Benefits of a babysitter
Your child gets to experience other people
Especially if you are a stay at home mom, your child might only be used to you and tolerate only YOUR way of doing things. Bringing in a babysitter helps them see there are many ways to do things and to be loved by other humans. It helps kids to remember how amazing YOU are when they see someone else fumbling through life too. :)
You get some time away!
This is clearly why most people get a sitter. You need to get some things done without kids or go on a date night. Having time away is a HUGE benefit. That old adage that you can't love someone when they're ALWAYS there is very true in parenting. You miss them, they miss you. Everyone wins!
They get paid
There is a lot of good you can do for society and teenagers in general by paying them to do a job. They can feel great about something they're doing, and also earn some cash. It is a good thing to help teenagers build self-esteem.
How to find a babysitter
While you can always go through traditional methods of hiring someone for a job -- finding a good teenager is harder than it sounds.
I know many people can't IMAGINE leaving their precious child with a teenager, but we have done it for years and have so many good benefits. While a college student may have more preparedness skills, they also cost more, have harder schedules to work around, and sometimes aren't interested in helping your child at all (whereas a good teenager can be an amazing role model for your child).
Do you have a friend that's a teacher? They might have some students they could recommend.
At the time we were using babysitters the most frequent. My husband taught at the local high school, and I was very involved in the church youth program. It was great & easy to find sitters who we really liked, and were great with our kids!
What to look for in a sitter
- Someone who is fun and outgoing -- they are likely to be willing to take on this new situation without as much fear as a shy and unassuming teenager.
- Someone who is smart -- you're trusting your kids with this, so if something goes wrong, they will need to think on their feet.
- Someone who your child already knows -- if your child has met them in the community or at church, it is an easier sell when you
- Someone with a good mom. I often picked kids with great moms. That meant they could call them if they needed to. I know I had to call my mom a few times -- and while I don't WANT to have to push on that parent to back them up -- now that I've had my own kids babysit, I am grateful that people had my kids over to babysit, and I was willing to back my kids up.
How old should your babysitter be?
This, like most parenting things, varies quite a lot. You're mostly looking for responsibility skills. I started, I think when I was 11 -- which, I think was probably too young. Crying babies stressed me out WAY too much.
I also didn't have younger siblings.
For us, we wanted them to be at LEAST12, although Freshman in high school was often our target market. They aren't quite as busy as they'll be in a few years.
So, those are some things to consider as you go about getting your own babysitter at your house.