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Am I Too Young to Babysit?


What's the right age to begin a babysitting job? We wish there was a magic number. So how young is too young to babysit? It really all depends on your personality and level of maturity.

A babysitter is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the children they are watching. More than just a playdate, a babysitter must be prepared to handle difficult or dangerous situations. Is the child climbing too high up the tree in the backyard? Did his sister just bite him? Is one child complaining of a bellyache and the other demanding to eat something "else" for dinner?

If you would like to start babysitting but aren't sure if the job is right for you, try a "test-run" as a Mother's Helper. You can practice supervising the kids while the mother is home. She gets things done around the house, but is available to you for questions, concerns, or to step in when difficult situations arise. Some Mother's Helpers stay with the kids while Mom does a quick errand out of the house.  These short amounts of time watching the kids may help you and the mother assess whether you are old enough and responsible enough to babysit. Plus, being a Mother's Helper will build up the babysitting experience you need to earn the top job.

>>Have more babysitting questions? Return to the main Babysitting FAQs.

Tiffany Smith is the senior associate editor here at Care.com. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter @tiffanyiswrite.

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