Posted: Apr 16, 2012 8:29 PM
Tweens who like to take care of younger children and are responsible may be ready to take on babysitting jobs. It’s a great way to instill the value of working and saving money, as well as responsibility and independence. How can you tell if your tween is ready to babysit? Keep reading for how to prepare them for this important job.

Babysitting is a great job for tweens who are mature, flexible and good with small children. Here are a few things to consider when deciding if your tween is ready for this big responsibility.

Home alone

Has your tween ever spent time at home all alone? Many parents begin to leave their tweens home for short periods of time while they run errands or finish up at work. If your tween isn’t comfortable being at home alone, she won’t be comfortable alone in a strange house caring for children. Knowing the rules about being home alone -- like not answering the door -- is one of the most important safety issues for babysitters. Go over the rules and help your tween become comfortable with staying alone at home first, before she takes on a babysitting job.


Does your tween tend to gravitate towards small children? Does he like to play and have fun with younger cousins or neighborhood kids? In order to care for children, you really need to enjoy them. Kids have many different moods and temperaments and the best way to deal with them is to be tuned in. If your tween can’t relax and play games with younger children or be flexible when they are having a tantrum, babysitting is probably not the best job for him. A good babysitter is not the child’s best friend, but needs to be fun yet firm.

First aid know-how

One of the most important responsibilities of a babysitter is keeping the children in her care safe. Even in the best of scenarios, someone may still get hurt. From skinned knees to bumps on the head, it’s important to know basic first aid. Babysitters need to be able to think quickly and make decisions when a child is injured. If you think your tween is ready to babysit, consider a Red Cross babysitter training session designed specifically for 11- to 15-year-olds. Knowing when to call 9-1-1 and how to handle emergency situations is critical to the babysitter’s role. Many tweens are mature enough to handle these situations, but some may not be ready. “The Red Cross training made me feel more prepared in case of emergencies,” says Kelli, who took the course before she started her babysitting business.

With the proper preparation and training, many tweens are ready to become excellent babysitters.

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