Can a teenage babysitter handle a 2 yo and a 4 mo? — The Bump
D.C. Area Babies

Can a teenage babysitter handle a 2 yo and a 4 mo?

DH and I have been fortunate to not have had to hire a babysitter yet. DH's parents live in our neighborhood and have provided all of the babysitting to date. However, there have been a few times when they haven't been available to babysit when we wanted to go out. So, I need to find a back-up option for babysitting.

In our neighborhood newsletter, there is a list of high school girls that offer babysitting services. I love the idea of having a teenager that lives close by to babysit the kids for convenience purposes. However, do you think a teenager can handle a 2 yo and 4 mo? I'm asking because I even sometimes get frazzeled with the two of them (like when DD#2 is throwing a tamtrum and DD#1 is crying because she needs a bottle). When I was a teen, I remember babysitting 2 and sometimes 3 kids but they were all toddlers and older. My other option is to go on SitterCity and try to find an older adult who nannies during the week and does babysitting on the weekend.

Anyway, let me know what you think. Also, how would you go about starting with a potential teenage babysitter? I was thinking of first trying a short window of time like 1-2 hours and then seeing how I feel and going from there?

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Re: Can a teenage babysitter handle a 2 yo and a 4 mo?

  • I did as a teen.  Would I trust one now to my kids, I think I would want to interview the sitter in advance, but I think it would work.  My parents certainly used one ever single Saturday night when we were growing up (and there are 4 of us) and I regularly babysat for 3 families that had infants and toddlers. 
  • if you put them to bed and the sitter is just a monitor watcher, yes

    if she/he has to put them to bed, no

  • I did it as a teenager & I think I did a pretty good job but I have 2 younger siblings so I got a lot of practice at home and my mom was always on call in case I couldn't figure out what to do - never had to call her but it was good to know I had back up. Depends on the girl - you can do interviews and assess how comfortable with kids they seem.

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  • I think some teenagers could handle it, but I'd want to make sure they had experience taking care of infants before I hired them.

    I'd ask the potential babysitter to come over for an hour or two while you're home and act kind of like a "mother's helper" - helping to take care of the kids while you make dinner or do something else around the house. Use it as kind of a trial.
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  • image WinesNot Whines:
    I think some teenagers could handle it, but I'd want to make sure they had experience taking care of infants before I hired them.

    I'd ask the potential babysitter to come over for an hour or two while you're home and act kind of like a "mother's helper" - helping to take care of the kids while you make dinner or do something else around the house. Use it as kind of a trial.

    this. all teens are not created equal :-) 

  • image WinesNot Whines:
    I think some teenagers could handle it, but I'd want to make sure they had experience taking care of infants before I hired them.

    I'd ask the potential babysitter to come over for an hour or two while you're home and act kind of like a "mother's helper" - helping to take care of the kids while you make dinner or do something else around the house. Use it as kind of a trial.

    That's a good idea. I may try that first to assess them.

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  • image cecilyandgautam:

    I did it as a teenager & I think I did a pretty good job but I have 2 younger siblings so I got a lot of practice at home and my mom was always on call in case I couldn't figure out what to do - never had to call her but it was good to know I had back up. Depends on the girl - you can do interviews and assess how comfortable with kids they seem.

    Yes, that's one of the reasons I also like having someone from the neighborhood because I'm thinking that their parents may be close which is an added bonus (although I couldn't always count on that).

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  • I would trust them, but if your neverous about them getting both down to bed, you could always have two come over for a certain period of time and then have them choose which one would go home after the kids are down.

    My sister is lucky that my mom and her MIL live close by.  My mom and her MIL will babysit until kids are down.  Then one will go home.

  • Would it be feasible to have your kids go to their home instead?  That way, mom is there to lend a hand if necessary.  I babysat all the time, but in my home (for cousins...they were four years apart).  My mom was there just in case, but I was in charge of the kids.  I can only think of a few instances that I needed her.
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