Today, I am sharing two more pages of our family rule book. The first page is for older children that will be asked to baby sit. The second page is instructions for our children when they are being cared for by someone other than parents. We have a large family and children ranging in age from 26 down to 4. The oldest still living at home is 25. So, in order to maintain order, we ask our adult children to always remember they are not the parents. We want their younger siblings to think they are the coolest big brothers and sisters ever. But, that can get tricky when we do at times need to ask them to be in charge will be are gone.
So, to make it clear what our expectations are of the child we leave in charge we have included the Babysitting Page.
On this page we make it clear that helping the family by babysitting when needed is not an option. Our older children know that we expect them to serve at home and set a high standard for their younger siblings to follow. Living at home as an adult means serving at home when needed. We love having all our children at home, but we do make it very clear that we can not tolerate disrespect or laziness. Everyone has a responsibility to care for each other.
So this page starts with the statement:
“I can be responsible and serve my family by helping care for others.”
Following this statement is two scripture passages:
Ephesians 6:1-4 The ever famous children obey your parents passage.
1 Timothy 5:8, a lesser known passage that clearly reminds us that our first priority in the Kingdom of Yehovah is to those who are a part of our household.
There are only four rules for the babysitter to follow:
Be responsible, Watch and Play, Keep the house clean, and Call Us.
We are leaving you in charge of our most precious assets. We expect you to be responsible, loving, kind, and patient, and to follow all instructions we leave with you.
2. Watch and Play:
You should know where everyone is at all times. You should be interacting with the children, and not separated from them by devices or rooms.
3.Keep the house Clean:
The house should always look better when we get home than when we left. It is your responsibility to make sure the children clean up after themselves.
Please call if anyone is in danger or causing others to be in danger.
We expect that when we leave a child in charge they take the job seriously. Since we still have some young children, we want them to be completely focused on those children, keeping them safe and happy.
We finish this page with a passage from Colossians 3:23-24, which is a reminder to do everything with their whole heart set on serving Yehovah. Sometimes it can be hard to have to stop and help out the family, but if we remember that serving our family is truly serving Yehovah, then it takes on a whole new meaning and purpose.
The following page in our book is “How to behave when mom and dad leave someone else in charge.”
This page is for all the children who are at home when mom and dad put someone in charge while we are gone, or busy with something and can’t watch the children. Sometimes, dad is home during the day, but he is sleeping because he works third shift. Mom has to run errands or go to work, so a sibling is left in charge. Technically, dad is home, but he is not supervising the children, so someone is placed in charge. We find it is best to pick one child to be in charge. It isn’t always the oldest child either. Depending on the circumstances we chose the person available, and capable at the time. If Tyler needs to work in her garden, and I need someone to watch the children, then I will often put a younger child in charge even though technically Tyler is home.
When we leave a person in charge, we make it clear that they are the one responsible at that time, and we make it clear to the children who is in charge.
The top of this page has two scripture passages as well.
Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Philippians 2:3 “DO nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”
These passages are a great reminder to both the care giver and those being babysat. Sometimes, a child might think they do not need a baby sitter, and this is a reminder that they can humbly respect whom we have chosen to be in charge at that time. Also, sometimes those put in charge might be prideful or bossy, and these verses can serve as a reminder to treat their siblings with love.
Next we have in bold print:
When we leave someone else in charge of your care, we expect you to treat them with the same respect you treat us. We expect you to be on your very best behavior whenever you are not with us.
We want it to be clear that no matter how they feel about our choice of leader at that time, they are to show respect as if they were obeying us directly.
There are nine rules on this page.
- You are to treat everyone with respect and honor at all times, but especially when we are not with you.
- You are to listen and obey.
- You are to go to bed when told.
- There is to be no fighting or monkey business.
- You are to stay inside if the caregiver is under 18 years of age.
- You are to clean up after yourself.
- No cooking without permission.
- No leaving without permission.
- You are to follow all instructions we give you before we leave.
These rules are pretty self explanatory, but make sure you go over them often especially right before you leave your children with a baby sitter. These rules can be used with younger children being left at home for short periods of time. The important thing is making it clear what you expect before you leave the house.
Often people ask us how old does my child need to be before I leave them at home, or leave them in charge of their younger siblings. This varies from child to child. But, I will try and give some general guides. This also various from home to home. A home in the country is different from a home in a city, town, or neighborhood.
My older children could be trusted to be responsible for themselves and younger siblings while I was at home taking a nap for a couple hours at age 8. Now, I could run down to the grocery and pick up a few things and leave them for maybe an hour total at that age, but I would take the baby if she was awake. If she was a sleep in her crib, I would leave instructions with my oldest daughter to leave her in the crib until I returned even if she woke up. I would rather have a crying baby in a crib, than an injury. (we lived in the country at this time) My children had a phone and knew how to make an emergency phone call. We also had neighbors that they could go to for help.
Typically, I think a trustworthy child could be left at home as young as 8, but be sure they feel confident and it will not be scary to them.
My children began baby sitting as young as age ten, but they all took American Cross baby sitting course including CPR and first aid, and they had been around a lot of children since birth.
I do think the more children you have the easier it is for them to get into trouble, so I would be certain that your children are capable of handling the responsibility before leaving them home alone for a long period of time.
My children could stay home alone over night by age 12, but I would not recommend this. The only reason it happened for us was an emergency. We had hired a baby sitter to come stay the night with our children when we were out of state, and her car broke down. There was no way for her to get to our house. But, the neighbor lady, knew that we were gone and was available if needed. (we lived in a neighborhood with lots of good neighbors.)
The best advice I can give is if your children can’t obey you when you are home with them, then they are probably not ready to be left at home without you.
I hope these pages help you become a stronger family. Here is the links one more time to the free pdf pintables.