Caring for Kids: School-Age Edition

Caring for Kids: School Age

Babysitting school-age children (ages 6 to 10 years old) is a great way for new babysitters to get babysitting experience. School-age children can do things alone and usually follow the rules. They can easily communicate with you and enjoy activities that you still also love.

You need to take a babysitting safety course such as Safe Sitter® in order to be prepared to care for school-age children. When you are offered a babysitting job for a school-age child, you should understand the care required; this will help you decide if you should accept the job.

There are eight things you must know about school-age children to help you decide if you are ready for the responsibility of babysitting a school-age child.

  1. School-age children know how to stay safe but may take risks. School-age children know they can do most things independently and may try things that test their limits. Common dangers for school-age children include falling off a bike or getting hurt while playing sports or outside games.
  2. School-age children must wear bike helmets. School-age children enjoy riding bikes and must always wear a helmet. Make sure you get permission from their parent before allowing a child you are babysitting to take a bike ride. Also, ask if there is a bike and helmet for you to use so that you can accompany the child on the bike ride.
  3. School-age children talk well, read, and use devices. School-age children can easily have a conversation with you and are often eager to talk to you about their interests. Prior to the job, ask the employer about house rules for screen time, and encourage school-age children you are babysitting to engage in activities with you.
  4. School-age children may argue or fight with siblings. If the children start arguing or fighting, settle the argument as fairly as possible. If physical fighting, separate the children. If you cannot stop the fight, call a back-up adult for help and call 9-1-1 if serious harm is a risk.
  5. School-age children are able to go to the bathroom alone. Younger school-age children may need reminders to use the bathroom, especially at bedtime. All school-age children need reminders to wash their hands after using the bathroom.
  6. School-age children know the bedtime rules and routine. Even though they know the rules and routine, school-age children may try to push bedtime rules. Make sure you give school-age children a 30-minute warning before bedtime.
  7. School-age children may push snacking rules. Before the job starts, make sure you ask the employer if any food in the refrigerator or pantry is off-limits, for you or for the child. Only give school-age children food that has been approved or provided for them.
  8. School-age children like active games and craft projects. You may have forgotten how much fun it is to play board games, play with Lego® blocks, or create art pieces. When outside, you can keep school-age children entertained outside with jump rope, games like Mother May I, or with sports like basketball. Find more ideas to entertain school age children.

School-age children are easier to babysit for than younger children, especially infants and toddlers. When babysitting a school-age child for the first time, schedule 30 minutes with the employer to discuss what you need to know to take care of the child and learn the rules of the house.