A Checklist to Tell if Your Older Child is Ready to Watch Younger Siblings


Parents often enjoy a new sense of freedom when their oldest child reaches babysitting age. Date nights become less of an inconvenience, grocery shopping can be completed without littles tossing things into the cart, and you no longer need to think twice before purchasing tickets to an upcoming event.

But with great freedom comes great responsibility. When you leave your oldest in charge of your younger children, your oldest child accepts responsibility for their safety. Before you “proceed to checkout” on Ticketmaster, checkout this list and make sure your child is ready to start sibling sitting.

Safety Skills

  • Does she know and follow home safety rules, such as keeping doors locked or not using the stove or oven to cook when you’re not around?
  • Does she know how to handle encounters such as telephone calls or someone at the door?
  • Does she feel comfortable being at home after dark when you’re not there?

Child Care Skills

  • Does she have the maturity needed to stay calm and deal with challenging behavior from her younger siblings?
  • Does she generally get along with her siblings?
  • Does she understand the responsibilities of caring for them?

First Aid & Rescue Skills

  • Does she know how to handle a life-threatening emergency (i.e., know when and how to call 9-1-1-)?
  • Does she know how to perform choking rescue on a child that is choking?

Check out The Secret to Successful Sibling Sitting for six tips that will help ensure a successful sibling-sitting arrangement. And don’t forget to start by enrolling your young teen in a Safe Sitter® class to give her the skills and confidence she needs to begin sibling sitting.

Barbara Stuckwisch

Barbara Stuckwisch

Executive Director at Safe Sitter, Inc
Barbara has been leading Safe Sitter, Inc. since 2013. She relishes the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of families and communities across the country, and she has two teenage children that keep her on her toes and serve as a daily reminder of why the work of Safe Sitter® is so important.
Barbara Stuckwisch

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