But I am pondering -- at what age will oldest be old enough? I was babysitting toddlers at 12, but somehow that seems crazy to me now. He's a responsible kid, though he has had significant mood and behavioral problems in the past he's been stable now for a number of years. I am definitely fine with him being home alone for a few hours -- but the six year old is... feisty ... and I can see him being drunk on the power of being charge. There are reliable neighbors nearby if that makes a difference.
How old were your kids when you let them sit for their sibs? How did you know they were ready?
He has stayed with his sib for a few minutes when I needed to run to get milk. Other than that he just has a hard enough time taking care of himself and is not ready for the responsibility. My 9 year old would also not be comfortable being left in his brother's care for an extended period.
I completely know what you are saying. I was home alone or with limited supervision by my older brother by 8. And I babysat for infants by 11 or 12.....cannot explain what the difference it but its there....
My mom would leave me alone that young sometimes. I never had an issue with it at all, I would stay in my room, or in the living room and watch TV. I never answered the door or the phone, and I knew if I needed help to dial the police.
My brother is almost 5 years older then me, and my mom rarely left him alone in the house by himself. He would never stay in the house, he would have been down at his friends or whatever. She couldnt trust him very much to do as he was asked.
Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with the kid and how mature/responsible they are.
If a 12 year old has younger siblings, then I would think they could handle it if they wanted too, if not, then they may need to be a little holder.
I agree though that it depends on the child. My DS has always been laid back and could absorb a lot of annoyance and provocation without getting his feathers ruffled. My DSD12 wouldn't be capable of caring for anyone younger than her, and still has some issues muddling through being on her own after school and getting snacks and settling in with homework without a lot of phone calls.
I'm not as strict about some parents about the age of children being able to do certain things, because our kids are just so different that age isn't the deciding factor. I also usually ask myself "what am I afraid will go wrong?" In your case, if you 12 year old would be excessively happy to boss the 6 year old if left alone, would that be really awful or just something that you would redirect and correct and work through? Would the 6 year old be scarred or hurt or damaged if the 12 year old bossed him around at first? Could you do it in increments and sort of oversee the developing relationship between them as boss and not-boss?
You know your kids and the situation. I think another factor is neighbor hood. I would not of left our children home 4 years ago if we didn't live where we do.
This too shall pass
I edit a lot because that stupid box is so small!