The Taz is off school this week, a result of an education system that is being wrongly unfortunately affected by the state’s lacking budget, requiring a furlough week in between summer and winter vacations. And because his sister is still in school this week and I still need to work, the Taz is spending time at his grandparents’ house who have graciously offered up their house as a place for him to crash. That’s why today we were driving into my parent’s neighborhood in the early morning as I made the race from my daughter’s school to my parents’ house in an effort to make it to work still on time. A group of ladies were walking around the neighborhood, and I waved at them as we passed them. Their faces lit up and they waved back.
“Who are they?” the Taz asked.
“I used to babysit their kids,” I told them. By now their kids were graduating college, a scary thought since it seemed like only yesterday I had been entertaining them with various craft projects at the kitchen table in an effort to keep the TV off. In those days, I had made $5 an hour to watch them for 4 or more hours, thrilled to receive $20 at the end of the night to go towards my clothing fund. It’s a far cry from the $8 or more a babysitter now receives to watch kids – an amount that encourages me to stay home almost every Friday night.
“If I were to babysit, I’d bring over all my video games, and then I’d BBQ for them,” the Taz told me.
“Well, you can’t really BBQ when you’re babysitting,” I told him. In my youth, the parents of the kids would always have dinner either waiting for us, or they’d prepare something I could just heat up. On the rare occasions that I did cook for the kids, it was usually something easy like Mac n Cheese, or pesto spaghetti from a convenient container of Butoni’s. I could just imagine if I had suggested to the parents that I would be BBQing for their children.
“Mr. and Mrs. Smith? I would love to marinate this top grade sirloin and then grill it until it’s just barely pink in the middle, serving it with a side of baked potatoes and corn. I promise to do my best not to burn your house down, and if your kids get burnt in the process I will promptly put a Band-Aid on it. Would you like any leftovers?”
“Except, I would be making riblets,” the Taz corrected me.
Well, that makes a difference.
He was quiet for a moment, and got a pensive look on his face.
“Do boys babysit?” he asked. “Or is it more of a job for girls?”
That was a good question. When I was younger, my sister and I, along with a couple of our girlfriends, were the neighborhood babysitters. Boys lived in our neighborhood too, but I never saw them hanging out with younger kids, trying to keep them all in one place at least by the time the parents got home. When I had kids of my own, I did use my cousin, Paul (who has been begging for a mention), to babysit. And I also trusted a guy friend to babysit as well. But the majority of the time, our babysitters were of the female gender.
But there’s no reason why a boy can’t babysit. They are just as capable of keeping kids safe and entertained for several hours while the parents are away. They can just as easily make a box of macaroni, even if you have to tell them that macaroni cannot be BBQ’d.
I told the Taz that boys can definitely babysit, but I admitted that it was usually girls who took on the job. But as the conversation closed, I felt like I had swayed him from a job that he might have had interest in as a teen.
Do any of you have sons that babysit? Or have you allowed a boy to babysit your children? Is there any reason why a boy shouldn’t babysit?
And just how much do you pay your babysitter???
My worry is maturity. I’m married to a 40 year old man who still acts like he’s in 8th grade. They have always said that girls mature faster than boys, and I do believe it’s true. On the other hand, when I was teaching preschool, one of my favorite co-workers was a man. This was in college, so he would have been early 20s’ He was great with the kids.
As always, one has to worry about the safety of their kids, no matter who they leave them with, and sad to say, statistically, males are more likely to abuse kids. Sorry if that’s not PC, but it is the statistics.
As for pay, back in the 80’s I was making $10, but I was a certified preschool teacher with CPR and tons of experience. I have no idea what someone in my position would make now, or how much the teen down the street would make. For someone who loved kids so much way back when, I never had any of my own. I will check back to see what the pay is, though, because I am curious.
I babysat quite often when I was around 13 – 14. I couldn’t stand it, my mom always volunteered me. Never infants, and always boys. Now that I have a daughter it makes complete sense to me now, I would NEVER let a teenage boy babysit my daughter.
My main go to babysitter is a 15 year old boy. He was 14 when he started watching my two year old. He lives next door so if any problems arise he can call his mom. But he is great with my son and they have a lot of fun together. He even attempts to cook (well heat up frozen meals). I think boys make great babysitters if they like it. Especially if you have a boy.
When I was little, my favorite babysitter was the boy that lived behind us. He would always hop over the fence instead of walking around the block. When my mom told me he was coming over, I would stand by the sliding glass door waiting for him to come over the fence. My kids however, always go to my parents’ house for babysitting. Because I lack the funds to pay anyone, and mom and dad do it for free. 🙂