Though babysitting jobs were positions held almost exclusively by young teenage girls when the profession first became common early in the 20th century, the days of rigid age and gender requirements for babysitters are quickly coming to an end. The recent rise in “mannies,” or male nannies, has helped to remove some of the stigma attached to men working in the childcare profession; similarly, the simultaneous rise in two-working-parent households and heavily-scheduled teenagers has created a need for childcare that often can’t be filled by the traditional teenage-girl model. Extracurricular activities and classes keep teenagers out of the home until well into the evening in some cases, leaving just enough time for dinner and homework before bed. In the babysitting vacuum left by these busy teens, the face of the modern babysitter is rapidly changing.
Maturity is a Plus
Babysitters today come from all walks of life, and can be any gender or age. In fact, an older babysitter is typically perceived by parents to be more experienced and more capable of handling any emergency situations that arise than their youthful counterparts. Sitters who are parents or grandparents themselves are less likely to encounter a situation that they’re ill-equipped to handle, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a sitter is experienced and mature enough to ensure the safety and well-being of their charges is priceless. Additionally, the common concerns about unauthorized guests and inattentiveness that accompany the use of an adolescent caregiver are reduced, and maybe even completely eliminated, in the case of an adult babysitter.
Can Your Body Meet the Demands?
Determining whether you are too old to properly care for a child does require a complete and brutally honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Suffering from an illness or physical infirmity that affects your ability to keep up with an active toddler or being sensitive to loud noises should both be considered red flags, as should being unable to lift or carry a small child. Provided that a caregiver has no mobility issues or health problems that would make it difficult for them to prevent a potentially dangerous situation or reach an injured child, there is absolutely no reason why advanced age should be an automatic concern.
The only hard and fast rules that determine the suitability of a babysitter are a genuine love of children, the ability to manage an emergency effectively, and a basic knowledge of CPR and first aid techniques. Advanced age and greater levels of maturity are selling points for a sitter, assuming that the caregiver in question is still physically active and mentally stable. Caring for children on a part-time basis is also a great way for retirees to supplement their income and keep things interesting; there’s certainly no shortage of excitement to be found when there are children involved!
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