5 Reasons Boy Babysitters Are Good for Your Kids

reasons to hire male babysitterHow's this for common sense being paraded as breaking news? The Wall Street Journal has an article out this week titled, "No, Girls Are Not Natural Baby Sitters." Considering my husband babysat as a teenager, they're only 20-some years behind the curve on that one, huh? And yet, when is the last time you hired a male babysitter? Have you EVER hired a boy to stay with your kids?

Even in areas where parents tend to be pretty progressive, the number of parents who are willing to let a male come into the home to watch their kids is pretty low.

In a survey of parents in Park Slope, Brooklyn, 97 percent of the sitters were female. But as the WSJ's article points out, based on the new book Babysitter: An American History, by Miriam Forman-Brunell, there's no reason to think a girl is going to be better with your kids than a boy.

I happen to have two female sitters at the moment, but over the years, I've left my daughter with a male sitter more than a few times. She loved it. I loved it.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat because there's so much to gain (and so little to lose):

1. They provide a male-centric viewpoint. This isn't to say that girl-centric viewpoints are bad, but we're all trying to raise well-rounded kids, aren't we? The more people exposing them to a variety of experiences, the better we are able to do that.

2. They teach kids to ignore gender barriers. If you always have a female sitter, your kids are not-so-subtly being told that only girls can care for kids. Fast forward to adulthood, and you set a daughter up to accept a husband who doesn't pull his weight around the house or a son who doesn't believe he needs to chip in.

3. They're taller and stronger. OK, that's a bit of a generalization, but there's a scientific basis. My brother used to throw my daughter up in the air and catch her because he's over 6 feet tall with broad shoulders. He COULD do that. At 5'4" with puny upper arm muscles, I couldn't safely do the same. But the fact is, she LOVED it. There are things that people with bigger body types can do with kids that people who are smaller just can't.

4. You break down gender barriers. It's not just about teaching your kids to ignore them, but also about retraining yourself not to play into stereotypes. There's power in breaking the mold.

5. Pedophiles come in all shapes and sizes. This is the big elephant in the room, isn't it? That some boy is going to molest your kid? Sorry, but women can be molesters too. Or murderers. Just hiring females is NOT going to keep your kid safe; checking references, doing interviews, and going with your gut instinct is going to do that.

Have you ever hired a boy babysitter? What's holding you back?


Image by Jeanne Sager



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nonmember avatar NoWay

My boys don't really babysit, yet, but I know they will be good ones. They are very good with younger kids. They are the two oldest grandkids, so all of their cousins are younger than them. They also have a little half brother with whom they are very good. We recently had their little cousins over and they got up in the morning with them and got them breakfast and everything. I was pleasantly surprised. Boys are awesome!

laure... laurenemb

Great article. My older brother, twin sister and I used to "share" families in our neighborhood to babysit, and they were always just as thrilled to have him watch them as they were with my sister or I (and sometimes more so!). There's no reason men should be discounted from consideration as caregivers, as the increasing number of stay-at-home-dads shows as well.

nonmember avatar blh

I would leave my son with male relatives or maybe a really good guy friend, but not a stranger. That's just the way it is. Although, really, the only people who ever watch him are family anyways.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I think if you're kids are prone to being messers, you're better off with a male babysitter!

LeeshaE LeeshaE

My younger brothers babysit for me and family friends. I have also had male family friends babysit and my son loves it because they get to do boy things like wrestle and make arm farts.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

@blh...and you would leave your kids with female strangers???

amand... amandajoy21

Ms. Sager you forgot another good reason to opt for a male sitter. With so many kids that just don't have good male role models introducing your children to a positive role model can change your outlook. My son's school currently has no male teachers or administrators and the school is always so excited when fathers or grandfathers volunteer because it allows some of the male students to connect with someone who understands them.

I would never hesitate to hire a male sitter if I felt comfortable with him just like a female sitter. One of my son's favorite sitters is my DH's best friend.

Christina Osborne

The only reason we don't have a male sitter is because I have crazy anxiety, so only a close friend watches them. She happens to be female. If my hubby's friends offered, I'd probably take them up, but I'm uncomfortable leaving them with almost anyone because of the 'what ifs' that go through my head (and that is with anyone, not just friends, but family too)

Jrenae75 Jrenae75

I've had boy sitters before and it worked out (except once when the kid and my daughter had power struggles...but I don't blame it on the sitter's gender! Their personalities were just very similar...). There's just not many of them! Sadly, some moms don't really teach these skills in their sons. Two nice boys (ages 14 and 13) live down the street. When I asked the mom if they babysat, she just laughed and said, "oh, I don't even want to know how that would go!" She doesn't even consider it a possibility with them. That's sad.

IWant... IWantOneMorePlz

Reason #1 for NOT having a boy babysitter--Being molested by one as a child.

Reason #2 for NOT having a boy babysitter--him beating your butt with a wire coat-hanger.


No thank you.

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