Several factors affect the appropriate age to begin babysitting, including the babysitter's comfort level with being alone with children, according to Safe Sitters, a training program for new sitters. Rather than choosing a chronological age to begin babysitting, Safe Sitters recommends gauging the individual's maturity in various situations.

A babysitter must be able to handle normal household occurrences, such as visitors and phone calls, notes Safe Sitters. The sitter must stay in control even when dealing with a crying infant, and the sitter must safely handle basic tasks such as feeding. New sitters also must advocate for their own safety by letting parents know when they feel uncomfortable with the tasks they are asked to complete.