Local News

90's Girls Too Busy to Babysit

Posted April 3, 1998

— If you wanted to go out this weekend, but couldn't find a babysitter, you're not alone. Across the country, there's a shortage of sitters.

For many people, Friday night means a night out on the town. But for John and Dottie Madigan, a night out alone is usually not an option. They've been stuck at home a lot.

The Madigans, like many parents, often have trouble finding a babysitter, even though they have a list of possibilities.

"I've called sometimes up to 5 or 6 kids on the list," Dottie Madigan says, "and they're all busy with something."

For some teens, busy is an understatement. Meredith and Michelle Pugh often juggle their schedules to fit babysitting in. Meredith plays soccer and dances, which takes up her week. On the weekend, she often has games to attend.

Meredith is not alone. Statistics show that more teenage girls are on athletic teams than ever before. Child care experts believe a shortage of sitters can also be attributed to a shrinking teenage population.

In 1980, there were 16 million 14 to 17 year olds across the country. By 1990, there were just 13 million. And there may be other reasons, too.

"When I was that age, I needed that money for spending," Madigan says. "And I don't think that the kids, at least in this area, they don't seem to need the spending money as much as I did."

Not so, according to the Pugh sisters, who will make the time to earn an average of $20 dollars per babysitting job. They say it's a good way to make money, and the parents really appreciate the help.

Take it from the Madigans, they sure do.

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