7 Options for After School Care
Working parents cite two times of the day as the most challenging. Those would be when they have to get their kids off to school and when they have to pick them up. In years past, looking for after school programs was not an issue because, in generations past, there was at least one parent who did not work. It has been estimated that in 1975 approximately half of all kids could go home to be cared by their mother. That number has dropped to less than one third. Today, many children go home to an empty house and have to care for themselves. That is the situation for about 11.3 million kids.
At the same time, the idea that the government and companies should provide more support to working parents and more help with funding for after school and other child care centers. Research into kids’ test scores and overall academic performance shows that the time between 3:00 and 6:00 in the afternoon/evening is very important in how a child does in school. It is no wonder that many parents are not sure what their options are when it comes to after school care but it is clear there is a need. Here are some options parents can investigate:
- Ask your child’s school: There are many schools that offer after school programs for the students enrolled there. These are often the best bet because the child can just stay at the school when the school day ends, as opposed to having to be transported from school to another location, which means parents have to take care of that. These programs are sometimes run by the teachers, other staff or the school may bring in an outside company to take care of students.
- Talk to the local children’s museum. Many children’s museums around the country offer programs after school for kids to learn, play and do arts and crafts. These programs are great to help keep the learning going after the school day is done.
- Find a tutoring facility. There are these centers in a lot of cities and towns and can be really helpful to help your child spend these crucial hours between 3:00 and 6:00 pm. If your child is having issues with one or more topics, you may be able to find a tutoring program that can help them move forward. At the same time, if your child is really interested in a topic, this can help engage them in that subject and encourage their interest.
- Look for a co-op. You are not the only person who needs after school care for their kids. In many communities, people join together to take care of the children in the community. These are sometimes put together by local businesses but in other instances neighbors will do it or friends. In some instances an initial cost is put up to set up a center and in others, people will take turns caring for the kids on the block.
- Hire a babysitter. This is a tried and true method. Typically parents find a local teen and pay them to watch their child after school. The upside is that your child is in a familiar and safe environment. While most babysitters are very reliable, the downside is that you are leaving your child with a teenager.
- Talk to your employer about your schedule. Many parents are able to work out a schedule where they can leave work in time to get the child from work. In two parent homes, one person takes care of the morning routine and the other takes care of the afternoon routine. Not all jobs can offer these schedules but it is worth asking your employer if they would be amenable to such an arrangement.
- Talk to your employer about working offsite. There are some jobs that can be done remotely. If that sounds like something you can do, you may want to see if you can work from home. This is often the best option for many professional parents such as writers, lawyers, accountants and others.
Finding after school care for your child can be a challenge. The good news is that there are options and you can find the right one for you.