If you are a working parent, you know how challenging finding affordable and decent child care can be. You are not alone in this. Nearly 32.7 million kids are enrolled in some sort of organized child care program today. Approximately 70% of all kids do not have at least one parent who does not work out side of the home. Most working mothers have to find child care for their kids. Nearly three-quarters of these moms do. While finding the right after school program for your children may seem like a daunting task, it does not have to be. You really have more options than you might think.
- Talk to the school where your kids are enrolled. Some schools run an after school program for the children enrolled there. There are also some affiliated organizations that may use the school property for their childcare programs. There are a lot of benefits to this kind of situation. In the first place, there is no need to transport the kids from the school to an offsite daycare facility. If the teachers from the school are involved in the after school program, the kids are going to be more comfortable with them. Even if other professionals are brought in, the school itself is a familiar place. If this is available, this can be the best solution for your child care needs.
- Look into getting a nanny or even a babysitter. A nanny can be hired just to take care of your children in the afternoon and evening when they get out of school. That person can pick your children up from school and bring them home, help them with their homework and keep them occupied until you get home from work. If your job keeps you late, they can also prepare and eat dinner with your kids. Older kids who are able to get home from school themselves may not need all of the services provided by a nanny and may just need the basic supervision a babysitter can handle. If you know of a responsible teenager in the neighborhood who wants to make some extra money, that can be a very reasonable option.
- Consider talking to your employer about your schedule. Do you have the kind of job that can be done from home? Can you move your schedule so that your day ends around the same time as your kids’ day? Some jobs can be flexible with the hours they let their staffs work. Other companies may allow their workers to perform their jobs at home at least some of the time. More and more companies are offering this as an option for the working parents on their staff. This is considered a perk to many jobs and has been shown to reduce turnover, which is a problem for many companies in the United States. If your employer does not currently offer this, ask anyway. This may be something they had not considered before.
- Look for a privately run after school program. With the help of a home daycare software package, some people run daycare programs from their home. These are often smaller programs that offer a more intimate, family-like situation. Talk to other parents in your area and see if any of them have used these kinds of programs for their kids. Some parents really like the personalized attention their children get in these situations.
- Set up your own after school program. Sometimes parents who live a community will set up what is often called a child care cooperative. Basically a group of parents work out an arrangement where they either chip in and all pay for childcare that is provided at one of participant’s homes (this can rotate) or they each take turns caring for some of the local kids. This can be made easier with child care management software packages.
Finding the right after school program for your kids can take creativity and research but it is possible. If you talk to your school and other parents in your area, you will find the right solution for your kids.