If you are working parents, especially those with elementary school kids, finding an after-school child care option can become daunting and sometimes, may become problematic too! While some parents may want to opt for a single care program, others may want to consider more economically viable options. If you are wondering which after-school care programs you can opt for, you will find this article particularly helpful. Here, we will talk about all the options that suit you, your finances, and your kid’s requirements!
Popular After-School Care Choices
Every child is different, and so can be his caring needs. While some children may thrive perfectly well in a family-child care setup and feel overwhelmed at a community-based setup, for other kids, it can be the other way round. As a parent, you need to keep your kid’s interests, needs, and personality into consideration when opting for any after-school care option. Read on to know some popular options that you can choose from:
Free of Cost Options
Here are some free of cost options that you may consider for your child:
1. After-School Club
There are many schools that offer after-school club activities for kids of various age groups. Some of these clubs include Chess Club, Robotics Club, Drama Club, Dance Club, Book Club, amongst many others that are usually organized free of cost or are included in the school curriculum. If your child loves spending time doing such activities, you can check with the school and get your kid enrolled for the same.
2. Seek Help from Family, Friends, or Neighbours
If you are blessed to have your family members staying in the close proximity of your kid’s school, you can always ask them to take care of your kid for a few hours every day after school. Another good option is asking friends or even neighbours to help you. In return, you can help babysit their kids, walk their dog, or be of any kind of other assistance.
Here are some affordable/pocket-friendly after-school daycare options that you can consider for your child:
1. The Care Co-Op Setup
This is one of the most economical options for parents, and the basic idea behind this kind of after-school care setup is to get together with parents who have the same child care needs as them. In this setup, either the parents or the nannies appointed by them share the responsibilities of the kids. This option works best for families who have children with similar needs and interests.
2. School Enrichment Programs
Another viable option for parents looking for affordable after-school care options is to opt for school enrichment programs. Enrichment programs can include museum-based programs, art and craft activities, tutoring, etc. Such programs are usually run by tutoring centres, children’s museums, recreation centres, libraries, etc.
3. After-School Sports
Opting for an after-school sports program may work well for older kids such as the middle school kids. Some schools conduct after-school sports programs. If your kid studies in one of these schools, you can seek information about the practice sessions and enrol your child.
4. In-Home Daycare
Another affordable option is to enrol your child in an in-home daycare centre that is usually run by people who love spending time with children. But, before you choose an in-home daycare, research about the centre, and talk to the parents who send their kids there. Also, ensure the centre and the professionals have a valid license from the state to run the daycare.
5. Consider Teenage Babysitters
You may find quite a few teenage babysitters who are ready to earn easy pocket-money after school. This option is way more economical than hiring a nanny. However, you need to select a reliable teenager for the job. You may require going through more or less the same procedure as hiring a nanny. You may ask family, friends, or neighbours for references.
If you do not have any kind of monetary constraints and want to know the best options for your child, well, here are some full-price options that you can consider:
1. Off-Site Sports Programs
If your child is a sports enthusiast, then this is one of the best options you can consider. You can weigh and choose from the programs that are run in close proximity and offer transport facilities. Sometimes these programs may also include homework help, and snacks for the child. The price starts at $600 and depends on the services and facilities they provide.
2. Off-Site Tutoring Programs
Tutoring programs are a perfect way to help your kid excel in studies and to spend his time fruitfully after school in any chosen field. The tutoring programs can include fine-tuning your child’s skills in a particular area, for example, Reading, Math, Computer, etc. Because your kid gets guidance from trained instructors, such programs may get a tad bit steep to afford! You may need to shell out anywhere from $650 a month or more, but it can be worth every penny spent!
3. Hire a Babysitter or Nanny
If you wish to hire someone who has experience and expertise in providing after-school care for special needs or care for your child at home, you can opt for a nanny to do the job for you! On the other hand, you can opt for a babysitter too. Well, the difference between the two basically lies in the fact that nannies are trained and have prior experience in the field, whereas a babysitter is someone who likes to spend time with kids. There are many nanny agencies that you can hire a nanny from. You can also look on Craigslist or ask friends and family for references. The price starts from $10 an hour for a babysitter and $15 or higher per hour for a nanny.
Things to Remember When Choosing an After-School Care
When it comes to choosing kindergarten after-school care or after-school care for older kids, parents need to consider many important aspects. The most important one being the child’s requirement and your monetary situation! If your child needs extra help in a subject or two, choose a daycare program that can provide tutoring. If he is artistically inclined and likes to learn new skills, then enrolling him for a hobby class will be in his best interest. Also, the centre you finally choose for your child should be licensed, and the staff, highly professional, caring, and considerate.
As a parent, you need to make sure your child gets the best of everything you can offer him for his growth and development. Therefore, you must get in touch with your child’s teacher to be updated with the child’s areas of improvement and interest too. Speaking to the teaching staff, and the parents of the other kids can also help you find an appropriate after-school daycare centre/program that meets your and your kid’s requirements.