If you are planning to go back to work and you have a school age child, you may find yourself feeling anxious about after school care. Finding a place where your child should spend the time between the end of the school day and the end of your work day can be a daunting task.
After School Care Options
Not every after school care situation works for each person. When looking into after school child care, be sure to consider all your options.
Some of the options you may want to consider are:
- A school-based program. Some elementary schools have after school care on the grounds. If your child's school does not, another local school may.
- YMCA or other community clubs often provide after school programs.
- Local daycare facility. Some may keep younger children during the early part of the day and have an afterschool program in the afternoons.
- Home daycare facility. This is where your child would be in a home environment with other kids.
- You may try to seek out mother who has a child in the same school as yours and is willing to take on another kid in the afternoons.
- A nanny or babysitter who will keep your child in your home.
Be Prepared to Ask Questions of Potential Care Providers
When contacting potential after school care providers, you will want to come prepared. Having a list of questions on hand can help ensure you get all the information you need. Some questions for may include:
- What policies are in place to ensure the safety of the children?
- Does it matter that your child's homework be done before you pick him or her up? If so, you will want to make sure the daycare provider will take the time to ensure that homework is completed, and they will help when necessary.
- What hours are they open? Do they provide care on occasions when you have to work but school is not in session? Days such as:
- Snow days
- School holidays that aren't recognized by your work
- Early dismissal days
- Do they provide transportation from the school to their facility? If not, how will your child get there?
- What is the ratio of adults to children? This question applies to any daycare program. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education (NRC) website has some guidelines that you may find helpful. These numbers may vary slightly depending on the state in which you live.
- Does the after-school care program provide structured activities, such as arts and crafts? If so, what do they offer?
- Do you want your child spending time outside doing physical activities? Will that be offered?
- Do they provide snacks?
- If your child has any special needs, is the daycare equipped to meet them?
You know your child better than anyone. As long as you keep that in mind, you will find quality child care that will help keep him or her safe and happy until you can be with them again.