The New School Year and Your Options For After School Childcare
Back to school is a relief for a lot of parents. The end of summer means the end to juggling between summer camps, babysitters, and family outings. It’s a guarantee back to our regular routines that we’re accustomed to 9 months out of the year. But even with back-to-school routines, there still remains a childcare gap for many working parents.
But the typical workday ends between 4-5 pm. While the typical school day ends between 2-3 pm. This leaves an hour to two-hour childcare gap.
This after-school childcare gap can cause a lot of anxiety and frustration in working parents. It may mean negotiating for lower salaries in order to leave earlier in the day. Or it may mean working after hours after the kids have gone to sleep. Both of these scenarios can impact parents’ relationships, mental health, and overall mood.
There’s no perfect after-school daycare program for every child. Each child is unique and therefore will require different needs childcare opportunities. But if you’re struggling with after-school childcare options, we’ve compiled a list of resources and programs that support working parents throughout the entire workday.
School-based After-school Programs
Many school districts support working parents and offer some sort of after-school program for children in elementary school. If you’re unsure of what your school has to offer for after-school care, call them to find out your options.
Sometimes there is a fee and other times school districts will offer after-school care for free. It all depends on your location. This could also be a good way for your kids to stay connected to their friends at school. There is less interruption and they continue their day in the same place until your workday is over.
In addition to schools providing care, there are also companies and nonprofit organizations that offer after-school care options based in your child’s school. These are sometimes more focused on specific extra-curricular activities like art or science. Your specific school will have all the information you need to make the best decision about school-based childcare.
Community After-school Childcare
Unlike school-based care, community childcare is held outside of a school campus. There are programs like local YMCA’s, recreation centers, religious institutions, and other community centers that offer child care programs after-school.
This still leaves transportation as a challenge if the care is based out of the child’s school. Programs like YMCA sometimes offer student shuttles to and from their schools. If this isn’t an option in your region, try coordinating with other parents on carpooling and transportation.
Nannies are great options for families who can make the budget for them. Nanny care truly helps working parents with individual care and attention, but this individualized care comes at a cost.
Some families are working together to create their own community nanny-share programs. In these scenarios, families will work with a nanny who is available and willing to care for more than one child. This keeps the child-caregiver ratio low, saves money for families, and allows children to interact with others outside of their household. Because parents consolidate the costs, nannies are also paid fair and livable wages.
“It takes a village,” wasn’t created out of abundance, it was created out of necessity. Raising children isn’t for the faint of heart, and if you have family close by and able to help, reach out to them for support.
Grandparents are great, but they don’t have to be your only option. Maybe you have a college-aged niece or nephew who can help on certain days or an older sibling. You can negotiate with family as well and offer stipends or meals in exchange for their help.
Care That Works for You
As the school year begins, there are childcare options for you and your family. Whether you’re enrolling your child in a school-based program, a youth club, or joining a nanny-share program you know what’s best for you and your family’s needs.
And we know that sometimes childcare options fall through, which is why we’ve created a resource that supports working parents both by connecting them to quality caregivers and utilizing your company’s care benefit through a helpful and easy-to-use app.