1. Parenting

After School Care Options for Tweens

Some tweens are ready to be home alone, others still require after school care.

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When your children are younger you know they'll need after school care, but tweens are a different story. Some tweens may be ready to be left home alone for a few hours after school, others may need after school care for several years more, until they're ready and mature to be left alone. Some tweens require a little bit of both - a little independence, but not too much.

If you think your tween may need after school care for a little while longer, you'll need to look into your options regarding your child's care. Keep these ideas in mind when searching for after school care for your tween, and be sure you discuss the options with your child before you commit.

Does Your Child's School Provide After School Care?

Many elementary and middle schools offer after school care either through the school itself or through outsourced community organizations. These options are great for parents who need to find after school care for just an hour or two. Many programs offer flexible plans, allowing for daily care, or occasional care as needed. Be sure you check out the program thoroughly to make sure that the program is varied enough to keep your tween interested. If it's not, he'll quickly become bored and will no longer want to continue to attend.

Local Community Centers or YMCAs

If your child's school doesn't offer after school care, local community centers or YMCAs may. Students who participate in the these programs are generally bused from the school to the center, making it easy for parents. Such programs usually offer tutoring services, physical activities, crafts, games, and time for students to tackle homework assignments.

Volunteer Opportunities

If your tween only requires occasional after school child care, you might be able to find a volunteer opportunity for him that will help him foster his citizenship skills as well as provide a safe environment for him for an hour or two every week. Look into volunteer opportunities at area museums, churches, your child's school, or your local library.

Friends and Neighbors

Friends, neighbors, and relatives may be willing to watch your child occasionally. Offer to coordinate an after school child care co-op, each of you taking responsibility for a particular day or week. Even if you can't watch other children during the week, you might be able to help other members of the co-op by watching their children on the weekends.

Clubs, Service Groups, and Sports

Extra-curricular activities can be fun for your tween, expand his horizons and provide you with much needed child care. Look into opportunities at your child's school, through youth sports organizations, or local parks and recreation departments. Other organizations to consider include service groups such as the Girl Scouts or the Boy Scouts of America.

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