Find the Right Solution for Your Family
by Simon Family JCC Staff
When school lets out at 2 or 3 PM, but mom or dad can’t be home from work until 5 or 6, after school care is the answer.
There are a lot of options out there, each with its own pros, cons, and price tag. The key is to find the right balance for your family.
Here’s a breakdown of the most frequently chosen solutions. For all of the following options, we recommend parents check several references for any potential caregiver who is not a family member or close family friend.
Option 1: A parent or family member:
Obviously this is the least expensive option for after school care. If a family member is available, it can be a great option.
Its pros include strong bonding between your child and the caregiver—a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. It also allows for flexibility.
Unlike a formal center, Grandma is unlikely to enforce a “closing time” by which you need to pick up your little one.
Cons are the lack of a curriculum and extended peer-to-peer socialization and the need for a plan B in case your child’s caregiver is sick or goes on vacation.
Option 2: A babysitter or nanny:
Depending on the amount of time needed and the experience of the caregiver selected, the price can vary greatly for an individual caregiver. The pros and cons are the same as a family member caregiver, including pros: a strong relationship, and greater flexibility for timing, and cons: lack of curriculum, and the need for a back-up plan.
One additional pro with a paid babysitter is the possibility of negotiating some light housecleaning into the after school care duties, which can be a major pro for working moms and dads.
Option 3: In-home care:
There are many families who turn their homes into daycares, and will take after school charges.
Especially here in Hampton Roads, you can find military spouses or other stay-at-home moms or dads who open their homes to other peoples’ kids—for a fee. The cost of in-home care varies.
You’ll have to do your homework to find the right fit. The pros of in-home daycare are the family-feel of your child’s care and the addition of other children into the situation (unlike options 1 and 2).
The cons are the wide spectrum of quality you can find at in-home situations. Some come with engaging learning activities and homework help; others are little more than supervised television viewing. Additionally, getting your child from school to the in-home center can be a challenge.
Option 4: A formal after school center or program, like Kids Connection
Formal before- and after-school programs will likely be more expensive than an in-home center, but less than some nannies. However, many also have scholarships or financial aid options that in-home centers simply cannot offer.
A formal center will have a firm closing time (and opening time for before school care), which can be a con, depending on your work schedule.
Pros of a formal program include:
a defined curriculum that, when done right, will improve school performance
opportunities for socialization and friendships
physical activities to promote fitness and health
very little, if any, screen time
at some programs, transportation from school (and to, for before school programs) is included
At the Simon Family JCC, there’s a reason we call Kids Connection, our before and after school program, an enrichment program. Kids Connection is not a babysitting service. We aim to provide experiences that support the whole child: socially, emotionally, physically, and academically.
Hands-on, self-directed experiences and activities and study in science, math, history, reading, writing, classifying, and reasoning culminate in exciting, non-traditional means to demonstrate mastery, such as science fairs and mock trials—students learn while having fun!
We create a safe, caring, and fun place to work on school homework, burn off energy, and help children to form friendships through group games and sports activities in a diverse environment. Transportation is provided to and from most Virginia Beach public schools. See the full list here.
We’re putting the final touches on a brand new space for Kids Connection. Come see for yourself at our Welcome Back Party, Sunday August 30 from 2 – 4 PM.
For more information about Kids Connection, please fill out our inquiry form, or call 321-2342.
Already ready? Our 2015-2016 registration form is now available.