I'm going back to work next Feb, with the baby going to a nursery. DS (10) and DD (8) have been going to an after-school club, but it's £13 for the 2 of them, plus £5 in taxi fares to get DS there, each day. I've then got to get there after work to pick them up.
Now, I was thinking. Given that I'll be home around 1hr 45mins later, would it be OK to see if a local teenager (a responsible 16/17 yr old) would look after them in our home after her/their school, with very clear rules for all concerned? Pay would be childminder rates, and there would be less running around for me, given that I'll also be picking up bubba from nursery. It would be 3 days a week.
Yes, I would do this if I was 100% confident in the teenager concerned. My boys don't actually need a lot of 'looking after' in the couple of hours after school, just someone to be around to sort out any crises or emergencies.
I actually bumped into a 'responsible teenager' I know in town today, and accosted her for phone number in case of babysitting duties.
My boys (also 8 and 10) would also be much happier at home with a minder to keep an eye on them than in an after-school club.
Will they walk home from school alone? Does the secondary kick out at a reasonable time for teenager to guarantee to be at your house before the children?
Oh, this sounds hopeful! I was thinking of doing it all by word of mouth. DS cycles home himself and could let himself in, and DD could come home with a neighbour and stay with him until the teenager gets home from school. The important thing is to make sure that DS and DD aren't left alone together
It depends on the maturity of the teenager I suppose.
I used to babysit for friends of the family who had children a bit younger than your dcs when I was a 15/16 year old teenager. It was about once a month on a Saturday night and I had the phone number of where the parents were going, the kids were either in bed or ready for bed when I went round and the dad always walked me the 50 yards home when they came back home.
Yes, I was thinking of having clear guidelines for both the kids in terms of what they must/musn't do (although actually they are pretty well behaved), and the teenager - ie no friends round, no long chats on the phone, no PC. Clear consequences for the DC, and emergency contacts should they be required. Does that all sound reasonable do you think?
This may sound over the top but if you do employ a teenager make sure you put them on a First Aid Course not only for your peace of mind but for theirs if you can. Childminders are now supposed to be police checked, to complete a chilcare course and have a First Aid qualification which is expensive. Out of the three though a first aid course is very important and trust me....is worth every penny (about £60.00 depending who you go to) as a simple thing as a bump on the head or a fall needs early treatment and to know how to deal with it is essential.
I did similar as a teenager, at age 17 I was doing daytime care for two children (age 5 and 7) during school holidays (at their home), as well as evening babysitting. I didn't collect children from school back then (as far as I recall), but no real reason why I couldn't - I was often helping at a local crèche back in those days. I also used to help at Beavers and Cub Scouts, so I had experience with young children, plus had done basic First Aid training and some pre-school playgroup courses as well (though those were aimed at working with children aged under 5).
Your issue I feel is finding someone suitable, someone you trust, someone your children get along with, someone who is committed. After all, it's better than a paper-round.
Thanks for all your posts here - I thought I would be shot down in flames, but it sounds as if it could work well. A family with 2 teenage girls has just moved in to the house opposite us, and they seem like a really nice family (the girls seem quiet and normal, with no unsavoury youths hanging about ), so I might approach their parents and see what they think. That way, their mother and my friends/neighbours would be right on hand if needed.