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Afterschool "childcare"; for 11 and 13 year old - do you have any? What works?

(36 Posts)
Anna8888 Wed 03-Sep-08 13:36:46

We are looking for ideas - the boys' nounou has resigned, the mother wants an au pair but wants us to find her, we aren't sure an au pair will work for such "old" children.

What do you do, if anything?

MrsWobble Wed 03-Sep-08 13:55:32

I'd start with thinking about what you want the person to do and then identify the right person for that spec.

My children are 13, 12 and 9 and we have a daily afternoon cleaner who also collects the youngest from school (a 10-15 minute walk) and gives them tea.

We worked out that our prime requirement was for a responsible adult to be in the house and that the children didn't need full on nanny care. This solution has worked for us so far (3 months).

Anna8888 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:01:33

MrsWobble - yes, my thoughts are going in the direction of a daily cleaner type person who would be a responsible adult and would know the house ground rules but not actually enforce them - just inform parents of whether they were being kept.

One of the major difficulties is that the boys have different and terribly irregular timetables - they start and finish at different times every day of the week. The school day can start at any time between 8 am and 11 am, and finish at any time between 10 am and 5 pm. There is no way that there is going to be a responsible adult around all the time they are at home unless they have a nanny. But they are too old for a nanny - which is why this one is resigning, really.

Anna8888 Wed 03-Sep-08 14:59:12


imananny Thu 04-Sep-08 10:41:31

as you need more care than just 3 hrs after school - I would go for an AP who can also clean/iron a little as well and prepare a meal for your children

though tbh most 11 and 13 should be able to cope for a few hours after school by theirselves - I was a latch key kid (as called those days) and came home,made myself a snack,watched tv and did homework

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:07:51

imananny - I agree that they can cope a bit but the problem is their totally variable timetables - DSS2 (just 11) will get out of school at 10 am on Wednesdays and 1 pm on Fridays. Potentially a lot of time alone at home sad.

Anyway, we are working on the "mature cleaning lady" hypothesis. I don't think food preparation is necessary.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 04-Sep-08 11:16:25

blimey those hours do cause a problem don't they. I was just about to post that my brother and I took ourselves home at this age with no problem at all but we were only alone from about 3.30 - 5pm.

I would say I agree with the cleaner-plus-a-bit option. Perhaps if she's there for a few hours every afternoon that might be enough - then even if one of them is out of school at ten, he'd only have a couple of hours alone at the most.

And they'd have a very clean house.

TheGirlWithGreenEyes Thu 04-Sep-08 11:20:13

I would have said an au pair/cleaner would have been ideal apart from the irregular hours thing.... are there any after-school activities on the days they finish especially early?

Could they come to your house on those days (or be looked after by your dc's carer if you are at work)?

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:21:08

The hours are a nightmare Honoria. The timetable is a fortnightly one (ie a ten-day cycle), so they don't even have the same variations week on week.

What it boils down to is the French government forcing parents to leave children aged just 11 at home alone for a large part of the week, on the assumption that most parents work and it is nigh on impossible to employ someone (even if you can afford to do so) to cover such variable hours in such a dull job.

Which I find shocking. But there are many things about state secondary school here I find very shocking, and my stepsons are in a very good state secondary school.

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:23:48

TheGirlwithGreenEyes - my daughter is at school all day with regular hours, and I work irregular hours within those hours, so there is no-one "free" to take care of him, and on Wednesdays my daughter is off school but has activities that I take her too. And there are no organised activities for 11 year olds within what might be school hours.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 04-Sep-08 11:23:57

It does sound a social nightmare - can imagine some of the kids in the city nearest me, and what they'd get up to if they were out of school and home alone at ten am...doesn't bear thinking about. What a weird set-up that does sound, I wonder how on earth that came about...obviously for the convenience of someone OTHER than working parents...

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:24:55

My DSS1 isn't such a problem - he has more school hours and is better at looking after himself. It's DSS2 that is the worry.

imananny Thu 04-Sep-08 11:25:58

finish school at 10am - whats the point of going in?

though I know as you are in france you do earlier hours at school - sounds a right nightmare tbh

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:28:40

Honoria - I can assure you that parents' needs are not taken into consideration by the Ministry of Education. But then, in France, the logistics of daily life are often extraordinarily harsh and time-wasting. Just getting through the day can be quite a feat, before you do anything pleasant.

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:31:41

imananny - yes, on Wednesday he starts at 8 am and finishes at 10 am.

On Tuesday he starts at 8 am and finishes at 3 pm / 5 pm (alternate weeks). On Thursday he starts at 8 am and finishes at 5 pm.

He's going to be knackered with all those early starts sad

sinkingfast Thu 04-Sep-08 11:36:54

If you're always off on Wednesday, can he not come with you to some of the activities? Or can you not employ a nanny every Wednesday who will either stay at home with DSS2 or take DD to some of her activities?

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:40:27

I am certainly not going to employ a nanny to take my daughter to actitivies on Wednesday - that is our special day together. But I won't have time to wait for DSS2 to return from school before having to leave with my daughter to get to ballet etc, he wouldn't in any case want to hang around ballet school and he ought to be getting on with homework.

DSS2 will have tennis on Wednesday afternoon, to which his grandfather will drive him. So that will use up part of the day.

sinkingfast Thu 04-Sep-08 11:46:46

Couldn't grandfather drive DD to ballet (and you pick up)? Or could he meet DSS2 from school and he goes to his house?

This really doesn't seem insurmountable, just a case of everyone having to give a little.

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 11:51:19

sinkingfast - your imagination is running away with you.

Grandfather cannot possibly chauffeur DD to ballet or pick DSS2 up from school - he is not a taxi driver wink, his wife is extremely ill with cancer and he has quite enough on his plate. He can take DSS2 to tennis because tennis is at the sports club the family belong to and grandfather gets a little freedom to see his friends while waiting for DSS2's tennis lesson.

sinkingfast Thu 04-Sep-08 11:56:23

Gosh, they were only suggestions. I'm sorry his wife is so ill but when making my suggestion, I didn't know that. In my family, giving another family member a lift makes you helpful, rather than a chauffeur tbh. Picking DSS2 up once every two weeks didn't seem like a biggy <shrugs>

Will bow out now with my overactive imagination grin

Kewcumber Thu 04-Sep-08 12:04:59

Do a deal with one of the othe non-working parents or get an au pair. I can imagine many au pairs would love to have such an easy life and get to live in Paris as well.

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 12:17:54

Non-working parents? Ha ha ha. This is Paris wink

Think it is actually too boring and lonely a job for an au pair. We have decided against au pair for that and other reasons.

Anyhow, DSS1 has just rung me up with his timetable. We now know exactly when DSS2 will be on his own (ie without his brother) at home during working hours. So the question is how we fill them.

HonoriaGlossop Thu 04-Sep-08 12:42:06

I'd fill 'em with plans to move somewhere with a SANE school timetable grin

Anna8888 Thu 04-Sep-08 12:50:56

Honoria - I've been waging a campaign to move the boys to a private school where they would have a better timetable (and a wider range of activities/subjects) for quite a while but their mother finds it much more convenient for them to be at school down the road from her house.

However, when it comes to sorting childcare for the odd hours, she doesn't think it is her responsibility at all... sad angry hmm

At least I am forewarned by having stepsons so many years ahead of my daughter - I know all the peculiarities of the French school system to be alerted to when making decisions for her, in due course.

islandofsodor Thu 04-Sep-08 20:01:30

Are they physically able to get to school and back eg. it is walkable/public transportable or does it need a car.

I woudln't bother with childcare for an 11 and a 13 year old to be honest. I would have resented childcare myself at their age. Are they fairly sensible?

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