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What to do with a new Y7 after school and during hols?

(20 Posts)
kernowal Fri 06-Sep-13 20:29:31

I have exactly the same issue. I'm sending DD to the tennis club one day each week, but every other day she will be catching the bus, then walking back to a friend's house to collect her bike before cycling home to an empty house for an hour or so. Friends have offered to help out, but I'd rather be able to call in favours in an emergency (eg. the school have just announced a half day for a new parent's eve) than use up all goodwill at an early stage. I've decided to play it by ear over the next few weeks before the evenings start to draw in, see if she joins any after school clubs (which create even more problems, as they often get cancelled at the last minute and there isn't a bus service afterwards) and then reassess. This time next year I will hopefully be wondering what I was fretting about.

Try your local NHS trust for school holidays. Ours has a holiday club going up to age 14 with things like circus skills. It takes locals as well as the children of NHS staff. Our primary after school club can technically still take children aged up to 14, but they only have 1 or 2 secondary age children and tend to treat them more like an extra helper than as one of the little ones.

pointythings Thu 05-Sep-13 21:29:28

My DD1 started Yr7 last year and we had the same issue. Before and after school she, my younger DD (Yr5 at the time) and another friend would do everything collectively - mum of friend dropped friend off here, they all walked to school, DD1 split off halfway and joined up with other friends. Same at the end of the day, except DD1 took up netball, basketball and drama club so she and friend were back late most days. DD2 took up athletics and debating, so same thing. Both schools walking distance.

I'm in the NHS with long service so I get a LOT of leave - so for half terms the DCs would only be 'home alone' for 2 or 3 days. And they have loved it - they would veg a lot, go to the local playground or for walks by the river, do a bit of shopping for us. They are both mature and sensible and DD1 had contact phones for me and DH.

Summer holidays they are still in a scheme run by the local USAF base and will be for one more year - this will end when they are 14 and 12 and by that time they are well able to entertain themselves over the summer. We're very lucky to have the summer scheme and I agree the summer holiday is the logistical/financial nightmare (but I don't want it shortened, Mr Gove!)

Linus33 Wed 04-Sep-13 07:17:57

Well, only one more day to continue to worry about this as he starts school on Thursday. I've eased him in by letting him stay home alone for a day while I was at work. In a typical 11 year-old style he didn't get dressed all day - or wash - and ended up going back to bed in the pjs he wore all day! He played x-box, watched tv, read and (wait for it) tidied and hoovered his room shock!!

We're in Cambridge and I've posted on the Local Mumsnet pages too. Same kind of advice as here. Makes me wonder if there is a need for more structured care for Y7s? I guess if there was someone would have sorted it!

We're lucky in one respect, DS can walk or bike to school so doesn't need to try to manage public transport.

tiredaftertwo Sat 31-Aug-13 10:26:14

IME, it is expected that they will come home in the dark alone, and will do local journeys to eg sports clubs in holidays alone. I have older teens now, but one thing I would do differently is to teach them how to do other local journeys - not just the one to school - alone in the summer of year 6. Doesn't mean they have to, but then they are practised should the need arise. Assuming you live in an area with good public transport of course.

teenagetantrums Sat 31-Aug-13 09:18:35

I wouldn't worry about after school, in my experience they don't normally get home until after 4pm anyway,so he will only be alone for an hour or so, especially once they have made new friends by he time they get out and faff around talking ect. I would make sure you tell him no friends in the house while you are not there, you don't want to become the local hang out. Holidays are more difficult luckily I had friends with the same age children who were happy to have them hanging out thier houses during the day when needed and them I took their children for weekend days out to give them a break.

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Sat 31-Aug-13 09:09:06

My first thought at the idea of DS going to library until 5 was, he would be coming home, alone, in the dark during the winter months.

thesaurusgirl Sat 31-Aug-13 09:04:19

My friends employ a postgraduate student as a babysitter 5 days a week and all day during the holidays.

More flexible than a childminder but still providing adult supervision for things like homework and supper. It's a prime gig for the student as well.

mankyscotslass Sat 31-Aug-13 08:52:57

I've been looking for DS1 YR7 as well, but there are only a few clubs in our borough that cater for his age group, but they only run 10-3, and are not local to us, so that's probably out.

Sorting the other two out (primary age) is a piece of cake compared to this.

tiredaftertwo Sat 31-Aug-13 08:46:12

The holiday clubs do only seem to run 10-4. I think you have to train them early to get up, have breakfast, lock door, go on their own. That's why I'd start on that now as the first few times they are bound to forget one vital thing! They don't seem to be advertised very early. Do you want to say where you are - people might know of something?

And take any chance to meet other parents. There might be someone in the same position.

Linus33 Thu 29-Aug-13 15:50:09

Thank you all. I can't talk to other parents at the school either as DS is only one of two going to the secondary from his primary school and the other mum doesn't work holiday time. So thank you for your advice!

Still looking for holiday activities which seem to be very sparse - nothing being promoted for October half term yet which seems strange. Checked out Startrack and unfortunately they don't run in our area but I'm sure I could find some tennis/football club around but if they only run from 10-4 that's going to be tricky with work.

Yes, Talkinpeace his pre-teen hormones might well have kicked in by them and half the day will be gone before he surfaces! grin

And, I thought juggling was hard at primary! I had no idea what was coming did I??

Talkinpeace Wed 28-Aug-13 18:43:57

Secondary schools are much more mellow about opening hours than primary .
Often there are activities before school - so kids start to flow in from 7.30 onwards
Almost always there are things after school so they can work, or do sport or just chill with mates easily till 5 most days

and in the long holiday next year .... he'll sleep!

Sparrowfarts Tue 27-Aug-13 23:15:48

If he's sporty, look out for Startrack athletics holiday courses in your area - they go up to age 14.

tiredaftertwo Tue 27-Aug-13 23:06:59

OK, so you look like you are sorted for term time. I think getting a homework routine established early is really important in avoiding rows and trouble later, so if you can get him to take an hour in the library seriously, get his work done then, he can arrive home with you with it done!

And I would't worry about him being on his own for an hour or so anyway.

And as you are normally home by five, that is not such a long day in the holidays then but I think you will still want some activities. I would get him practised now on not losing keys, locking up and so on, and a bit of local travel, then if opportunities arise for half term you've got the nuts and bolts sorted.

exexpat Tue 27-Aug-13 20:58:45

I expect if you ask around you will find there are some options for at least up to age 13 during holidays.

The holiday club DD goes to, which uses the buildings/facilities of a big private school but is open to everyone, takes 9-13 year olds in the general kids club, and 13-16s for more specific activities (sport, drama, photography, music etc).

The local council also runs quite a lot of sport/multi-activity things during school holidays for all ages up to 16, but they often don't cover a full working day, so unless your DC can make their own way there and back or you only work part-time anyway, they are a bit useless.

There are also things like PGL or holiday activities run by the Youth Hostels Association, if you'd be interested in sending him away for a few days or a week (can get expensive, though - YHA is cheaper than PGL).

Otherwise, maybe taking in turns with other parents to be around to loosely supervise a few of them hanging out at each others' houses? But they do grow up fast, and although your DS might not seem responsible enough to be left all day now, by the end of year 7 he might be.

ThreeBeeOneGee Tue 27-Aug-13 20:50:14

Library after school sounds like a good idea; he can get some homework done and there'll be others doing the same. I'm sure the school will have some clubs happening after school too.

The holidays are trickier. I have also found that a lot of day camps only go up to age 11/12.

There are some companies that take older children and they often involve them in a leadership programme to give them some responsibility. A friend's teenagers have been to one called Barracuda's.

DS1 did a sailing course this summer (available up to age 15) and I know of another boy who did a lifesaving course. Sometimes these are only for 6 hours though.

Yonihadtoask Tue 27-Aug-13 19:48:40

Hanging on at school is a good idea. He can do his homework then too smile

The 'nursery' by us actually takes Dc up to the age of 14 for before and after school care. Not many use it, but I know when my DS was younger and went there, there were a couple of boys who were in Y7 and Y8 who walked from high school to hang out there for an hour or so until their parents collected them. Rather than going home to an empty house.

With regard to school holidays, I always worked part time - so would try and do some swaps with his friends' parents.

It's a funny age - and not all DC at age 11 or 12 are as confident at being left t fend for themselves, but it won't be for long. smile

Linus33 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:44:18

Thank you. I'm feeling assured smile. I think the school's library is open until 5pm and this is probably the way to go - at least until he gets into the after school clubs. We'll be home from around 5pm so it's not like we'll be leaving him for too many hours and it won't be for the whole week as I work school hours twice a week.

Holidays however are a different challenge. I can't find anything for October half term in our area! Need to do some digging

Leeds2 Tue 27-Aug-13 14:10:35

There are holiday clubs around for secondary age, at least up until 14, but they don't seem to get much publicity. Most also seem to be in the Easter and summer holidays, and not half terms.

My daughter has done tennis and multi sport camps (at local tennis club). She has also done netball camps, although probably not of interest to your son! I know her friends have done drama stuff (I think organised by Stage Coach), and have helped out at holiday camps for cubs and brownies (friends were already scouts and guides). If he is a scout, there are of course scout camps. I believe some local churches also run holiday clubs, although I have no experience of these.

Not terribly helpful, but might give you an idea of where to start looking!

After school, I would encourage him to join after school clubs. Hopefully, it will help him make friends in his new school as well as keeping him busy.

tiredaftertwo Tue 27-Aug-13 13:26:23

No, of course you are not smile.

There are likely to be several options, but you may not know what is workable until he starts. The school library may be open till 5, there may be supervised homework sessions at school, sports and other clubs may run after school, he may get involved in other activities, he might be able to go to a friend's house one night, he may be happy to come home, make a sandwich and do his homework and watch tv till you get back some nights. How long is the gap likely to be? If he gets set regular homework, then I think having a snack and a drink and a chat to friends, then going to the library to do it, and coming home with it done, can work very well - as long as you can keep a weather eye on how it is going. I would try to establish a routine fairly early so he does set things on set days, and you don't have umpteen panicky calls and mishaps

IME, holidays are much harder - I would not want to leave a year 7 all day, but nor did I find they were up to organising much, locking up properly, remembering money and keys and so on. I'd start looking now for some sort of holiday activity that is aimed at his age group - sport if he is at all into that or if not maybe a local drama group or similar? Some local authorities run summer schools and so do some secondary schools, or have outside organisations using their premises, and most football clubs run holiday soccer schools. They are often ten-four or something like that but at least it gives the day a structure. They seem to peter out at about 14/year 9, are often separate from the under 11 provision, and not particularly well known or advertised, I suspect because kids that age travel to one they like so not so local.

Linus33 Tue 27-Aug-13 13:10:25

My DS is starting year 7 in September and I'm not quite sure about leaving him to fend for himself after school and during holidays while we're at work. He really doesn't want to carry on going to the childminder as he's getting bored and he's the oldest there by far.

What do others do? It seems that some of the holiday clubs and such like are just aimed at primary ages and don't cover the over 12s. Am I just being an anxious over-protective mum?

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