After school care at secondary school?(70 Posts)
We live in SE London and have our eldest transferring to secondary. Until now I have always used the Afterschool care attached to the school however this won't be an option in year 7. Do any secondary schools run after school care for years 7, 8 and 9? I'd be happy to leave her at home until I return from work by year 10 but not until then really. I don't want the expense of a nanny and childminders are unappealing as she prefers to be in a larger group with space to run around and structured activities.
What do others do in this situation?
Your best bet might be to get her to do after school clubs. A huge variety, not just sport and music, are normally available. The problem with this though is that it may only be possible to do one club per day, usually for an hour maximum, so it might not fill up all of the time. Have a look on the school's website - there might be an after school club timetable on there to look at.
My DC have usually been allowed to stay in the library until about 5, to do homework. (At two different schools, both also in SE London). Check if the school offers this facility.
Thanks Leeds that is an option however I suspect they won't go up till 6.30pm which is when I get in!
I think by Y7 they are fine to look after themselves at home. Have some rules in place about what they can and can't do eg cooking, having friends over, starting on homework, making snacks etc. Get them to ring/text when they get in. Make sure they know what to do in an emergency. Is there a neighbour that they could go to if there was a problem?
Yes Seeline, I suspect a lot of parents feel comfortable leaving their children alone in year 7 but I personally don't. I remember having to look after myself when I was this age and I hated it. It's nice for this age group to have adult company and I would prefer to have someone looking after her.
I also recall reading somewhere that children shouldn't be left alone under the age of 14 - think this was an NSPCC website.
If she's in the library till 5 she probably won't be home till 5.30, 6.00 so would only be alone for half an hour. Tbh they grow up MASSIVELY once they start secondary, it's really no biggie to leave them home alone for an hour or two. NSPC IS
crap guidance only and implies they still need to be escorted to school at 14 which is ridiculous.
Your dc isn't you either- don't project how you felt!
I used a childminder for year 7 on the days I didn't get home until 6.30pm. It was ok for her, and she could get on with homework there. On other days when I knew I would be home by 5pm my DD came home and let herself in with a key. By year 8 she felt happy to stay at home until 6.30 or 7 by herself.
Have you asked your DD how she feels? I would have been furious to have been sent to a childminders after secondary.
I agree that being on her own till 6.30 is a bit too long in Y7. And school clubs and libraries won't be open that late. Would it be possible to make her own way to the after school club the younger ones go to? They are usually able to take children up to the age of 12.
Another option would be for her to go to a friends house or a relative. Or get a babysitter to collect the younger ones & bring them home to your house instead of using the after school club. That way there is someone at home but not "minding" her so she won't feel too babied
Or change your working hours for a year or two so you get home earlier.
Ncpcc do not say children shouldn't be left alone until age 14 that's ridiculous. Your child so it's up to you, but you are being very overprotective. Hence why you will struggle to find childcare.
I'd be surprised by any secondary with after school care as such. As others have said, it's normal for the Library to be open until 5pm and there will be after-school clubs but it is unlikely that these would be the sort of childcare you seem to be after particularly as they are often seasonal rather than year-round in a lot of schools. There just isn't enough demand for that sort of childcare for secondary age children to make it worth it.
14? You will not be able to find childcare for a 12 or 13 year old, and I suspect she wouldn't want it anyway.
Your best bet might be to have a mother's help/part time nanny/ au pair or even a cleaner who will be at home with your dc after school until you get home.
Honestly I think you are being unrealistic in thinking your child will still need some sort of child care in year 9, but I also know it's hard to imagine how quickly they will change.
I am a very over protective mum and worried sick about dc1 being home alone but then I put my sensible head on and got on with it. I had no choice as I have more than one child who were at two schools then. Now I have three schools. Dc1 was home alone for half an hour every day for two years with the occasional alone for an hour. Dc2 more sensible, worried less. Both stay home up to two hours with together or alone and are fine. It will be okay. I was left alone from eight and it was hell so I understand but you need to start preparing your child as being childminded until year ten is ridiculous.
I remember having to look after myself when I was this age and I hated it
OP, have you actually discussed this with your dd? All children are different and feel ready to be left alone at different times. My 3 have been very different in terms of their developing independence. My middle dd has just finished Year 7 and she loves having the house to herself, she likes the peace and quiet and the telly to herself!
I would agree that at 11/12 she'll probably be the oldest child at a childminder's!
Do you work full time, so out till 6.30pm every day? You might not know yet but your dd might want to do some after school clubs on some days to break up the week a bit.
Kids who go to "after school care" of any description would get laughed at in my ds's soon to be school.
They can stay in the library or homework/social area until 5pm.
I personally think we mollycoddle kids too much & unless a child has SEN (both mine are ASD but I'd still be happy to leave them at home) they need to start gaining independence.
Wow- some quite strong responses there! I can see a lot of people think their children are ok to be left, but nevertheless I don't feel comfortable leaving my child.
Projecting titchy? I wonder if A lot of parents make assumptions about their children's maturity which are clouded by their own needs/ unmet needs? I'm a social worker and child psychotherapist - so see a lot of children who have had to take up self care and caring responsibilities too early, and can see the impact this has on them. Also, as stated I have personal experience based on my own parents lack of funds to provide adequate care at an age I would still have liked it. I just don't think it is fair to leave them alone at that age. Adolescents need just as much care and nurture as younger children but for some reason many people think this lessens as they turn 11!
Andnowitsseven: This isn't about being over protective it's about being fair to my child and not expecting her to grow up as quickly as would suit my purse and schedule!
Anyone, else want to add to the debate? Let's keep it less personal though please. We are all entitled to make our own choices about our children.
I'm a social worker and child psychotherapist - so see a lot of children who have had to take up self care and caring responsibilities too early, and can see the impact this has on them.
You see a lot of children traumatised by coming home after SECONDARY on their own, do you?
The only real option I can see for you is to either give up work or re arrange your hours.
But please do talk through it with your child. They may seem fine with it now but once at secondary when they see the freedoms their friends have they may well rebel or be made to feel babyish for having to go to childcare.
My personal view is that children need to build up gradually. So I behdn by leaving them for half an hour to an hour around thecside of 10, building up to 2 hours. Dd is now 13 & about to go into year 9 & she's fine alone for a morning or afternoon.
There is a HUGE difference between a child who is virtually neglected & left to self care & one who is trusted to make their own way home from school (though ds has openly told me he will be popping into town with his mates for a milkshake etc en route) & spend a couple of hours waiting for a parent to arrive home from work. Time that can be spent doing homework/music practice etc.
Of course they need care and nurture - all children do. But to suggest that being home alone for an hour or two is depriving them of that care and nurture is ridiculous. Kids also need to develop confidence and independence, and to feel that their parent trusts them and has confidence in them.
And I don't think anyone blindingly assumes their kids will be quite happy with being on their own - mostly we actually talk to them to see how they feel, and build up to leaving them.
Gloria I don't think the OP has a problem with her child making her own way home & being alone for a while, it's the fact that she doesn't get home till 6.30 is the problem. That would be three hours around here.
And what is deemed acceptable also varies from area to area.
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