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after school care for 12 year olds

10 replies

5moreminutes · 07/12/2016 15:47

I work part time but on a rota (so not the same days each week, but never on Friday). All my kids go to after school clubs Monday - Thursday. The younger 2 enjoy theirs but I dont send the youngest (nearly 6) if I'm not working as it makes his day very long. DC2 prefers to go every time for social reasons.

My eldest has decided she hates her after school club and is going on and on and on about it - it's come to a head as the school has recently said children are either enrolled or not and cannot just attend sometimes (so she can no longer be signed off after school club on days I don't work).

12 yo wants to come home on the bus after school and stay home alone for 2 hours. In average this would be 2 days a week but as it's a rota some weeks 4 days, some weeks I'd be home every time.

I'm not concerned about her being in the house alone (although not really happy that she'll probably mess about on her phone once she's done her homework instead of the wholesome activities at after school club) but am concerned about not knowing she's home safe and her missing the bus or losing her key.

She is very used to getting the bus (does it every morning and on Friday) and to being home alone by choice while I run the younger children here and there, but not to coming home to an empty house with nobody due home for 2 hours.

Her main argument against after school club is that it is too loud (but also that her best friend has stopped going... Hmm )


OP posts:
PlumsGalore · 07/12/2016 15:50

Difficult, she is at that in-between stage. I remember when my DD started high school and a girl in her class walked home (over a mile) and let herself in, she literally had a key on string round her neck like the old days. I was shocked. This was every single night of the week.

However DS would come home at the same age as your DD and let himself in, but we only lived a couple of streets away from the school and his GPs were a couple of streets away too if he lost a key.

I think I would make a compromise and say when she turns 13 she can pack in the after school club.

Seeline · 07/12/2016 15:53

Many 12 yo do this when they start secondary.
Can she not ring/text you to let you know that she is home?
Are there neighbours she could go to ifshe lost her key who could give her a spare?

BigSandyBalls2015 · 07/12/2016 15:54

I think most 12 year olds with working parents go home alone. 2 hours isn't very long - give it a go and see how she gets on. It is a tricky inbetween stage but there isn't much childcare around for this age group, and most of them wouldn't want it anyway.

Chasingsquirrels · 07/12/2016 15:54

I'd have no problem with this at all.

OlennasWimple · 07/12/2016 15:58

I have no problem with this either - get her a cheap PAYG mobile so she can let you know that she is home, and you can let her know eg if you are running late.

SerialReJoiner · 07/12/2016 15:58

It sounds like she's had plenty of practice. Ensure a few ground rules are in place and see how it goes.

Fairylea · 07/12/2016 16:00

She just needs to text you to let you know she's home okay surely?

I wouldn't have a problem with her being home alone for a bit. Just have some ground rules about what she can / can't do.

namechangedtoday15 · 07/12/2016 16:07

We do this - Year 7 (but not quite 12) a couple of times a week. As PP has said, a few ground rules. We live about 1.5 miles away. We have a route whereby she only has to cross main roads via pelican / zebra crossings and she is along main roads (as opposed to quieter roads). She rings when she is leaving school and then rings as soon as she is home.

On the weeks where it is 4 days, could she stay at school in the school library (think ours is open until 5.30) or drop in at the local library on the way home (just to break up the week)? Give her some money so she can go get a milkshake / cookie on the way home with a friend (if anyone gets the same bus as her?).

TheSnorkMaidenReturns · 07/12/2016 16:10

I think that sounds fine. Is she in year 7 or year 8?
My DC1 and all friends walk home by themselves after school - surely that bit is normal. My DC1 also has a key and 'lets himself in'. There is normally an adult at home, but sometimes I'm taking another child to a club and DC1 has expressed clear preference for staying at home on computer rather than sitting in car trailing round after younger siblings. I think that is fine.
Two hours for four days a week is quite a lot at that age, but it depends how often it is. Can she invite a friend around?
DC1 had a friend around when first left alone after school. They ate crisps and played computer games. In complete safety.

5moreminutes · 07/12/2016 17:08

We are rural so live about 10 miles from school - yes she is used to getting herself to and from but if she misses the bus it is a 2 hour wait for the next one, which only stops 2 miles away (but outside DC2's school...) She could go into the library Tuesday to Thursday but it is closed on Mondays.

Once off the bus at our end there are lots of neighbors she could go to but no guarantee they'll be in of course. She could probably find someone and I used to think I could assume she would, but revealed few months ago she came home when I wasn't working but knew I'd be back after her and she had left her key in her locker, forgot our conversation about me being out and sent me panicked messages which I didn't see straight away as I was driving and failed to think if going to a neighbour. She just sat in the garden, which is OK in autumn but not winter!

A friend does take the same bus but of course could be ill... Her other friends live in other villages - she cycles to her BFF sometimes but its 4 miles so not keen if they are both home alone esp in winter.

The after school club is free so it seems a pity to give it up, but she is very grumpy about going!

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