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Balance Tips - 8 Child Care Options

Balance Your Life with These 8 Child Care Options

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Finding balance in life is especially complicated when you’re working, going to school and need child care. If you don’t have a built-in babysitter, what are your choices? Balance your life with these eight child care options.

1. Relatives

If you're lucky enough to live near family, call on grandma, grandpa, your sisters and brothers, any family member who is willing to help you. But, and this is a big but, don't just assume this is a service they're willing to provide. Have a conversation with them first. Talk about:
  • How important school is to you
  • How your life will be different when you graduate
  • Exactly when and for how long you need help
  • What you can do for them in return

While your family loves you unconditionally, in most cases, try not to take advantage of the people who are closest to you. Understand the strain you are putting on them, don't abuse the time they've offered to give, and be sure to do whatever you can in return.

2. Play Dates

Play dates with the children of your friends and fellow students can be one of the best options for child care. You watch their children for an hour, an afternoon, an evening, and they watch yours another day for the same length of time. It's an even swap.

3. On-Campus Day Care

Non-traditional students are becoming so common on campuses around the country that many schools now offer day care right on campus. Fees and hours vary per school. Check with your counselor, or non-traditional student council if your school has one. You might be surprised by how hard your school will work to help you succeed.

4. After-School Programs

If your children are school age, you probably already know about after-school programs, but if not, check it out. Many schools have programs for children whose parents work late or go to school and can't pick up their children until late in the afternoon.

Many communities also have youth centers that work with the schools. Kids can sometimes get dropped off at the center if it's on the bus route.

5. Community Programs

Depending on where you live, there may very well be a program in your community designed to help working parents and students care for children. Check city hall, your chamber of commerce, and any other community organization you think might be able to point you in the right direction. It never hurts to ask. If your community doesn't have a program, they might start one if they hear from enough people with a need.

6. Current Day Care

Don't overlook your current day care situation. Just like community programs, if a daycare business gets enough requests for extended hours, they just might be able to accommodate you and all other parents like you trying to balance school, work, and life.

7. Church

Many churches provide day care options for their members. Check the bulletin board, ask the church secretary. If your church doesn't have a program, someone there will probably be able to connect you with a babysitter of an acceptable age.

8. Babysitters, Nannies, Au Pairs

If you can afford a babysitter, nanny, or au pair, you're probably not consulting this list. If you're not that lucky, consider the possibility of sharing a babysitter with a fellow student or neighbor. And remember that a babysitter might be the best option for you even if you're taking an online course at home. You can't concentrate on learning if you've got small ones running circles around your desk.
Related Video
How to Choose an After School Program

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