1. RelativesIf 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 DatesPlay 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 CareNon-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 ProgramsIf 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.