After School for Pre-Teens & Young Teens
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After School for Pre-Teens & Young Teens
Looking for advice/ideas. My responsible and trustworthy 11-year-old
has hit the "too old for day care but not old enough to be on her own"
stage (3 hours from the time school gets out until parents get
home). What are others out there doing? Thanks for all responses!
My 11 yr old fifth grader stays home alone for 3 hrs after school once
a week and has done so since the end of 4th grade. He is very
responsible and we have never had a problem. So my first question is
are you sure your child's too young? Of course not all 11 yr olds are
the same, but I just wanted to offer my experience. I would not want
my son to stay home alone every day though, so here are some
ideas. Does your child have a friend with a stay-at-home parent or
sitter? Perhaps you could pay this person a small amount to care for
your child as well? Or a trade, even once a week (you would do your
hours on weekend).
Does your school offer any after-school activities? If not, maybe you
can get involved in organizing some. Finally, if transportation can
be worked out and you know of a family daycare who would welcome a
young helper, that might be a possibility. My friend paid her
daughter's old daycare for after-school care at the same time the
daycare provider paid the daughter a small amount for her help:) Or if
you know of a family with young children who would want a mother's
helper and could pick up your child? My son earned enough money for a
Nintendo when he was 10 as a mother's helper and the parents LOVED
it. Probably either of these last options would only be good for once
a week though.
Best of luck in finding a good solution. Deborah
regarding the 11-year-old in need of after school care: My kids attend
Berkeley public schools which all have excellent after-school programs that
run until 6:oo. The middle school ones are FREE as well! CampJN1
When my daughter made the same request to me a couple of years back, I
looked into the afternoon classes offered at our community center and
asked her to pick something for at least 4 aftenoons at week. Since the
school is close enough to the community center, she and a friend could go
there easily on their own and I would pick them up at the end of the
class. The 5th day she would spend it at her friend's house. As they have
grown older, I have relaxed somehow the number of days that she can be on
her own, but I still like to have her participate in afternoon activities
at least a couple of afternoons at week.
I am so interested in other responses to this question. I have an 11 yr
old too, who is constantly pushing the envelope for more independence. It
kills her to know that when I was 7 and 8 years old, I was walking home from
school alone (over a mile). She constantly asks, "If we lived in ____,
would you let me walk alone with my friends?" She screams when she sees
groups of kids walking around in Piedmont (this is the reason she wants to
live in Piedmont!).
Are there other 6th graders at your daughter's school who are in "day care?"
(ie, afterschool program) Maybe if she saw it as a homework club, it would
feel differently. My 11 yr old doesn't mind staying at Afterschool because
she gets to hang out with her friends, and it also allows her to get her
homework out of the way.
She does have a friend (also 11) who is regularly left alone at home, even
at night, for several hours. I'm not quite comfortable with that yet. We
probably leave her on her own at home, if I am picking up her younger
sister, or going food shopping, for up to an hour, but that's it. I heard
somewhere (?) that the police consider any child UNDER 12 who is left alone,
to be child neglect. But that's a slippery period, in middle school, making
that transition. We have had 12 and 13 yr old babysitters! (in the past)
Is it possible for your 11 yr old to go home with another friend, at stay
with them (doing homework or hanging out, with supervision) until you're
done with work? Or what about other afterschool programs like sports, etc.
(my daughter does swim team after school, and now we are negotiating about
letting her take public bus from school to pool)
10 is the legal age for a kid to be home alone in California. The real
question is how mature is your daughter, or rather how responsible. If she
knowes not to answer the door or the phone unless given a pre-determined
signal, not to have friends over, where to go to get help in case something
does happen, that kind of stuff, I sthink it should be alright for her to
stay home. If she is afraid to be home alone, that's a different story. My
son has been staying home since he was ten, but we have a neighbor who is
there in case he needs her so he's not totally alone. He's sixteen now and
this arrangement has worked out well. My daughter is 8 and in a before/after
school daycare situation. I would prefer to leave her there rather than make
her brother bring her home as she has other kids her age to play with and
can get homework help as well. It just works out better for her that way and
it's only around the corner. My son knows if I'm not home by a certain time
he has to bring her home. Marianne
When my boys were this age and younger I hired a nice college student from
Cal to hang and help for the afternoon. The young women we had were
energetic, smart, athletic and terrific to have around for homework help,
music practice, snack making and other afterschool activities. The students
felt less like babysitters and more like older, cool friends. I know this is
kind of expensive and might not work for all. It was great for us. I ran ads
in Daily Cal to hire them. Good Luck
A friend of mine has hired a "tutor" for her 12 and 14 year old, and it
seems to work well. He oversees homework and any afterschool activities. I'm
pretty sure she's always used UCB students. The kids seem to love it.
Can anyone suggest afterschool activities that might appeal to my
14-year son, a BHS freshman? Most of his interests seem to be ones for
which there are no organized activities - rock music, computers,
skateboarding. He is not into team sports, and though he has a YMCA
membership, he greatly prefers hanging out with his friends after
school to walking over to the Y. Hanging out isn't a problem yet, but
I'm worried it could become one as the year progresses, and I can't
really leave work every day to meet him at school and make sure he's
not getting into trouble. Anyone know the status of the skateboard
park the mayor was talking about for a while? Or have other
suggestions that have worked for their kids?
First, did he asked you for ideas? Don't assume he wants them, if he didn't
Also, most teens put the highest priority on "hanging out" and socializing
with their friends. This is normal and ok!
Our teen hangs out with his friends all the time. We regularly have one or
more stay for dinner so they can continue to hang out if there's no big
homework required, and that way we get to know his friends too. They also
play computer games together at our house, or go to the arcade. If your son
is into computer stuff, there are plenty of interactive games he could be
playing with kids/people who are friends from here and from all over the
world (using the internet). (9/99)
Have you heard about Berkeley Bear Swimming? Its a private swim club for
school-age kids, with structured workouts and competition. My 15 year-old
daughter loves it. The high-school kids work out at West Campus after
school and there is a group that takes the bus from BHS, so transportation is
easy. You can get more info from the head coach, Daryn Glasgow,
925-299-9411, or the office manager Janice Price, 510-724-0529. There is a
website (which is partially under construction) http://www.isbest.com/bears
I have an 11 year old daughter who needs something to do after school too.
She doesn't really need a caretaker and, being a single parent, I cannot
afford expensive programs, but she is a little too young to stay alone. I
was hoping to find someone who cares for small children to let her be a
helper.That way she would gain supervised babysitting experience (she loves
younger children), I would have somewhere for her to go after school, and
the caretaker would have some assistance. Does anyone know anyone who
might be interested in a situation like this?
This is always a tough one. There's lots for grade school kids and then
the high school teens have their own school stuff. There's a real void for
middle school teens. Some thoughts though are:
1. Young Actors Workshop (YAW) with Drama Dept. at Contra Costa College.
It's free. The fall program has already started but keep an eye for their
auditions in November. There's always some kids from King Jr. High who are
in it and carpools are set up.
2. Berkeley YMCA - teen membership for $19/month. There's other sports
3. Edible Schoolyard at King. I am not sure if this is a class project or
4. There are baseball and basketball teams around.
5. Bear Swim Team. After school every day from 4-5:15 PM at King Pool.
No try outs.
6. Jobs: Mowing lawns, yard work, around the house helper.
7. King Jr. High will have some afterschool classes when their GATE
program starts. It is open to all students.
I suppose I should be completely hardened about this by now, but it still
amazes me that communities worry and complain so much about teenage kids on
the streets and yet continue to be unwilling to provide safe and fun
afterschool activities for them. We were just discussing this at the office
the other day--about how difficult afterschool care becomes during the
middle school years. Two people in my office whose children just made the
jump from elementary to middle school (thereby losing access to on-site
afterschool programs) have reduced their time at work or otherwise arranged
convoluted flex schedules in order to be at home with their kids because
there are no accessible, affordable afterschool programs for 12-13-year-olds
that don't involve a lot of chauffering on the part of the parents. Not
everyone can exercise that type of option at their jobs. Enough griping--on
to suggestions. The UC Village Community Center may have some afterschool
activities for teens, if your son can get there easily. Is there any
possibility of getting him involved in a volunteer capacity in a field that
he likes (helping in a sports or arts program for young children, for
example, or volunteering through the Senior Center to help elderly people
with caring for their pets)? Best of luck!
The Albany Recreation Center, at Marin and Masonic, next to the Albany
Library, has some after school activities.
this page was last updated: Jan 20, 2011
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