With many households consisting of two working parents, or a single working parent, latchkey kids are still a widespread phenomenon. Although there have been proven benefits (i.e. teaching responsibility and independence) when allowing older children some “alone time” at home, the majority of research indicates that latchkey children are more apt to have poor grades, indulge in unhealthy snacks, or watch inappropriate shows or internet content. Worse yet, these children are more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol and commit juvenile crimes. Most parents are well-intentioned and wish to have an alternative to letting their children come home to an empty house, but don’t see any other viable options. With a little creativity and educated research, there are alternatives to be found.
The Plattsburgh City School District has an excellent after-school program that is offered at all three elementary schools and the middle school. The 21st Century Program is a grant-funded enrichment program that offers fun activities, a safe environment and homework time for participants. Currently, the program is free to registered students. An additional pro to this choice is the location. The 21st Century usually takes place right at your child’s school and runs until 5:45pm.
Social networking has opened up a world of opportunities for contacting people regarding any inquiries you may have. Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are just a few of the sites you can use to post your specific childcare requirements. With a vast number of the population on one of these sites, word spreads quickly. Now, more than ever, you have a plethora of contacts at your fingertips!
SUNY Plattsburgh offers an excellent free service through the Career Development Center. By contacting Maureen Lavigne at [email protected], you can submit a job posting which will be placed in a prominent location for student job seekers on campus. The biggest benefit of this option is the quality of applicants you will receive and interview. With SUNY Plattsburgh having strong teaching and nursing programs, the likelihood of getting someone with expertise in child care is high.
The Plattsburgh YMCA has both a before-school and after-school care program, which is available for a monthly fee. A pro of this program is the significant discount for YMCA members and the additional activities the children are exposed to via their qualified counselors. Swimming and rock-climbing are just two of the fun sports these kids get to partake in!
Surveys have suggested that the amount of children in “self-care” is vastly underreported, due to the conflicted feelings parents have about this type of arrangement. The various choices offered in the City of Plattsburgh allow for several different types of care for your child, allowing parents to work guilt-free-knowing their children are safe and well-cared for. However, most of the after-school program options do fill up quickly, so the best move is to sign up in the spring of the preceding year for which you would like care, to reserve a spot.