School’s out. Now what?

We asked readers of our weekly e-newsletter, Minnesota Parent This Week, what their biggest afterschool challenges are and what solutions they’ve found. Here’s what you said:

I work for the school district, so I can be home within 30 minutes of my child getting off the school bus. My biggest challenge is finding somewhere for her to go for that 30 minutes. Paying for afterschool daycare doesn’t make sense since it is only for 30 minutes! Luckily, in St. Paul the rec centers offer free childcare called “Rec Check.” Students in grades 1–6 can check in with program staff, have a snack, and receive help with their homework. They just need to be picked up
by 6 p.m.
— Alicia Garcia, St. Paul

The times when we both have appointments that run late in the evening are our biggest challenges. We try to have our teenager available for coverage, but sometimes that doesn’t work out so well with afterschool activities. So we pay the extra daycare fees.
—Christopher Schmitt, St. Paul

My child is not in school yet, but I definitely think daycare, particularly centers, should be more affordable!
— Kim Vaye, Minneapolis

Our kids are watched by grandparents.
— Allyson Dressel, Winsted

[One challenge is finding] options for the family that doesn’t qualify for assistance, but cannot really afford afterschool care. The in-betweens are difficult.
 — Crystal Brown, St. Louis Park

Transportation! That seems to be the biggest obstacle.
— Becky Lohnes, Minneapolis

Finding affordable programs that also are enriching. Solution: Husband works at home. Try to choose carefully throughout the year the things we really think are worth the money and not do everything. [Another challenge:] Deciding when [kids] can stay alone for short periods of time. Solution: take it one day at a time.
— Wini Froelich, Brooklyn Park

Transporting my children from school to daycare is my biggest problem. I solve it by carpooling with other families.
— Alison Westrud, Maple Lake

[Challenge:] Doing homework. [Solution:] Let [kids] know that they can’t play with friends until it’s done.
— Donna Krouss, Golden Valley

[One challenge is the] time between the end of school and my end of work. Sometimes older kids are around, some days it’s right off the bus to piano lessons and such.
— Beth Hammer, Golden Valley

I decided to find a job with a flexible schedule, so I am at home when my kids are done with school, ready to drive them to their activities. I am a real estate agent.
— Katie Erickson, Coon Rapids

My kids aren’t old enough for school yet, but I have helped my neighbor out quite a bit by meeting buses, picking up one of her children at school and driving her to daycare, and watching one or both of her kids while they wait for Grandma to arrive! Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to my turn to figure all this out for my own kids!
— Erica Marston, Minneapolis

[One challenge is] knowing that you have found the right place for your children. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, get referrals, and let your kids go for a test run first. It has to be enjoyable for everyone!
— Alyssa Petrie, Chanhassen

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