When parents send their children off to college, they may feel as if they are…
Five Childcare Solutions for College Bound Parents
Deciding to go back to college is both exciting and possibly a little scary. Even though you're eager to earn a degree, you're not sure if you can really balance going to school and your family life as it is now. If you have children, finding reliable, not to mention affordable, childcare isn't always easy. In this post, you'll learn some of best ways to solve your childcare needs as a college bound parent.
Reach Out to Friends and Family Members
If you're looking for a cost-effective solution, asking friends and family to help is the way to go. That's not to say they don't need or want some sort of compensation, but it probably won't be as expensive as an outside babysitter. Ask how much they would want to take on the role, what hours they have available, and whether they would want to come to your home or bring your kids to them. Keep in mind that not everyone will be able to help. They might have their own family responsibilities or not be physically able to watch children.
However, if they can step in, you need to be clear about what's expected of them. You should also have your finances in order before you ask for help. If money is already tight, your focus is probably on finding ways to pay for your degree, not paying for childcare. If that's the case, you should search for scholarships online before getting a loan. In many situations, you can find one that covers most of your tuition, either for several terms, or your entire time in school. It just depends on the type of scholarship you apply for and your financial need.
The student body of today is nothing like it was even 15 years ago. These days, more people over the age of 30 are returning to school and many now offer on-campus solutions for childcare. Depending on when your classes are, you might be able to take advantage of babysitting services while you go to class. In addition, you might not have to pay for it if you're considered a low-income student. If there is a fee, it'll still be lower than traditional daycares.
Nanny Services and Swapping
If you prefer to keep your kids at home, you could look to hiring a nanny. There are plenty of agencies that match you with the perfect nanny. Reputable nanny agencies will provide you with a complete background check of possible candidates, including criminal backgrounds. If they don't, it's probably better to find a different agency.
You can also ask friends or family whether they'd be willing share their nanny. Nanny swapping is another economical way to find reputable care providers for your kids. Since you're splitting the cost of care with someone, you can save money and not have to worry about hiring the wrong person. The legwork has already been done for you.
Free Community Resources
Community centers are also a viable option if you need help. There are a variety of a programs that offer after school care, summer camp, and even program for families who don't earn a lot of money. Your local health department is a great place to inquire about these types of programs. If you live in a community that has a housing association, they might also know of neighbors who can help you out, too. Just be sure to screen applicants the same way an agency does. Your screening process should include asking for a resume, references, and a complete background and criminal check.
If none of the mentioned options work out, you could opt for online classes. Since most of them can be done on your schedule, you don't need to worry about finding someone to watch your kids. The programs are flexible, meaning you can log in do your assignments when its most convenient for you. Some parents choose to do their schoolwork after their kids go to bed while others may choose to complete their work on the weekend.
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