School-age children often need care between school and the time parents return home from work or school. Many daycare centers offer an after-school program, as do community centers and churches. When deciding which center is right for your child, determine whether your child needs structured activities during these afternoons, or whether a quiet, relaxing atmosphere would be more beneficial. Every child is different, and so are most childcare centers. Remember, if your child has rigorous academic challenges during the school day, you may want to choose a program without a strenuous tutorial program. Likewise, an intense physical day at school may mean your child needs time resting with quieter activities. Also, check to make sure the caregiver in the center you select is concerned about your child's individual needs, rather than strictly financial gain. Some families prefer school-age children to be in ahome atmosphere after school, and elect to have a family daycare home provide a safe, nurturing environment. Another option is allowing family members, such as a grandparent or teen sibling, to care for school-age children. If you decide to allow your child to be home unsupervised, be sure you provide a phone number where you can be reached, a non-negotiable set of rules, and the name and phone number of a neighbor they can contact in emergencies.
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