For the Love of Latchkey

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Life as a working mom has so many challenges, especially when school starts at 8:57 a.m., but you have to be across town and clocked into work by 8:15 a.m.. Cue the stress! That is when latchkey, before and after school care, can literally save the day.

As a proud former School Aged Child Care (SACC) instructor and current SACC parent, here are some things you should know, as well as tips, to make the “latchkey mom”-life just a bit smoother.

  • Most of the instructors have attended school to enter the education field or have retired from it. Not only that, but many are a huge part of the school community! From covering lunch duty to working in the office and substitute teaching, chances are your child sees them throughout their day at school.
  • When your child attends SACC, it makes their day longer. Just like you, they need time to decompress after a long day at work. Rushing off to a sport or dance class every night doesn’t always give them a chance to reset after their long day.
  • Snacks will be your best friend and can save you from picking up an irritable child. Rushing to drop off in the morning with not enough time to eat (yeah, that’s me…every morning!)? Most programs allow students to eat breakfast there. And don’t forget the after school snacks! Most programs will allow you to store some snacks there, or just pack extra at the start of the week. Just make sure you double-check any allergies in the class.
  • SACC is time for your child to play and grow! In many cases, they are allowed time to do their homework if they chose. While many programs have educational-based projects to create and play with, keep in mind it is not extended school. There is creative play, music, board games, and outdoor play; it is time for your kid to be a kid.
  • Next time you are rushing in to drop off or pick up, make sure you say a quick hello and thank you. Like teachers, before and after school providers care for children like they are their own! Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate them. One parent used to bring us the occasional coffee and donuts! You obviously don’t have to bring treats, but just a quick “good morning” on the crazy mornings when you are running in with breakfast in-hand, shoes untied, and telling your child, “Hurry up, I am going to be LATE!” (I can’t be the only one doing that!), is much appreciated.

Do you take advantage of the latchkey program at your child(ren)’s school?
What do you appreciate most about it?

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