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Help a Mom: After school care for middle schoolers

Posted January 8, 2013

I received this question from a reader who already is on the look out for after school programs for her son when he enters middle school in the fall.

Here's what she wrote:

I have a son who is in elementary school now and attends an after school care program. It works out great since I work a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. He will be going to middle school next year and I am having trouble finding after school options for him. It amazes me how most of the programs out there are for elementary aged kids. Do parents leave their 11- and 12-year-old children home alone? I just don't feel comfortable doing that. Besides, aren't those tween/teen years when our kids would really benefit from some sort of after school activities to keep them out of trouble and give them productive options. Please help :)

The YMCA of the Triangle offers after school programs, serving most elementary and middle schools in Wake, Durham, Johnston and Lee counties. Click here for details. The N.C. Division of Child Development and Early Education also has a searchable form with details about facilities that care for kids up to age 12. I have some calls in elsewhere about other programs and will update with another post as I hear back.

But I know there must be other programs out there too. Parents of middle schoolers ... what do your kids do after school?

Please share your tips in the comments box below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.


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  • ReaderJen Jan 10, 2013

    If it's available, the Boys & Girls Club is a great option! We are using them this year because they have better programs than the Parks & Rec AfterSchool program.

  • shall6 Jan 9, 2013

    A comment from my inbox:

    Check with your local library -ours in Rocky Mount offers a homework help program that allows kids to go to a special place in the library and help each other (in a very quite/structured environment) get homework done and socialize with other kids their age.


  • Bklyn2Raleigh Jan 9, 2013

    I guess I will eventually find this out...but am curious to know if the school bus transports children home if they stay for an after school club.
    Some great info here, ladies. Thanks.
    We do not live in the greatest neighborhood. I guess that is my main worry about my 11 year old being home alone. After some of your suggestions, I found out the YMCA does provide after school care for the Middle School he might go to. That is somewhat of a relief. I am really just surprised at the limited amount of choices. Makes me want to quit my job and open up and after school program for middle school age kids LOL

  • bjpearce161 Jan 9, 2013

    The first half of 6th grade, my daughter went to the YMCA after school program. They have time for homework there. The second half of the year we decreased attendance to 3x per week at a reduced rate. With her other evening activities it was easier to meet her at home than go to the Y, feed her and go back out. She did great for the couple hours alone. (Her sister, age 17, was there some days but usually asleep)

    This year, 7th grade, we started at 3X per week and by December dropped afterschool completely. She is getting more rest at home, so far no problems. Now we are teaching her to start dinner! (she will be 13 in March)

  • angelienna Jan 9, 2013

    Clubs usually do not go until 5pm and are not every day.. maybe one day a week usually.

  • Bklyn2Raleigh Jan 9, 2013

    Hi tidymaid
    any info would be great!

  • tidymaid Jan 9, 2013

    Hi! I have a solution for this mom. If she will give me a email, I might be interested in helping her....

  • Lovestosave Jan 9, 2013

    Noah's Ark in Apex has a great program for middle school kids.

  • missparrothead Jan 9, 2013

    I think the YMCA does have after school care at some middle schools, or at least provides transportation to the local YMCA. My son attended a church program afterschool while in 6th grade. I was very fortunate in that it is downtown raleigh, where his school is, and my office. This yr, in 7th grade, he rides the bus home and calls me when he arrives home. He knows what he needs to do- homework, chores, etc. A couple days/wk, I work from home, so he rides the bus home.

    Check w/other moms in your neighborhood who are in a similar situation. See what you can work out. I agree...its a very "in between age", and all kids mature at different ages/stages.

  • dmj Jan 9, 2013

    Aren't there clubs that go on after school? I'm going to be in the same boat in the fall and that's what I was hoping we could do.