There’s no question among parents that I’ve spoken to that safety is a priority when it comes to their children going to school. The question I HAVE heard out there is, “What am I supposed to do about work!?” Some of you and so many of your child’s classmates parents are working jobs that that don’t allow you to earn money if you don’t show up for your shift, you aren’t able to make up work hours and may not even have sick or vacation days available. Here are some ideas for dealing with those situations, I know it won’t help everyone, but I do hope it helps some of you. You can also see this story on Fox59 by clicking the images below.
1. Check with local YMCA Before and After School programs and At Your School programs to see what their policy is for drop ins. There may be an option to register ahead of time and only use the program when you need it. At the same time, check on their delay and cancellation policy. In many cases you’ll be able to take your kids to the program even during the delay, they just may operate on a two hour delay from their normal start time, which is still earlier than the school start time.
2. Get to know the other parents who have children at your neighborhood bus stop or who have children who attend school with your kids. Cultivate a community where you help out when you can lend a hand and another parent can help out when you need it. Maybe take turns being late for work or missing work. If you have the type of job that allows for you to work some of your hours from home or on weekends or after work, do that. If you have a job that doesn’t, talk to your co workers ahead of time and see if they would be willing to pick up your shift last minute, work part of a shift for you or trade if it was an emergency.
3. Talk to your child’s teacher or principal. They may have connections to resources that you are not aware of.
4. Leave them alone if it’s appropriate. Indiana, like most other states, does not have a legal minimum age requirement but the Indiana Department of Child Services offers a great brochure resource for helping you decide if your child is ready. A very big way that parents can gauge their child’s readiness is to think about how responsible they are when parents are home. Are they making wise decisions, are they doing things that they are supposed to be doing? The DCS resource walks you through questions like that. As a parent, preparation is key and waking up in the morning and deciding that today is the day, is probably not the best time to try it out the first time. Try it out when it’s not such a critical time.
On the contrast, if you are a parent that can lend a hand, talk to your child’s teacher or school principal. Let them know that if they are aware of someone who is struggling, you can help transport, you can host a child for the delay or whatever it is you are willing and able to do. We’re not all in the same boat but we can do our best to make someone’s load lighter.
One of the most important lessons we can learn from these situations is that we need to build that village that everyone always talks about, you know, the one that it takes to raise a child? It’s also important to be prepared and reach out for help when we need it.