Working parents fuel growth in after-school programs

Keeping kids safe, having fun - easing parents' worries

POSTED: 6:05 PM PDT August 23, 2013    UPDATED: 10:18 PM PDT August 23, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

With the school year coming up fast, there’s a lot of big decisions to be making. One of them is how to keep your kids busy with positive activities -- and safe -- after they leave school for the day.

A report from ChildAction.org say about two-thirds of American families have single or dual working parents. With more parents having to work, the rush for after-school care is growing.

“After-school enrichment and after-school programs have really blossomed across the country,” Sue Jorgenson of Bend Parks and Recreation said this week.

Also, about two thirds of those working parents say they have experienced disruption in their workday because of child care issue.

Parental after-school stress occurs among many parents with school-aged children. This is when parents’ anxiety actually peaks from the hours of 3 to 6 p.m., when their kids are out of school.

Studies show that parent productivity at work actually declines when kids are getting out of school.

“There's an increase in productivity when parents know their kids are in safe, healthy environments,” Jorgenson said.

Parents can see positive results from after school care, but kids also seem to enjoy it.

“I don’t have to go and ...be bored,” said Nichole Rametes, an after-school care participant.

Being bored at home is the least of many parents’ worries.

"If they (parents) are not home, they (the kids) are probably alone, hopefully doing homework, but probably watching TV and playing computer games and whatnot,” Shawn Paulino of The Boys and Girls Club of Central Oregon said.

Sitting in front of screens at home means kids are not getting exercise, another benefit of after-school programs.

"They just think they’re playing a game of dodgeball, and really they are getting a little more exercise,” Paulino said.