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Q • My husband and I have two children in elementary school and our jobs require us to leave the house super early. The before-school program doesn't open before we leave, which means that they are waiting for the school bus by themselves at least 45 minutes before any other kids get there. What do other parents do in these types of situations that are working for them?

From a reader • My husband and I were in the same position. To make matters worse, we are new in our neighborhood. A few weeks before school, we went up to our kids' school and asked the principal if she could offer any options. She checked to see if there were any reputable childcare facilities close by that would take the kids for an hour or so before school. She did find one and we signed them up. Maybe talk to your principal or the teachers and see if they have any recommendations. — Lynn Clark in Boise, Idaho

From Jodie Lynn • Consider asking a neighbor to take care of kids in the morning. Of course, investigate them out first, including checking the sex offender list and interviewing them face-to-face if you don't know them well. 

Be sure to look for pets and ask how they do around strangers, especially kids.

Always introduce your children to the person/people that you are considering before making a decision.

Since just about everyone could use a little extra money, the before-school situation might work out well for a stay-at-home mom or an individual who is retired.

You could also see if there might be a teenager whose schedule would allow them to come over to your house and watch the kids.

Another option might be to talk with your boss and present your dilemma and ask if you could come into work later and leave later.

Your husband could do the same, and the two of you could share the responsibility.

This would also allow the two of you to trade off certain days of each week.

While I'm sure that both of your jobs are important, I agree with you: in today's society, it's definitely not a good idea to allow your elementary school-aged children to wait by themselves for 45 minutes at the bus stop or anywhere else.


What's the best way to talk to our 7- and 9-year-old about all the violence involving the recent shootings? They're back in school and have already heard things from their classmates, so they're asking questions. We're afraid if we tell them too much they'll get more upset, confused and start having bad dreams. If we tell them too little, they won't be as safe and aware of their surroundings as they should be.


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Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.