GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Kids are going back to school in person, and for many parents heading back to the office, it means you may need to find before or after school care for the first time in a long time. We take a look at how you can find a safe program that’s in your budget.

At the Glastonbury Family YMCA, kids gathered together in person doing crafts, challenging their skills, and maybe most importantly: socializing.

Braelyn Avery is one of the kids signed up for the YMCA’s after-school program at Buttonball Elementary.

“We get to see each other every day that we go to the program and I love the food, it’s so yummy,” Avery said.

The Executive Director of the program, Sarah Ralston, said the demand for these programs is increasing statewide with kids back in the classroom and parents in the office. Many are looking to find something like this for the first time.

“It’s really important parents feel comfortable with where your children are after school,” Ralston said.

Finding a program for many families is a necessity. Ralston said there are ways to ensure you’re choosing one that’s safe.

“All before and after school programs have a record with the early childhood, so it’s really important that families know that they can go online and see what inspections look like, which policies are being followed, what might not be followed and what they’re doing to keep up with guidelines.”

It’s great to look for a program with activities outside of their normal routine so they’re not just sitting and doing homework. While that’s nice, but something different. For example, trying their hand at making comic books.

And of course, there’s the cost. Many programs offer assistance. You just need to ask about it.

“We accept Care 4 Kids in all of our programs, most others do as well. So if parents are struggling with finances, that’s definitely something you should look into so that you can make sure to get your child in the right program.”

Because at the end of the school day, it’s about giving you peace of mind and your child a safe space to grow. Whether it’s building, exploring, or coming up with new ideas together as a team.

Now where to find a program like this? Word of mouth in your community is best. You can also check out your local YMCA’s, community centers and the Office of Early Education to see what’s offered in your area.