You may think that April is too soon to begin to think about summer care options for your kids. The truth is that you should start now! The end of school and the beginning of summer break is just a month or so away.
In many households, both parents work outside the home. This means that summer time is a bit of a logistical nightmare. Even if your children are old enough to be home “by themselves”, it’s still a good idea to have activities planned for them. Boredom can lead to trouble!
Community Child Care
Many YMCA’s or local activity centers offer care for kids during the summer. Usually, the price of the care is relatively inexpensive and there are many activities planned during care time. Because of this, you’ll have to enroll your child early. Spaces fill up quickly.
Summer School/Extended School Options
Depending upon where you live, you may be able to sign your child up for summer sessions. This is a great way for your child to have a fun and educational summer!
In our area, the school offers enrichment courses for students during the summer. Parents can drop off their children before the leave for work and pick them up at the school after work. During the day, children learn about robotics, foreign language, and other interesting topics.
Many different organizations and businesses offer summer camp options which can help out with child care issues. A friend of mine hold an art camp for teens several days a week during the summer. If you have an older child, this would be a great way to keep them entertained during the summer.
Also in our area, the local horse ranch offers sleep away camp options for kids. For a price, the camp allows kids to spend an entire month at the ranch. The kids are there 24/7! This is a fun option for kids–it’s like a vacation for them. It also is an expensive option. Another drawback to this option is that you’ll need to find care for your child before and after the month long camping experience.
Day camp is another care option. This option is slightly less expensive than sleep away camp, but the cost is usually on the high end of the spectrum. Usually, day camps are centered around a theme. Your child may attend a day camp with a theatre theme, a sport them, or a whole host of other types of camps. These camps usually fill up quite rapidly too, so begin looking now.
Piece Meal Plan
Most parents end up piecing together a care plan for their children for the summer. The children may spend a week or so at day camp, another week at their grandparents, and an additional two weeks on “vacation” with their parents who had vacation time to use.
Remember, it’s best to start planning now to have the biggest selection of care options for your children. With some advance planning, they can have a great summer, and you can have some peace knowing that they are well taken care of during their summer break.
Flexible Work Options
In some cases, your boss may be open to a flexible work arrangement during the summer months. Perhaps you and your partner can stagger work hours to minimize the need for outside care. Perhaps you may be able to work at home or telecommute for several days a week. One mother I knew worked as a waitress during the school year. During the summer, her boss allowed her to take time off. He hired college students to replace her. When they went back to school, she began to work again. This worked out very well for her and her family.