One thing working parents have to think about as the school year draws to a close is planning for child care during summer break. There are a variety of options so it is important to begin thinking about this well before it is needed. Here are some suggestions you may want to consider.
Discuss summer child care with friends who have children. They may have advice on what worked for them and what didn’t. If they do not work outside of the home, they may even be willing to watch your children while you work. Be sure to discuss payment for their services to maintain your friendship. The extra money will probably be appreciated and will help cover food and supplies your children will use.
Child care centers are also an option, but these can be expensive. In fact, some parents will pay upwards of $7,000 for summer day care charges. That is a large chunk of money that most families cannot afford. The price may be cut for more than one child but it may not meet your budget.
Summer camps are one way parents handle child care needs during the summer months. These camps will often last three or more weeks, which means the children are cared for, occupied, able to spend time with or make new friends, and their needs are being met. Begin looking into the local summer camp programs that fit into your budget.
The local recreation center may offer quite a variety of programs during the summer. This may be a great option especially if you only need to have child care for a couple of weeks rather than the entire summer. Many recreation centers will allow you to enroll your children on a week-by-week basis, but you will want to find out what is available and sign-up as soon as you can as spaces may be limited.
College students are often available to supervise kids during the summer. If you know a college student, and feel you can trust them, this may be a good option. Ahead of time, discuss what you are willing to pay, what type of activities (if any) you would like to have your children participate in, and how long you will need their services.
When exploring this option, keep in mind that Early Childhood Education majors are usually a good choice, especially 2nd or 3rd year college students. You may want to contact the Education department at the college to see if they know someone who is available. Many of these college students already have experience, references, and some may even have lifeguard and/or CPR certificates. This may be important if your kids will be going swimming and will be kept in your home.
Local colleges and universities may offer summer programs available to the community. Some colleges allow local teachers and college students work in these programs during the summer. This allows them offer activities and specialized topics that may not be available during the school year.
To find out if your local college does sponsor a summer camp or program, check out their website. If they do and you like what you see, make sure to ask about discounts for multiple children as well as signing up for multiple classes or weeks and sign up before the deadline. There is often a waiting list for an available spot.
Local worship centers, synagogues and churches will often have vacation Bible schools that will last a week or more. Churches will often stagger their vacation Bible schools so they do not all run at the same time. If your child is interested, they may want to attend more than one.
Ask family members if they can help. If your family lives close by you may want them to keep the child at your home while you work. For family that doesn’t live nearby, allowing your child to spend a week or two with a favorite aunt or grandparents may be a better option.
There are so many options available to you for summer child care. You may have a difficult time narrowing down which ones will work best for you and your child. It might be wise to choose backup options in case the most popular programs are filled up. Be aware of sign-up deadlines and costs associated with your choices so you are ready when the end of school arrives.