It’s that time of the year again when working parents are faced with the dilemma of what to do with their school age children while they are working. For many, the talk of school twelve months a year is an option that would solve this problem once and for all. Since this hasn’t come to pass in most of the county let’s look at some of the ways that parents are preparing to survive the summer. What childcare options are best and also available causes a great deal of stress for many working parents.
Summer Childcare Options
I am the mother of three grown children, I worked full time through most of their childhood. The first year that I worked during the summer I asked my mother-in-law to watch the children for me. My own mother was still working full time and was unable to help me. This is was not the ideal solution but it was inexpensive and I knew that the children would be well cared for. Today’s grandparents are younger and more active however and may not be available.
Many families resort to using other family members to help to bridge the summer daycare situation. In some cases, a barter system may work where there is an exchange of services. Other mothers can also be a valuable resource. Networking with other families who have children in your neighborhood is a good way to trade babysitting time.
My daughter is a full time working mother of five sons ranging in ages from 3 to 21. When the older boys were younger I interviewed her for an article, here is what she told me “My employer has been very good about allowing me to have flex time so that I can take care of my children during the summer. They let me work short hours in the office and then work from home. This allows me to supervise the children, drop them off for play dates and to take advantage of programs offered in our town. In a pinch I can bring the three younger children into the office with a DVD player and let them watch movies in the conference room. I would not be able to afford full time daycare all summer for the three of them so I am very grateful to my boss for allowing me to continue to work and be a good mother as well.”
Sleep away camp is the refuge of the wealthy but most average families will find it beyond their means to do full time summer camp. Don’t write it off completely though, there are scholarships available. Especially if you have more than one child, it may be possible to qualify for one. Don’t wait until the last minute to look into all the opportunities there are available in your area. Consider camps run by local organizations like the YMCA and 4H and the Girl and Boy Scouts.
May local churches run at least a half day bible school during the summer months. You don’t need to belong to the church to send your children to their bible schools. The cost is usually minimal and the children are well supervised and entertained. With careful planning this can be a very big help in getting through the summer months.
One option that some families use is working opposite shifts. This way there is always one parent available to keep the children occupied. It involves a lot of schedule juggling but if done correctly can be the cheapest way to manage summer care.
Teens are often looking for work during the summer months and if you can find a trustworthy and reliable teen who has proven that they are capable of handling children full time, this can be one of the least expensive options. There are also au pairs who come from Europe for the summer to find work in the US. Many agencies who handle au pairs are available , be sure to understand completely what your au pair will expect from you as well as what you will expect from her. Nannies are another source of child care. This can be less expensive than you might expect and you will get exactly the services that you want.
Local day care centers are often the easiest option to consider. They already have all the facilities in place for childcare and they are well equipped to handle the influx of children that summer can bring. This is not an inexpensive option but for many it is the most available.
Don’t forget to schedule your vacation for summer time as well if you can. This will allow at least two weeks where you can spend time together with the kids without feeling any guilt about time away from work.
“Summer time and the liv’in is easy” and with some careful though and long term planning, it can be a fun filled time for children and a productive work time for their parents.
I have been an Internet writer for more than 16 years. While I specialize in travel, I write on a variety of subjects. I love genealogy, food, and fashion. I have 10 grandchildren so family travel is something we often do.