5 Options for Summer Child Care and Summer Camp
For parents who work outside the home, summer can be an awkward time when it comes to finding appropriate and affordable childcare. The good news is that parents in this situation have lots of viable options at their fingertips. The one (or ones) you choose will be largely dependent on the amount of care your kids require (time), their ages and your budget. We’ve highlighted 5 possibilities for summer childcare that just might fit the bill for you and your family this year!
Having a dedicated in-home caregiver during the summertime is the ultimate ideal for many parents who feel more at ease knowing that their child is spending time in familiar surroundings when they aren’t home. Many college students home on break offer their time and services for this purpose. Pros: Kids stay where they are familiar, fewer transportation costs, dedicated care for your children alone. Cons: You provide the food and snacks, kids may not get out as often as they would at camp or elsewhere, can be cost prohibitive.
Getting together with a group of other parents for shared in-home childcare is a great way to go for those who want to pool resources and caregivers. Kathy Murdock of EveryDayFamily.org explains the arrangement: “Several working parents in my neighborhood got together and hired a local high school girl. She will sit several children at once. She is certified in CPR and took a babysitting course through the local Y…she switches houses each week; the ‘host house’ pays for the lunches that week for purchasing sandwich stuff and drinks.” Pros: Less expensive than a personal babysitter, children are better socialized, better compensation for sitter likely. Cons: Less one-on-one attention for each child, often requires that kids of varying ages get along well (sometimes a challenge!).
What does your child enjoy doing? Playing soccer? Acting in plays? Painting? Whatever it is, you can bet that there is a summer camp for it. These camps are often less expensive than full-bodied summer camps because of the narrower scope of activities. Pros: Specific focus and community for the child, generally less costly. Cons: Sometimes have shorter hours, can be boring for kids with a wide variety of interests.
I’m sure we all have fond (or not so fond) memories of going away to summer camp, sending notes home to the family and coming home in August with lots of new pen pals. Overnight camps are great for kids with little to no separation anxiety and great for parents who need a break. Pros: All meals and laundry are taken care of by the camp provider, kids form especially close relationships with camp friends. Cons: Can be more costly than day camp.
A good daytime summer camp is the perfect solution for many parents. Day camp is a good middle ground between a home-based babysitter/nanny and sleepaway camp and in terms of hours of care during the work week, is often about the same as the regular school year. This provides both parent and kids with little schedule adjustment. Pros: Same care hours as the school year (in many cases), structured fun. Cons: Sometimes more costly than a shared sitter.
Now’s the time to make your decisions regarding summer childcare. If you live in Chesapeake, Suffolk or the surrounding Hampton Roads area, we invite you to consider Apple Tree’s daytime summer camp, International Spy Academy. Our summer camp runs from June 16 to August 29 and will be full of fun, age-appropriate educational activities, field trips and “espionage.” Visit the summer camp page for more information and call your nearest Apple Tree Learning Center location to register.