Summer Care Choices: What's Right for Your Family?
provided by Care.com
Summer is, no doubt, the high season for child care. When kids are out of their regular routine, many parents scramble to find 8 to 10 hours a day of child care. That’s a lot of summer sitters, temporary nannies, and summer camp! And it can cost a lot of money, too. Many families spend half of their child care budgets during the summer.
Even stay-at-home moms, moms who work from home, and those with only preschoolers have to plan ahead for summer care. You might be wondering how you’re going to handle those blocks of time when your little ones start to get stir crazy after a season of being cooped up indoors.
Check out these tips and ideas for keeping summer fun for your kids - these ideas won’t break your budget and they'll give you peace of mind while you’re at work or need to get something accomplished without your kids around.
Look for local classes or day camps. Whether your child is into art, dance, gymnastics, sports or singing, you can often find classes or a day camp that specializes in their hobbies. A local library is a great starting point to find classes. Check their summer calendar to see what’s scheduled.
Learning is always in season. Hire an art student from a local college to teach a class (anything from finger-painting on up), start a gardening group with someone from a local garden center, or bring on an athletic teacher to do a little light-hearted sports training. Many teachers and college students look to earn extra income by offering lessons over the summer.
Bring on a babysitter (or three). If you have a regular sitter who can handle oddball summer hours and shifting schedules, great! Make sure you have back-ups, though, for when she can’t make it. Using friends and relatives as caregivers is a great way to save money — just make sure you help them out when they need a sitter too. Keep a list of just-in-case sitters to stay covered.
Share-A-Sitter If you’re thinking about hiring a nanny or babysitter for the summer, why not split the cost and share with another family? This works great especially if you only have one child. In a slow economy, full-time sitters are used to cost-saving arrangements. Just make sure you’re not overloading her with too many children. Generally speaking, caregivers shouldn’t watch more than three kids under age 6, four kids under age 12, or more than five of any age.
Co-operation is key! Babysitter co-ops are a great way to save money and organize playdates for your kids. Care Exchange is a service that helps parents connect with other families looking to share sitter services (for pets too). Other parents at your child's preschool or in your neighborhood might want to share. Email to the parents of your child's friends and see who’s interested in a rotating arrangement where families take turns watching kids. Five days of the week divided among five families equals one day of commitment … and four days of free child care!
While you’re busy planning out your summer, don’t forget to ask your employer to give you flex-time or let you work from home regularly during the summer months. Many companies are looking out for parents and relaxing policies to help improve work/life balance. Being at home with your children? Now that sounds like a great way to spend the summer!
No matter what child care options you choose, we hope you and your family have fun, stay safe and have a terrific summer!