Summer is almost here! Summer is a happy time for kids. But for many working parents, summers can be stressful. You might only be able to take one or two weeks off for a summer vacation with your family. How do you keep your kids busy, happy, and safe the rest of the time?
Summer camps are a great solution. In most areas, you can find a summer camp for every interest, ability level and age group. And many camps have extended care programs that allow you to drop your kids off for the whole day while you are at work. But many popular summer camps fill up quickly and may no longer be available. And summer camps costs can add up, especially if you have more than one child.
So what can you do to keep your kids busy while you work? Here is a working parents’ survival guide for this summer.
Ask your children what they want to do this summer. What are your children interested in? Ask them what they want to do before enrolling them in a program. Once you’ve found out what they want to do, it’ll be much simpler to find out where they can do it.
Work from home. If your work allows flexibility, ask your boss about changing your schedule for the summer. Maybe work from home a couple of days each week. Or enjoy a lunch break with your family. Or go home early on a Friday afternoon and then work remotely once the kids are down for the night.
Ask around for ideas. Your neighbors can be a great source of ideas – and help. Ask around to see what other parents are doing with their children for the summer. Who knows? You might end up finding a great childcare service or summer camp… and you’ll have a carpool buddy!
Partner with another family. Do you have a friend or a neighbor who is a stay-at-home mom for kids of similar ages as yours? Maybe she can watch your kids on some of the weekdays while you return the favor on weekends. Not only will your kids be in good hands of a fellow mom, but they will also enjoy having play buddies.
Find alternatives to regular childcare. Babysitting and local childcare can sometimes be too expensive for the whole summer, so research some low-cost alternatives. Places such as the YMCA, local schools, libraries, community centers, and places of worship are great community organizations that can help you save you money on summer childcare.
Have your kids volunteer. If you have older kids, summer is the perfect time to sign them up for volunteering. Whether they volunteer at a daycare, senior home, or hospital, they will get great experiences and develop empathy for others. If they are getting ready to go to college, volunteering can help them find their passion while keeping them busy and out of the house.
Reach out to family for help. Sometimes the cheapest (or even free!) form of childcare is family. Ask your mom, dad, nieces and nephews if they can help you out for the summer. If you have any teenagers in your family, this is a great opportunity for them to work during the summer, and you can enjoy your time at work knowing that your kids are in trusted hands. Use a mobile app like Calroo to ask family members for help.