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May 15, 2011

Summertime Childcare Options

Children and Divorce

Sometime successful marriages require a little help managing the responsibilities of home and hearth and this time of year, the focus is usually on how to keep the kids happy and safe during summer vacation.  Last week we chatted about the great use of overnight camps as a respite not only for your children but a time for parents to reconnect and spend quality time at home while they’re away.

Perhaps the most popular summer childcare option, camps are a more social way to occupy out-of-school children. From day camps of the sports training or instructional variety to sleep-away camps with a wide range of activities, there is a camp for every child’s interests. The cost of summer camp can be quite expensive for families with more than one child. Parents with full-time jobs may need to sign the kids up for more than one summer camp program, and, depending on the length of the program, may even have to find another childcare solution for the weeks when camp is not in session. Camps however are not the only resource and I’ve found a few alternatives that I thought I would share.

Teenage babysitters are an option I’ve personally used as an alternative child care solution.   A good babysitter is worth her or his weight in gold! With two active sons at home, I opted for a neighborhood young man who kept them busy doing “guy” things; fishing, swimming, playing ball.  My sons preferred the “guy-sitter” because he wasn’t overly bossy and had a plethora of neat things to do.  Although sometimes availability is often times sporadic, teenage babysitters can be a big help for working parents. Still too young to work, but old enough to be “in charge”, neighborhood babysitters offer reasonably priced childcare, with the added convenience of being close-by.   

If you are lucky enough to live close to family members, relatives like Grandmom or Grandpop can be perfect short-term caregivers during the summer months. Whether they make plans to visit a nearby amusement park or create a craft project they can do together, your children’s mandatory vacation days can be something to look forward to with the help of your relatives.

A new option for the parents of school-aged children, Cultural Care Au Pair, is an intercultural childcare exchange agency that offers a summer au pair program. Summer au pairs are qualified young people from abroad, between the ages of 18 and 26 who provide up to 45 hours of childcare per week in exchange for a weekly stipend, and the opportunity to experience American culture by living with a local family for 10-16 weeks.  For more information on the Cultural Care Summer Au Pair program, please visit www.culturalcare.com

The most daunting task of summer child care is to piece together every option until somehow all the bases are covered.  Only then can parents relax and take comfort in knowing that their child is going to have a great summer with someone they can trust.