Most people are excited at the prospect of summer, but for busy parents, it can represent a huge challenge. What to do with the kids?
Here are nine ways you can save on child care and enjoy the summer a little bit more.
Sharing is caring! In this case, Sharing a nanny can take care of your childcare. As you know, you’re not the only one who needs someone to watch their children over the summer. If you need to arrange a babysitter or nanny, see if you can get a group of families together to share the cost. Not only will it save you money by splitting the cost, but it will likely be a much more fun experience for your children.
Go Back to College
Colleges are a fantastic resource for affordable child care. Many college students welcome the opportunity to make some extra cash if you need someone to babysit or care for your kids individually. However, many colleges, especially those with teaching programs, offer their own child care programs that are designed to be experiential learning exercises for their students. It’s a win-win. Usually, these programs are very affordable but provide great care because it is overseen by faculty and run by students who want to work with children as a career.
Most kids have extra time on their hands during summer break. It’s a great opportunity to get a rotating schedule of playgroups together. Find a group of families and organize weekly playgroups with them (or however frequently you need). You can rotate hosting duties among parents. This can give you a much needed day or two of childcare that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Vary Your Kids’ Schedule
You may find some benefit in taking advantage of different childcare at different times. For instance, there may be a weeklong summer program at one institution that’s affordable and another one at another institution a few weeks later that’s also affordable. Instead of using one method of care for the entire summer, see if you can save by piecing together different affordable options. You may also find it beneficial to fit some of your own vacation time there.
Most cities and towns offer some form of summer programming for kids. This includes things like day camps and sports camps. In most cases, the idea behind these town-sponsored programs is to offer fun and engaging childcare over the summer at the most affordable price. Like many camps, the length of time your child attends is usually flexible, so you can take advantage of placing your child in camp at the convenience of your weekly and monthly schedule.
Town camps often also offer financial subsidies for those in need. Check with your local government to see if they offer any financial assistance.
Fun at the YMCA
Aside from summer camps and programs put on by your local government, the YMCA is a great option for affordable child care. YMCAs often offer a variety of age-specific summer programs. They even have great programming for young children, preschool and kindergarten age.
Other community-oriented non-profit organizations will likely put on some type of summer programming for children. This is especially true of places like community centers and religious institutions. Often times these options are some of the most affordable ones.
Summer break can be a great opportunity for the kids to spend some quality time with family besides the usual holiday events. Set up a routine with grandma and grandpa where the kids spend a week or two at their house. If there are cousins of a similar age, rotate with their parents in hosting a visit of a group of them. It will keep the family close and save on childcare for all.
No matter which of the above options you choose, it’s best to act early. Seasonal child care programs and camps will often offer early registration discounts and reduced pricing. Keep in mind that camps want to fill up their spaces as early as possible, so see if they’ll give additional discounts for signing up early.
Additionally, it’s easier to plan group care with others earlier. People don’t have set plans yet and may have more flexibility in their schedule.
Government-subsidized programs or aid opportunities will likely fill up fast. If you’re interested in any of those, be sure to keep application dates in mind and be among the first to apply.