I Need Some Advice!! Please Help!

Updated on January 09, 2013
A.V. asks from Phoenix, AZ
24 answers

Well here goes, I am a mother to a wonderful and amazing 7 year old boy, his father and I try to give him everything that we think he needs, but it is hard, we both work full time and its mainly split shifts. My husband normally works early morning till 5 and I work afternoon till 10 pm. We have been able to afford after school care but rely on family to watch him on the weekends. Now my biggest concern is summer break. Last year he went to my dads house in Colorado, he went with his aunt and two cousins. He had a melt down. Everyday he cried when he talked to us, but during the day he would be just fine. My dad was just here for a week during winter break and mentioned to my son about coming back during summer again, and my son has just been crying. I know that he is attached and its not good to be that attached, he won't even sleep in his own bed the whole night through! I am so torn, do I have go to my dads for the summer, and hear the sadness and tears or what should I do?? Thanks for any advice!

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answers from Minneapolis on

7 is still really young. I have a 13-year-old who wouldn't want to be away that long. At almost 12 he got really homesick at a one week boy scout camp. I would maybe send him for a long weekend, but no longer than a week. I think you need to look into childcare at home for the summer. What about a high school or college student? Besides, I would really miss him. I couldn't be away from a 7-year-old for an entire summer. I know it's family, but if it's family he doesn't see that often it's not familiar to him.

P.S. IMO it's still o.k. for him to be attached. He's only 7. My boys didn't have their first sleepovers at friends' houses until they were 9 and 7.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

You need to find child care for the overlap (if any) on weekdays, and weekends.
I don't blame him not wanting to go away for the whole summer!
Start looking now. Sitter city.com and ask his classmates parents what they do.
Maybe family members could cover the after school time and O. of the weekend days? Do you both work both days every weekend? Is there any flexibility there - even if only for the summer?
Many 2P working families save all year for increased summer child care costs. Can you start saving now?
Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think it is a lot for a 7 yr old to be away from home that long.
I would look into a happy med. camps, friends, a teenager to stay
with him to help her with a job and then maybe 3 weeks he goes.

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answers from Boston on

Did you send him away for literally the whole summer? That's a lot for a child twice his age, never mind a child so young. I have a 7 year old who would maybe be OK away from us for a week and even that would be hard.

I think you need to re-think your summer childcare situation and find some way for him to be cared for at home. I know it seems impossible, but get creative - talk to other parents and see if you can share a baby-sitter. It's only a few hours of care that you need each day.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I am not sure if I am reading this correctly but are you saying you send him away during the summer?

He is only 7. He needs to be with his parents, be nurtured, and STABILITY. I could not imagine just packing my daughter up and sending her away for the summer to rotate between different family members.

He is only 7... no wonder he is sad. His idea if summer vacation from school is to be shipped out of town. Think about how you would feel if the tables were turned and your parents sent you out of town all summer so they didn't have to deal with day care.

Check into the Rec Centers and the Y for day camps in your city. Our School system has a 1/2 day summer school for about 4 weeks which is available for children who need to get extra help with school skills but also things that are fun such as cooking, art, drama, music, etc. There are TONS of activities, camps,vacation bible schoool, etc for children to do during the summer to keep them active, make friends and have a stable home life.

Start checking into summer programs now.

I'm sorry if I misread the question but that was the gist I got from your question.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I think you need to explore local options. Your kid misses you. I would be sad to be away from my parents all summer at that age, too. Maybe combine summer camps with shorter visits to relatives. Try to find a middle ground. He needs you. It's more than just child care. He needs time with his family and each of you individually.

I would make it a long-term goal to have a more typical family schedule, or at least more family time. Try to find a way to make that happen. Really think about if there's anything you can do to spend more family time together, even just on weekends. It might resolve the sleeping problem (since that seems to be the only time he gets with both of you home).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If you can afford after school care, is it possible you could afford someone to watch him at home this summer for the hours between you leaving and dad coming home? There are lots of college students available in the summertime for childcare, or check around for churches offering summer childcare or day camps at the Y? What do other working parents do with their children in the summertime? There has to be a place. It's not a bad idea to send him to his family in Colorado, if he liked it there. But I couldn't send him away again knowing how depressed he would be, I just couldn't do it to him. Hey if he does get to stay home, maybe you could bargain with him and say if we work it out so you can Stay home this summer, you have to promise to sleep in your own bed every night.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

My son goes to the YMCA program during the summer and absolutely loves it. It's really not that expensive, and they have so much fun.
Honestly, I can't imagine sending my 6 1/2 year old off for the entire summer. How heartbreaking it must be for both of you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

can you get someone to watch him at your house between the time you leave for work and the time that his dad gets home??? Seems like he really needs more time with his mom and dad, he is still so young......:(

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

could the grandparent/s go to your home for the summer ? is that something negotiable?

7 is ok to be attatched, specially for the summer vacation..
He already doesn't see you both then being sent away for months.

He needs more parent time, not gifts.
He needs emotional stability.
( I don't say this to be mean.I know from family experience)
sometimes parents over compensate with gifts, food.. But its You the child needs. It doesnt get better than the own family being there to assure everything will be ok.
- are you speding enough quality time?
- are you talking and crying on the phone to show that you miss him Soo much?, that even if he was ok will trigger him to cry too.
I hope this help you some how..

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Continuing to send him away, without either parent, for the entire summer is setting him up for a couple of things: He will resent you, and the relatives who are caring for him; he will be angry at being sent away; and he will start to wonder if he has done something wrong and is being punished by being sent away.

YOU know none of these is true -- the relatives love him, he shouldn't be angry, and he's done nothing at all wrong. But he is still very young, and he will hear any talk about "going to granddad's next summer" not as some nice adventure but as being sent away. And kids look for reasons for things, and it would be typical for a child to turn this on himself and start to think, "I must not be a great son/must have done something wrong for mom and dad to do without me all summer."

Again you know that's not the case, but you need to try very hard to see this as HE sees it, in his seven-year-old mind. You can reassure him all you want; you can talk and talk about why your jobs that put food on the table mean he needs to go; you can talk positively forever about how much fun he'll have at grandad's; but it will not matter. He will still see this through his own lens because he is seven, and adult reassurances will not stick. That is not wrong of him; it's normal. Don't let anyone else make him feel guilty about being upset over this. (Just in case -- If your husband is a guy who would say, "Man up, stop crying," you need to be your son's advocate and not let dad dismiss his son's very real feelings.).

I am not saying this to make you feel guilty -- please, please understand that. But I am trying to get you to see that his view is not, at age seven, or even this summer at eight, going to change. He wants you and his dad and feels insecure -- event with relatives. You need to look through his eyes and his emotions, not adult ones.

You live in a very large metropolitan area. Most such areas in the country have many, many summer programs aimed at families like yours where kids MUST have summer care. There are half- and full-day camps, some of them inexpensive (try YMCAs, church programs, programs sponsored by the school system for less expensive options); summer day care at paid providers' homes; some preschools use their space in summer for day care for school-aged kids; local parks and recreation departments run camps and classes designed to keep kids busy because parents are working. There are many options in an area like yours. I would suggest that you start, today, looking into those, so you can book things now -- these programs do fill up. But I would not send him so far away for the entire summer again.

Anotherh option: Can granddad come to you for even a few weeks, if not the whole summer? If the aunt and two cousins live in your area, can the aunt provide some care coverage part of the time?

In other words, put together whatever you can -- your and your husband's vacation time; family care; programs and camps and classes --to keep him at home. And don't schedule every second of the summer; try to have weekends just for the three of you in your own family. He will feel more secure at summer's end.

If paying for camps and classes and day care is an issue, check into sliding scale fees or "scholarships" that some offer, especially those that are provided by the school system, county or city government, YMCAs and YWCAs, and churches. (Our school system has a full-day summer program that takes place at school facilities and it's very inexpensive compared to for-profit camps -- I would check with your school first and foremost before their program, if there is one, fills up.)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

Goodness. Why would you send him away for the Summer when there are so many great programs out there and he can come home and be with his mom and dad?

The first and foremost suggestion I would make is that you find out if you can get a day shift so you both can be home with him in the afternoon/evening for dinner. It's so important that our kids see us at that time. I know it's not always possible, but if it were me, I'd make it a priority to get a schedule that allowed my family to be sitting at the table together for dinner and allowed both parents to be present for a bedtime routine.

For Summer...

Every Summer until my boys were old enough to hang at home, they went to the YMCA for Summer Camp. They can take swim lessons (they did a class every year), do crafts, play with other kids, and each week has a different theme to keep the kids engaged. They go on field trips to local businesses and attractions. It's an excellent program. There are full and half days available, and they're broken up by age group. It's so much better than trying to figure out what to do with the kiddoes all Summer.

Here's the link for your area. http://www.valleyymca.org/programs.cfm?core=09 they also offer extended care for before and after camp.

ETA: If you do decide to hire a sitter for the Summer...hire a teenage BOY. Your 7 year old doesn't want to sit around by the pool doing his nails...he wants to do BOY stuff. From my experience, boys tend to enjoy boy sitters a lot more.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita Falls on

Look into day camps in your city for the summer, we have one here run by the city that runs just about the same as after-school care (7am-6pm), so he won't be so far away. Also, find a way to have family time, consistently, every week. I think you know that a 7 yr old should be able to sleep on his own, at least most of the time. Talk to the school counselor about resources to help with the attachment.
Lastly - start looking for a way to get your schedules realigned so he has more face time. Studies have shown time spent as a family is one of the most important things you can give you child.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

There HAS to be a summer program near you that would be better than sending your son away for the entire summer. I can't imagine how lonely that must be for a seven year old. Of course he's crying. Call the town rec center, the YMCA, look online for programs, ask at the school. You'll find something.

That said, I do think a seven year old should be able to sleep through the night in his own bed. Perhaps if you make him feel more secure about being able to stay home during the summer he'll be less stressed and able to sleep in his own room. A lot of times kids need extra closeness with their parents when they're feeling insecure.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

How long was he at your dad's last summer? I would not send a 7 year old away for more than a week. Wanting to be at your own home with your own parents is not an unreasonable level of attachment...sending him away tells him that he cannot count on you to always be available to meet his physical and emotional needs, which is a huge deterrent to attachment. Find some summer care for your son that allows him to stay home, and take a vacation to your dad's with him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

I'd have meltdowns too.

I recall once being away from my parents for two weeks with an uncle and aunt in the same town. Boy that was the longest time in my young life. No one to play with and not knowing the neighborhood. It was lonely and no fun. The uncle and aunt were older and had no kids. Wow!

So take it from the standpoint of a young child who says: "You are sent away and you don't know why. They say it is because they can't keep you home during the summer. I don't get to see you guys during the school year let alone during the summer? Well, thank you very much, why did you have me?!?"

Do find a school age high/college person to be with him home. The YMCA camps and others are an alternative to being 'shipped away".

It might be time to find different work.

The other S.

PS It might be time to find non family child care facilities.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Of course he doesn't HAVE to go to your dad's. You have plenty of time. Start looking around for daycare options. If there is a SAHM in your neighborhood, she might be interested in making some cash over the summer. There are all sorts of summer day camps and your city probably has some sort of parks and recreation department that sponsors summer programs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I wouldn't send him to your dad's.
He's still young and wants to be with you.
I would work hard to find someone you can trust to watch him in your home during the time you and your hubby aren't home.
Maybe a college student. Try talking to people in your neighborhood to see if they have a trusted sitter they've used. Then do your homework with them & possibly put in a home camera. Just to help safeguard. You can find the cameras inexpensively.
Again, I would do everything in your power to keep him at home with you
He's young and doesn't want to be separated from you.
Best of luck!



answers from Minneapolis on

Keep him home. Check with the YMCA in your area. In our area they have low cost summer day care as well as day camps. And they offer financial aid if $$ are a problem.



answers from Cincinnati on

What about summer camp? there are places that keep kids busy all day long with all kinds of activities. It was actually cheaper to do camp then send him to a sitters. He probably missed you and maybe got a little homesick. What if he went to your dads for just a few weeks then come home and go to camp.
My son goes to summer camp every day and its all day. They have a pool, play Wii, watch movies, make snacks, field trips every week, walk to get ice cream, play flag football, tag. They even have a game room.



answers from Orlando on

I wouldn't make him go if he was that upset personally. I would find a fun summer camp. Maybe he can do half days to make it more affordable, like just a few hours every afternoon in between you and your husbands schedule.


answers from San Francisco on

Have you looked into 1/2 day summer camps through the aftercare program or local community center? They are usually only a bit more per month than than what aftercare during the school year costs.



answers from Washington DC on

Keep him home - he's not old enough to be away that long. Maybe a short trip to Colorado (2 weeks max). You can hire a responsible high school student to watch him at home during the summer, or find day camps and summer care programs to bridge the gap. If the cost of a summer nanny are too much, see if you can arrange to 'share' a nanny with another family that has a kid near your son's age. Now is not too soon to start working on this!

Also, it may be really difficult or impossible to do, but if you or your husband could work on stabilizing your work schedules some, it might help a lot. Split shifts are hard on everybody...as I'm sure you know.

Last bit of advice is to avoid relying on family too much to help with child care. Some is ok, and in emergencies, certainly...but I've found over the years that it inevitably becomes a source of tension.

Best of luck to you and your family!



answers from Kansas City on

I would scrimp and save and hire a responsible teenaged girl to come to your house for the summer to watch him while you are at work. You can't put him through that. And if you decide to do that, start looking for a sitter NOW. You can ask around the neighborhood, school, church, work, anywhere someone always has a daughter that needs a summer job! Just make sure that you trust her! Good luck.

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