School Aged Children During the Summer?

Updated on January 03, 2014
M.J. asks from Huntley, IL
24 answers

I am a full time working M. however I am able to work out of my home and have the luxury of having Fridays off. In another year my last child will be going to full day kindergarten so we will no longer need child care during the school year. However we will during the summer breaks. We have 3 children. What do other working parents do for their kids during the summer? I would hate to send them to camps all summer long, especially the littlest. Do you hire a high school/college student to watch them,and keep them busy?

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answers from New York on

Why do so many people not send their kids to camp? I just don't get it. My daughter has been going to camp since she was old enough (even pre-school had a camp which she went to all day 5 days a week). Camp is awesome. My daughter loves it. She plays, swims, makes friends, learns all sorts or crafts and songs. She has 8 weeks of FUN! She runs and plays and swims all day and comes home dirty, hungry and tired!! Camp is fun - my only problem is what to do those last two weeks of summer when camp ends.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We will hire someone for the summer months.
We have a nanny now, but like you, both kids will be in school as of next fall. We're trying to work something out where the nanny will take them on holidays and summer all day.

I'm not jumping through the hoops of trying to find a camp every week...and around us, there aren't camps that cover every week. I'm just not using my vacation time for childcare. So...hiring someone it is!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Camps. My daugther loved the sea camp the best. The bus took them to different swimming places and parks.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

I still have a tutor come in and work with them once a week to keep their skill levels up.

Otherwise? I enroll them in camps - not for the whole summer - last summer they spent 3 weeks with my parents. It was awesome for M. died in September - so they have some wonderful memories with her.

They want to do the same this summer and my dad is open to it. So we'll send them out to California for a few weeks again this summer.

We have friends - they do things together - our home is usually the meeting place so, while like you, I work from home, the kids come over for the pool and play...but mine are 11 and it's a tad different.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I do before and after school care for a family. Out of the nine weeks of summer vacation the parents take three weeks of family vacation, the kids spend a week with grandparents, they go to sleep away camp for two weeks, they go to day camp for one week and spend two weeks with me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Camp is not the answer for everyone. We've been struggling with summers for years. Can't afford the high-end camps ($3,000 for seven weeks? seriously? and not even a full day in some cases!). The Neighborhood Boys & Girls and the Chicago Park District camps are affordable, but our son has struggled in those environments. He doesn't make friends easily, and tends to become a target quickly. I'm seriously considering trying to work more from home and just having him underfoot, since I have that option. I think there's a huge gap between camps that cost a fortune and that cost next-to-nothing, and so many of them are just half days, which is useless for us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Most parents around here to a combination of camps/clubs, college age sitters and family vacation time.
Where my BFF lives they have a nice YMCA that lots of families use, and their schools and daycare centers have some programs for school age kids as well.
Ask locally, at school, in the neighborhood, your kids' friends' parents, what they do. That way you'll get local referrals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Last summer, my work schedule was all over the place - sometimes I needed care, sometimes not. I found out about a summer day camp in our area that was almost completely outdoors, with swimming, fishing, and other activities. The price included lunch and snacks, and for a small extra fee, they would do daily swim lessons. I used that along with sometimes having her at her baby sitter's house, but she had way more fun at camp, and when she came home, she was WIPED OUT. This upcoming summer I will use the camp full-time if possible - I loved that they spent the day running around outside and having fun with kids their own age. Many of the day cares offer care during the summer for school-aged kids, but so much of it just sounds like more school.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think camps are much better than being home with a sitter. Summer camps can be a lot of fun. A sitter, sometimes, not so much.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We have cobbled together a different plan each year. Like you, I was reluctant to ship them off to day camp week after week, especially when they were really little. There is one amazing day camp in my area that I would have considered but it is way too expensive. The rest are decent but nothing you'd want to do for 8-10 weeks.

Some years we had a high school or college student come to our house, one year we did a nanny share with someone else in the neighborhood at the other family's house, some years my M. has been able to cover a couple of days a week and share the week with a student.

This past summer, my younger boys were 7 & 9 (I also have two teenagers) and this was the first year that I felt comfortable doing a lot of camps and having my older kids or another sitter fill in during the weeks they weren't in camp. They did a camp at our local rec center which was bare bones but it was their favorite. The hours were 9-3 so on many days, they would end up going to play at someone's house after or having someone come home with us, which kept them busy for the rest of the day while I worked. They did week long swim/dive camp, a week of dance/theater camp, and a week at the Y. The Y was the only one that I was dissatisfied enough with to have them not go the last day.

With your ability to work from home (which I also have) it eliminates a lot of the issues that many working families have with day camps, which is that many of them run from 9-3 and few have early drop off or late pick up.

I would suggest that with little ones, you would want a sitter to be able to cover 80% of the weeks and then maybe throw them in a camp for a week or two at some point,

I actually have to start planning for this's always stressful but at the end of the day, it always ends up coming together and being the right mix of activities for them to have fun and me to work.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We use the YMCA during the school year, and my Youngets Daycare takes my older one for off school days and summer.

YMCA has a fablous program, not sure if there is one up noth by you.

It depends on what you want to do. If you want a college girl to be around take the kids to the park swimming etc. Run them to this or that. That might be the best option. it iwll not be cheap you are looking at 10-15 an hr for a decent person.

Or I think the YMCA does have a summer program that you would pay for. They have activities and know how to deal with kids, keeping them busy.

My son is there 1/2 day with being in kindergarten. Tuesdays he goes swimming, the do yoga, and a tons of other things.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I send mine to camps starting at age 3 for most of the day in summer, all summer.

At home it's BORING. They love camp!

Why would you hate to send them to camp? Keep them active and healthy!



answers from Oklahoma City on

They go to child care until they are old enough to stay home alone. Child care centers don't usually take kids over 10 years old. To find one that does take kids that old is pretty rare around here.



answers from Pittsburgh on

High school seniors/college freshman are perfect for this.


answers from Phoenix on

I stay home but my 11 yo son needs to keep constantly busy so we send him to Boys and Girls Club. There are some kids that go from his school so he knows people but also makes friends easily. They switch activities every hour to keep them busy and their hours generally are 7am to 6pm which is great for working parents. I believe it's about $100-125 per week, so not cheap but less than a lot of camps. Good luck.



answers from Boca Raton on

i don't work so i always try to keep them home. but my 9 year olds love camping way more. we even put in a pool this year, but they wanted to do some week-long camps. i feel like summers are for them to relax, be at home, do things in and out of the house, but they don't agree with me.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hiring a student is a great way to have your children cared for in the summer. They can take them places (if you're ok with that), keep them busy around the house, make lunch, etc.

Camps are really great too though. The summer before my son started kindergarten, we did a general day camp two days per week from 9:00 - 1:00. He LOVED it! He could have gone every day, but I thought two was enough. Last summer, before first grade, he went to day camp three days a week from 8:00 - 1:00. Again, totally loved it. Two or three weeks each summer, he did a specialty camp instead of the general one; each specialty camp is one week (M-F) from 9-12 each day. He's already looking forward to next summer and talking about which camps he wants to do.

I think a combination of camp and a student nanny are your best bets. Your kids will have a blast at camp - maybe even sign up with friends - and will also enjoy having some down time at home with the babysitter.



answers from Kansas City on

My daughter's daycare offers a summer program for kids up to 12.



answers from Detroit on

my kids come home from summer day camp super crazed.. too much stimulation.. and too much free fun time.. (not structured like the school day)

but they come home relaxed and calm when I send them to a babysitters house for the day.. I have found moms with kids the same age as mine.. and they get to play with friends all day.. and it is sort of like a long playdate..



answers from Chicago on

They actually would benefit a great deal from summer camps. Kids love being together. A college student is fine if you want them to just hang around the house, or trot to the local pool, but in camps they have the supplies, the activities and friendships that go with it. Think about it.



answers from Honolulu on

Ahead of time.... you need to find out, when... the various summer venues/programs start advertising their enrollment for summer programs and the deadlines. Because, the programs fill up fast.

Research the summer programs in your city and see what is available and the time lines.
Not all summer programs, are the same length of time.
'Summer camps' are not ALL summer long, for 2+ months or more.
Not in my area.
And 'summer camps' are not all the same. Nor are the hours.
Some are 1 month. Some are a couple of weeks. Some may be for 2 months. But again, not all summer programs are the same.
And there are private organizations that have summer programs, and then there are "city" sponsored summer programs. And then there are places like the YMCA that have various programs too, and per age etc.
So you need to research it. Call the places. And see. Get information.

Or, you hire a Nanny, to watch your 3 kids. And do things w/them and have... a routine with them.

Typically, per the families I know, this is what they do:
depending on their budget and how many kids they have, they either enroll their kids in various summer programs run by private schools or organizations. Or send their kids to their city and county "summer" fun type programs. Because, at least in our city, the city and county summer programs, also may have, After Care... for kids who need to stay longer than the end-time of the summer program. Here, for example, the city and county summer program, which is daily... starts at 8:30 and ends at 2:00pm. It is not all day. And it is NOT ALL summer long until the kids go back to school.

And, no matter who you hire, to watch your kids... you need to make sure they are background checked, have a valid drivers license since they will probably be expected to transport... your children or drive them places, have CPR and/or First Aide training, be clear of T.B. etc., and are licensed. It depends on how, professional or not, you want your "babysitter" to be and their experience and background. And if you expect them to keep house and do house cleaning plus, watch your kids, then that is something else.
What are your work hours?
Thus, this will determine how many hours you need a babysitter for, in your home. Or if you need to take them, to the babysitter.
And, what do you expect the babysitter/Nanny to do with them to "keep them busy?"
You have to have a 'contract' with them.... and determine what you will provide or not, to the Nanny/babysitter. Gas money, food, incidentals etc. for your kids. And do you expect the Nanny to also "tutor" your older kids to keep them abreast with their school skills or not?
Or just play with them and be a companion?
And per naps, and feedings, how will it be for your children?



answers from New York on

My kids went to camp in the summers that I worked and the summers that I didn't. What was there for them to do here? They wanted the daily socialization, the swimming, the activities to keep them busy. They didn't want to hang around here.
You could hire a nanny if you wanted, and thought that the kids would be kept busy enough. It would probably cost less, but I don't understand why you wouldn't want them having fun and spending the days with playmates their own age, at camp.


answers from Austin on

We went to day camps. essentially 9 to 4 or 5 at a school or church with activities for kids of all ages. They are grouped by age and they play on the playground, go swimming, go to the movies, go to the library, field trips etc..

We loved it.. My sister is 5 years younger so she was in the younger group,

I remember making great friends.
Way better than being stuck at home with just my little sister and a sitter.

My niece and nephew used to go to different camps each summer. One went to a Football camp, the other a gymnastics camp, Niece went to an acting camp and nephew went to a movie making camp.

There was also a day camp here that were picked up in a location by a bus. They went out to a camp that had swimming, horses, arts and crafts..

Another one each day took the kids to the movies, to a water park, horseback riding.. the kids loved this camp..

In January is when parents start reserving spots and handing in deposits.

They have Camp fairs here in Austin, to go and check them out..

At our neighborhood elementary school, they offer camps run by the actual School teachers. There is a ton to choose from. Clown camp, Camping, Camp, Math camp, Book club camp, Theater camp, Cooking camp, Science Camp and many more.... Each camp lasts a week and they do this for 4 weeks.

Very popular and the teachers make money also,



answers from Washington DC on

Camps, friends, trading time with relatives, flexible work schedules, a sitter....

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