Updated on February 29, 2012
L.A. asks from Arvada, CO
15 answers

What do you do with your kids during the summer? I recently went back to work, after being a stay at home mom for 9 years. I am only working part time. I am trying to figure out what to do with my kids on the days I have to work. There arent any programs out where we live. I checked out the Y and their summer camps. I cant afford $1600 a month for their part time summer camps (that is insane.....I cant believe people actually pay that for 3 days a week) Just wondering what you all do?

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answers from New York on

When I was a kid my mom got a high school age babysitter (she worked 9-1 5 days a week). We sometimes got to do a week or 2 of camp for fun.

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answers from Eugene on

Since you are working part time, can you find a mom with kids who might swap with you? I used to do this with a friend, she had my child one day a week, I had hers once a week. We each had a free day and our girls got to play with eachother.

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answers from Washington DC on

I hired one of my mom's students (she is a college professor) to come watch our kids. She has great references and has babysat for neighbors of mine as well. My kids will be 5, 7, and 9 - so they really need someone to make sure they don't burn the house down. We're also getting a pool pass so they can go swimming whenever they want.

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answers from Denver on

I used to use a college girl who came and took care of my kids part time. It was awesome! She would take them to the zoo, park, museum, ice cream, swimming, etc. Then she went and graduated, darn it. Needless to say, now days a friend of mine and I swap sitting and it works pretty good. I also found more work that I can do at night rather than during the day so my husband and I can swap some time. It is working out great!

Good luck!

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answers from Dover on

Local daycares run summer camps so that is what we do. Another option may be boys and girls club or your local school's before/after care may have a camp as well.

Short of that, what about friends or family?

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answers from Los Angeles on

You'll probably have to hire a sitter if you don't have any camp programs. Maybe you can also trade with a friend one day - you take her kids one day and she can take yours another. That way, you only need to pay a sitter twice a week. There are plenty of college students who like nanny jobs in the summer.
Are you sure there is nothing offered through their school or through a local community center?

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answers from Los Angeles on

Is there a Boy's & Girl's Club you can take them to? They only charge before a certain time at the one 2 of my grandkids attend when they're not with me so part-time attendance is fine. They have a pool for free swim, computers, sports equipment for free play and organized sports with other clubs, arts & crafts, etc., and special field trips on Wednesdays that do have to be paid for but appeal to the parents who send their children full-time. My grandkids have been going since they were 6 and 9 and are now 10 and 13 and looking forward to going again this summer.



answers from Pittsburgh on

You are in the Denver metro area? I looked online and found full time summer camps for $280/week, less for 3 days. Look into day camps, museum camps, art camps. Some Montessori and other private schools run camps over the summer. You could hire a college kid to watch them, take them to the zoo/pool/parks etc.



answers from Seattle on

Yeah... one reason why summer has been cut in half (from 104 days / almost 15 weeks to 6 weeks or less) in many areas is that summertime many people purely work for daycare, or take a loss over the summer, so that they don't lose their jobs. For most of my motherhood career I haven't been able to afford to work. Daycare would cost more than I would make.

Camps, daycare, friends, and family are the only options out there unless you can take vacation, or take your children to work.



answers from Dallas on

Day camps, summer overnight camps, visit with Grandmas (one week at each house, but not back-to-back).
We schedule our vacation time then too. I take two weeks (roughly) one for family vaca, one for my sibling/cousin and hubby does the same, but on his end.
It is tough finding care. Check out local Parks & Rec, they tend to have something, library, too.
If you get stuck, google NACCRRA - child care search service,non profit- they tend to have school age summer care options.
also, check out local university for programs or you can hire a sitter. . .



answers from Oklahoma City on

Wow, in Oklahoma the cost of summer care is way less than that. I can't imagine what kind of programs they offer.

The Y is pretty expensive for sure, especially if you have more than one child but they usually offer many alternatives during the week. Ours has a cooking week, a cheer week, science week, magic week, etc....

I would go online and see if there are any you missed. Also call the state licensing office to see if they have a complete list. There are those out there who do offer lower prices.

Also, you don't say how old they are. I assume they are in school full time and not more than 9, they could be but since you don't say I will just "assume" they are under 9. At 10, 11, or even 12 I think I might start training them now to do home alone time. Especially if there are really good neighbors nearby the could go to in an emergency.

At 12 the kids are legally able to baby sit other children, the Red Cross offers babysitting classes to kids 12 and up. So my thoughts are that by 12 they had better be able to watch themselves really well for me to leave my children with them.

You start out with just a few minutes per time, maybe you run up to the convenience store to fill up, or to McDonald's for dinner. No real irresponsibility just time to get the feel of the empty house, to see how they react to being alone in all that space. Then you just work up to half an hour, then to an hour, often takes some time to train them so that's why I said if they were older you could start with home alone training now.



answers from Washington DC on

Don't forget to check with your city or county Parks and Recretation Department and/or your community centers. They often have many summer camp and other activity programs. Look for specialized ones by interest, too - Lego camps, robotics camps, art camps, sport camps, dance camps.

Also, did you check with your local public school system? If your kids are in public schools there, you may find that the school system runs a summer recreational "camp" type of program. Around here it's called "RecPac" and offers athletics, games, arts, field trips, swimming, etc., based at the school with trips elsewhere. These are very popular with working parents so they fill up quickly -- so find out now whether they exist in your area.

And if you see free local "parents' magazines" or "parenting guides" in your local grocery stores -- there are loads of them here -- they are mostly advertisements for a huge number of schools, camps, and other programs, and by now they will be bursting with ads for summer activities.

You definitely should find something for far less than $1600 for three days a week! Are you sure the price was told to you correctly? That sounds wrong for a YMCA.



answers from Los Angeles on

Are there any trustworthy high school kids in your area you can hire to watch the kids while you work?


answers from San Francisco on

Around here, it's not only expensive, but you have to have signed up for everything by now (we had signed up for everything by 2/1. Ugh.). My girls will be doing ballet summer intensive with our local professional dance company for 2 weeks (the younger one is doing a "young dancer's workshop" since she is too young for the full-on intensive program), then they will be going camping with their cousins for 1 week, then the older one goes to sleep-away camp for 3 weeks (younger one is too young for that, so she's going to grandma and grandpa's 2 states away for a couple of weeks). When the older one gets back from summer camp, we have a week to do our back-to-school shopping, and summer will be over! I swear, I could have gone to Paris for a month for what all of this is costing me, but I think that for them, it'll be a summer to remember! (And hey, DH and I are child-free for 3 whole weeks! WOOHOO!!!)


answers from Santa Fe on

I would hire someone to watch them. We have a 20 something girl who lives nearby and enjoys working as a nanny during the summer. Do you have any responsible college kids near you that are home for the summer? Or even a responsible high school student. They can take your kids to the pool or to a nearby park or on a hike if you have a trail near your house.

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