What to Do with My Daughter During Summer.

Updated on April 19, 2011
S.N. asks from Spring, TX
20 answers

My daughter just turned 12 in March. She currently stays home after school for a hour and before school for half a hour before school by herself. I am at a loss of what to do with her during the summer. I feel she is too old for daycare and too young to be home all alone all day. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for all the suggestions. I have decided to put her at the YMCA for three days during the week and the other two days she will hang with her grandma for half days. I am excited because the Y does two field trips a week so I know she will have a good summer. So the extra money for her to have fun is worth it.

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answers from Dallas on

Daycamps (and sleep-away camps, too) are really popular for this age group. You can find some that go all summer, or piece together a variety of different camps so she can explore different interests.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from College Station on

day camp. I know there are several in the BCS area, so Spring should be no different. They are geared towards older kids with field trips and usually reasonably priced.

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answers from Philadelphia on

maybe she could be a mothers helper for someone in your neighborhood with small children? maybe 3 hrs every day??

see if there is some local camps or programs thru your school district.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

If you choose to leave her home alone all day are there neighbors who are home all day? If you know your neighbors and they don't mind popping in every now and then, then I think it would be just fine leaving her home all day alone. Will you be able to check up on her at lunch? If not, day camps are a great idea. What about checking with the daycare about her helping out with the other kids instead of actaully attending daycare as someone who needs to be watched over. My neighbor has a daycare and if you have a sibling about this age willing to help out with the younger kids she takes some off the bill for the younger siblings.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, this age is challenging. Having somewhere to go for part of the day can be helpful. Does your community have Community Education or Recreation programs? Some of my friends have their kids this age attend 1/2 day sessions at a local park or rec center that they can bike to. Also check with the YMCA/YWCA to see if they have programs that would be convenient. Some daycamps have programs that kids this age can practice being camp counselors under the supervision of older people.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

YOu could find out if any day camp programs have jr. counselor programs.
maybe even a child care center who offers a school age summer program would offer a position for someone her age.
Also check places like the Y, boys and girls club and other community center programs for this level of support.
She could also find some worthwhile volunteer activities. . . library, humane society/animal shelter, etc.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

When my daughter was 12 she was pretty naive and not quite matured as other girls her age. But I had to leave her home and we had an agreement she wasnt to use the stove or go outside. She was mostly on the phone with her grandma helping to reasure her that she was fine and mom would be home soon. After a few days she felt confident, that she was o.k. Sometimes she had a freind over to watch movies with. Our children are braver than we think and we just need to give them the space to learn.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Have you looked at your local Y?
I think an entire summer at home all day is too much.
Vacation Bible schools are also good for half days of activity.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Daytona Beach on

I would check out the Y or also maybe she could help a mom friend out with their kid(s). also check out your school and see if they offer summer programs. even the elementary schools will offer something sometimes for the older kids. or Parks and Recreation with the city. they used to do something here in FL for kids up to age 18. they would break us up into age groups and we would take field trips. at her age most of us stayed home alone, but i woulnd't leave my kids home alone no matter how mature they are. with the economy being as it is, the break ins are getting worse. here in FL there was a break in this week where an 11yo boy was home by himself, and they roughed him up and threw him in a room and stole things. he lived in a condo and his neighbors were home and close and they didn't know anything was going on.



answers from San Diego on

Do you have a boys & girls club there? They are very resonably prices and have kids up to age 17.


answers from Raleigh on

Is there a teenage girl you know who could come and hang with her? I did this when I was about 14 and the girl was about 11. Her mom paid me $100 for 3 days a week (which felt like SO much at that age), and we basically just hung out together. Her mom got a great deal, the daughter loved that she could just hang at home with an older girl, and I made GOOD money for a 14 year old.


answers from Austin on

At 12 I babysat a ton and made excellent money during the summer.
Contact an active parent at the local elementary school and have them share her info. When mom has appt, runs errands, etc. your daughter could watch their kids. Some moms take yoga, a few times a week and they would love to have a set babysitter all through the summer.

Our daughter was a teacher assistant at the local elementary school that had a summer camp for 3 weeks. She was not paid, so all of those hours added up for her volunteer needs for honor society. She was a Presidential Volunteer Gold Medalist from 5th grade all the way to graduating high school by volunteering in so many different ways.


answers from San Francisco on

Check into local day camp programs. Your daughter's school probably has lots of information on what programs are available through your local Y, community center and churches. She may also like to spend a week or two at a sleep away camp. What are her friends doing? Girl Scout camp is another idea (she doesn't have to be a Girl Scout to go.) My kids preschool had a program for older kids which included outings to local museums, pools, parks, etc. Check with other parents, there are usually all kinds of activities offered during the summer: sports, arts and crafts, swim clubs, etc. Being home alone all day for two+ months would be pretty boring and lonely in my opinion.



answers from New York on

Summer camp would be wonderful for her. As well as community recreation centers. My town has local pools so I used to get the kids swim passes for the summer. They would meet up with friends and spend the entire day swimming.

The YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs offer loads of fun for kids. Also local churches may offer summer programs for her age group too at an affordable price.


answers from Dallas on

I was a babysitter several days during the summer when I was that age. I made tons of money and learned to be responsible at a young age. I think it was a 3 day a week job, and the mom came home at lunch. The other suggestions such as the YMCA and summer camps are great too. I have a 13 year old, and he loves being home, but would hate being alone so much. I'm a teacher, so I'm home with my boys in the summer. Good luck finding something that suits your needs! :)



answers from Austin on

I'm glad that you are not considering leaving her home alone. Things are not the same as they were when we were younger (and it wasn't all good then either). Remember that her safety is worth the cost to get her in a summer camp or have a college girl hang out with her. Just make sure you get referrals for a mature girl. With the difficulty in getting jobs, there are sure to be plenty of girls to choose from who need the money.



answers from Houston on

Maybe hire a college or high school girl to hang out with her. Take her to the movies, pool or the mall. Camps are great too, maybe you could do both depending on the week.



answers from Austin on

I would definitely look into hiring a high school or college girl to be with her. I did this when I was I was in high school for a 10 year old girl. "Back in the day" I made $25 a week and thought I was rich! I didn't drive, but the girl and I cooked, did crafts, rode our bikes, played games, etc. and I'm sure she had a lot more fun with me than being home by herself! Sometimes, my mom would drive us to the community pool and drop us off for the afternoon. The girl had a built-in sitter and friend for the summer!


answers from Austin on

Here's some good tips on picking a summer program for her and a link with details: http://tinyurl.com/3kxyb3c

Keeping a child’s day consistent throughout the summer months keeps the brain focused and helps prevent learning losses during the summer. In addition, this can potentially ease the anxiety that often accompanies transitioning into a new classroom or school come fall.



answers from New York on

- day camp (city rec department is a great place to start)
- volunteer work a few days per week
- If you can swing it, sleep away camp
- "play dates" with friends and you can reciprocate on weekends

At this age, depending on her maturity you could leave her home, but I would break-it up so she has a week of "something" and then maybe a week of "home". Please try not to send her daycare- first, she's probably too old and second she'll be bored out of her mind!

Is there a college-aged student who will be home for summer and may want to earn some extra cash? You could see if someone is looking for part-time nanny work and have them with her 3 days a week doing activities that you pre-select and pay for OR have the "nanny" with her for 1/2 days.

Reach out to the local colleges and see if you can post a flyer or email the college's department of education and request summer help. When I was in grad school, I "nannied" for a family 3 days a week and loved it!

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