While your kids may be excited with the arrival of summer vacation, it may present you with difficulties. Here’s how to make sure the fun and exciting option of summer day camp provides your family with the best solution for child care.
Start Your Planning Early
Waiting until the last minute may mean your kids miss the boat entirely, leaving you with very few options. Start looking into different places early and apply as soon as possible. Camps fill up quickly, catching many parents off guard. If your child has any special needs or preferences you have to accommodate, start even earlier to rule out the possibility of being left out. Using the Internet is probably the fastest way to find the information you need and have all the necessary forms sent to you. Do not procrastinate filling them out and sending them back!
Save For The Expense
For many families, scheduling summer activities for their children can get quite expensive. If you can arrange for savings ahead of time, you’ll be that much more prepared for the bill. Put 10 dollars aside every week in the winter time just for this purpose and by the time summer rolls around, you will have a good portion of the expense already in the bag.
Check For Discounts
Ask your child’s school about discounts they may be privy to or see if the camp offers financial aid for qualified families. Also, places run by museums and other groups usually offer membership discounts which is something you’ll need to sign up for well ahead of time. Your local school department may actually run their own program too, or partner with one. This can be a way to significant savings and greater convenience for you.
Aim For A Camp Close To Home
While summer camp is a wonderful and enriching experience for children, it can be brutal on parents. If possible, find one that is close to your home and on your commuting route. When it’s really out of the way it may become too much of a hassle to even be worthwhile. You don’t want to be late for work every day, nor do you want to be fighting with the kids to wake up extremely early so you can all be on time. A convenient location should be given high priority.
Consider Carpooling Options
If other parents in your neighborhood or circle of friends will be sending their kids off to day camp, see if carpooling would be a good solution for everyone. Maybe you have a particularly hectic schedule on Fridays or your next door neighbor works late every Wednesday. Even without such particulars, transporting back and forth can get hectic, so divvy up the responsibilities and make life easier on all of you.
Ask The Summer Day Camp Lots Of Questions
Aside from a good location and schedule your family can live with, summer day camp has a lot of other variables you’ll want to check on. Ask about water safety, staff-to-child ratios and emergency preparedness. Find out what your child can and can’t bring along and be sure to get the scoop on all the fun activities planned. If your children have allergies, bring that up early and remind staff often. The camp may have a checklist you can use to pack for your troopers, and you can probably find it on their website.
Prepare Your Child
Talk to your kids throughout the planning process so they know what to expect. Ask for their input if they are old enough on things like activities or where their best friends might be going to camp for the summer. The more prepared kids are, the more likely they are to participate and enjoy their days at the facility. Also, keep tabs on how things are going as the summer progresses making sure they have everything they need and that no problems are brewing so they will get the most out of the experience.
Find Out About A Tax Break
If your kids are a certain age and you send them off to a program because of your obligations to work, you may qualify for a nice tax break. Ask your accountant or the administrative offices of the program what you need to do to take advantage. Save all receipts pertaining to purchases you make specifically for this purpose too, because that can add up to more savings.
You’ve got a long list of things to do to prepare for summer! Get them out of the way early and be sure to add “fun” to the list with group activities for the entire family. School vacation should be enjoyable for you too at some point!