Budget Hacks for Summer Child Care

Options for child care in the summer can be pricey. Here are a few ways you can save while keeping your kids occupied.

For many working parents, finding child care in the summer can be a stressful—and expensive—event. From toddlers to teens, here are a few budget-friendly tips to make sure your kids are safe and supervised.

Start planning weekly
It helps to have an organized view of how many weeks you’ll need care and who will be providing it. Some parents find it useful to take turns each spending a week of vacation or remote time at home while the other works. Then, if there’s enough time and resources leftover, you can plan for a week-long family vacation. Then plan to fill your child care calendar for the remaining 8-9 weeks.

Opt for local day camps
Check your local listings for day camps offered by the Scouts, YMCA, worship centers, nonprofits and recreation centers. They’re more affordable than overnight camps while providing enough stimulation to keep kids busy. Added bonus: older children can volunteer as counselors-in-training—and build a resume at the same time!

Start a sitter co-op
College students home for the summer can be a great budget resource for child care. Talk to friends and neighbors to see if their college-aged children are available to help. Depending on how many children need care, it can also be helpful to split the cost of care with other parents. You can also use online services to search for trusted caregivers in your area.

Don’t forget summer school
While it might elicit a collective groan, summer school is a great opportunity to keep young minds active. It’s a great way to prevent the summer slump, and students can continue to socialize with their peers. Plus, with more schools adopting a camp-like vibe, there are more opportunities to enjoy games, arts and crafts and physical activity.

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