School’s Out: Summer Options
for Working Parents

With the onset of summer vacation, working parents experience a challenging dilemma: finding a balance between work and family responsibilities while school is out.

The choices for working parents can be mind-boggling, but usually come down to either finding organized summer programs or leaving a school-age child alone. Though the best choice is an appropriate summer program, the combination of financial obligations, conflicting hours, finding acceptable programs and transportation issues can create a great deal of hassle and stress.

The financial obligation often associated with sending a child to day camp or specialty camp is often much more than a budget can handle. Financial preplanning or inquiring about scholarships can lessen the burden of summer care. Identifying the specific camp or program may require some investigative work, as the number and variety of programs available has become endless.

The first thing to do is to decide whether to utilize one camp for the entire summer or take a smorgasbord approach using a variety of programs to fill the time off. The hours of operation of many summer programs are often not accommodating to parents’ work schedules and may require additional fees for before/aftercare.

The Internet offers an excellent avenue to gaining information about summer programs nationally and worldwide. The local library often has listings of summer programs in your community at places such as the , your local community college and through the local public-school system.

The prospect of keeping a child busy all summer long may appear overwhelming, but these summer programs offer children an incredible opportunity to pursue interests, build skills and discover talents with other kids looking for similar experiences. Perhaps the biggest benefit is the peace of mind that comes from knowing where your children are, who is caring for them and that enjoyment and enrichment are an integral part of the child’s day.