5 Steps To Finding Summer Care

|Parents And Guardians - Resources, Additional Resources
Niki Smidt

1. Look

Explore all types of care options - family child care, center, park and rec departments, community-based organizations, school districts and day or overnight camps. Visit several programs. Do they look safe? Does the staff enjoy talking and playing with the children? After you start using a program, continue to go back and visit.

2. Ask

Ask your child what types of programs he or she would be like. Involve children in the decision-making. Look for programs that focus on their interests. Ask about the training and experience of all adults who will be with your children. Do they have first-aid and CPR training? Are their discipline policies compatible with your philosophy? Are children able to choose among activities? What do the adults know about child development? How will they encourage your child's independence and build self-esteem?

3. Count

Count the number of adults and the number of children they will each be supervising. Be certain there are enough adults to supervise all of the different activities that are planned.

4. Check

How long has this program operated? What percentage of children return each year? Is the program certified or accredited by a professional association? Check references from parents who have used the program.

5. Be Informed

Find out about efforts in your community to expand and support summer child care options. For more information, contact your local child care resource and referral agency or call Child Care Aware toll-free at 1-800-424-2246.

Tips for Parents Seeking Summer Child Care

  • Children over age 12 may benefit by being in leadership or counselor trainee programs.
  • Consider enrolling your child in the same summer program as your child's best friend.
  • Consider hiring a mature teenager or college student to care for your children or set up a co-op arrangement with neighborhood families who share the cost of hiring one or two caregivers. These "summer buddies" could provide supervision, companionship and transportation to activities.
  • Remember to ask about additional fees for such things as field trips and transportation.
  • Make sure your child's nutritional needs will be met either by the program, by your "brown bags" or, if you qualify, by your community's summer nutrition program (information available from your local school district).
  • Investigate the provider's insurance coverage and clearly understand what they expect your family's insurance to cover if anything should happen.
  • Be sure to ask about any scholarship or financial assistance that may be available.

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