For some families, summer camp is an almost automatic rite of summer. When school ends, summer camp begins. Families who need child care to cover the summer months when school's out often find that summer camp fits the bill. And it's fun too!
Pros and Cons of Summer Camp
Many work-at home parents also need that same kind of all-day child care in the summer months, but others don't.
Working parents who may already budget for after-school or other child care during the school year may find it easier to cover the cost of summer camp.
WAHMs who freelance or run a business may have unpredictable schedules making committing to a specific week of summer camp months in advance impractical.
And for these families summer camp becomes more of a luxury than a necessity. And that's when it can get tough deciding whether to send your child to camp.
But whether it's a day camp in a local community center or a faraway overnight camp, summer camp can be a valuable experience for kids. And this, of course, is a prime consideration for all parents thinking about summer camp.
Points to Consider
- Your child's interest in/readiness for camp - Camp should be fun, and sending a child before he or she is ready could spoil the experience for years to come. Determine your child's summer camp readiness before enrolling them.
- Benefits of a summer camp experience - Summer camps are no longer nature experiences. There are camps specializing in all sorts of activities or in kids with special needs or interests. Camp can provide an experience to your kids that they couldn't get at home or school. Find a specialty summer camp.
- Cost of summer camp - Cost is an important factor for most families, but there are ways to cut the cost of summer camp. If sending your child to camp is important to you, plan for it and start saving in advance. For some families summer camp simply is not in the budget, but there are many other fun alternatives to summer camp.
- Your need for child care. - If you need child care during the summer, camp can be a great solution, but it is not the only summer child care option. If you already have a caregiver, but want your child to have a summer camp experience consider sending your child to camp when your caregiver is on vacation.
- Convenience of transporting children to camp - Transporting kids to and from day camp can put you back on the commuter track, something you're trying to avoid by working at home. Consider how much time transportation to camp takes out of your work day. Find a summer camp by region.
- Summer vacation schedule Sometimes camp doesn't fit in with all the other things you may have planned for the summer. Camp can be a great experience but school-age children may need a break after a highly scheduled school year. If it doesn't fit in, don't force it.