Spring break is over and it is now time to focus on Summer. One of the things I loathe is planning my summer. Summer is supposed to be fun in the sun and a time to relax by the pool. Unfortunately I work and my big task now is planning summer day camps for my kids. I cringe at how much money we spend on summer camps and childcare. Because I work full time, my kids cannot be at home with me while I work from home. One , they are too noisy and two, they would hurt each other severly after 9:30 am when my daughter wakes up.
My big dilemna is where to send the kids to camp and not spend a fortune in the meantime. It is okay for them to have the downtime and complain about being bored with nothing to do (except for every board game on earth, the swimming pool, watching tv, playing video games, and some reading).
I struggle with where to send 2 kids to day camp and how to get them there and pick them up. I don’t understand how so many day camps are from 9:00 to 12:00 and cost over $200 for 3 hours a day for 5 days a week? These camps are obviously not for working parents. What do you do with the other 5 hours of the work day that childcare needs to be covered? Do you pay for them to go to another camp? I don’t.
Coming up with a good mix of camps that they will enjoy and possibly have other friends at is a full time job. I also have weeks where one is a Girl Scout Day Camp from 8:30 to 3:00 one week and I need to figure out what to do with my son while trying to avoid driving across town. My son will be attending one week of overnight Boy Scout Camp and we have decided to send my daughter to overnight Girl Scout camp for a week. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out to send them both away the same week. That means 3 of the 10 summer weeks are not available for family vacation due to some camps. There is a two week day camp with hours from 10:00 to 4:00 in August that they will be on the wait list for. We do have a good City of Anaheim day camp that I love to send them to in early summer because it is cheap and outdoors. It is at a park and only $110 per camper which includes the extended hours of 7:00 to 6:00. They have a small non-airconditioned room the kids use at the end of the day and at least they know each other plus get to go on one field trip. I don’t feel that I can send the kids there in August as it is just too hot to be outdoors all day.
I would love to send them to some art camps that are through the city and cover afternoon hours. I am surprised at how many camps are from 9-noon. Don’t these kids sleep in? I have one that will sleep until 9:30 and one that is up at 7:00am but is occupied by the tv for hours while his sister sleeps. If I am lucky maybe I can find something from 1:00 to 5:00 and can find a dad that could watch them for a couple hours in the morning then take them to camp after feeding them lunch.
The school district tries very hard to provide a good summer program with an outing a week, but my kid’s friends don’t go to this camp and my son thinks it is a bit boring now. It is fine for afterschool, but gets old for 8 hours a day all summer. During the school year my childcare costs have gone down to $400 a month total, but in the summer the camps can be anywhere from $110 to $200 a week per child which does not include the sleep away camps.
In addition to this I need to plan our summer vacation of where to go, what to do, how to get there and where to stay all trying to stay within a budget. My daughter told me that she really doesn’t care where we go on vacation as long as we have fun. To a 9 year old, just staying somewhere else is fun. She does have a great point and I am learning from her perspective.
What do other full time working moms do with their kids during the summer months off? How long does it take you to figure out this master plan called summer fun?