Having to go to work when the kids are home from school, and with most summer camps canceled because of the pandemic, may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s some advice on how to keep the kids busy during the summer and find the right child care option without breaking the bank.
1. Find some fun kids’ summer activities at home
If your kids are stuck at home this summer, it doesn’t mean that they can’t have fun. Find some activities they can do in your yard, both with you and with a sitter. For example, backyard water games are an excellent solution to help kids cool off during the hottest days of the year. Have them fight with empty spray bottles, filled with water, and don’t worry if things get messy. Alternatively, with a simple garden hose, it’s possible to play water limbo. The participants must move under the stream of water, just like when playing regular limbo, but without getting wet. Whoever gets wet loses the game.
There are also many fun crafts to make in your backyard. For example, your kids can use a simple tie-dye kit to turn an old, stained T-shirt into a colorful masterpiece, or make simple artwork with colored sand and seashells. Find all the materials you need online or at local craft stores. Don’t forget to make your backyard more fun by adding a couple of Bluetooth speakers to play children’s songs in the background.
2. Choose the right child care option for your needs
This summer, finding child care may be more complicated since many summer camps are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you still have many options for the care of your children while you need to be at work. In some areas, day care centers are still open, so there’s a chance that you’ll find a summer child care program that works for your family while prioritizing your kids’ safety. You could also save money with the help of your employer or the IRS.
Alternatively, you can look for a nanny. Post a job ad online or get help from a specialized agency. Whatever the method of your choice, take the prescreening and interview process very seriously because it’s vital to determine if a potential nanny could truly be a good fit for your family or not. Arrange an in-person meeting with potential candidates, and don’t be afraid to ask for multiple interviews, if needed.
When you have found the right nanny for you, make sure that you sit down with that person and discuss the job responsibilities in detail. Explain your family’s social distancing and hand-washing rules, so the nanny knows how your kids must behave both inside and outside the house, and make sure that hand sanitizer is always available. Also, if the duties include cleaning and sanitizing the house, explain which disinfectants to use and how long they need to stay in contact with the surface to disinfect.
3. Ask help from friends and family
If you can’t afford a nanny or a child care program, don’t worry: There are some cheaper alternatives to survive the summer. Many nannies will be happy to take care of the children of two families at once, so if you have a friend who is in the same situation as you, you can share the same nanny and split the costs. Otherwise, you can ask family and friends to take care of your kids while you’re out of the home.