Much of the nation may have just gone through a major freeze, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of working parents who are already planning how they’ll manage childcare during ten weeks of summer break.
It’s an anxious nag that starts this time of year. While summer may seem far off, working parents are very aware that the second school ends in May or June, the kids are home and need a new routine, regardless of the conference calls and meetings listed on Google calendars.
Planning ahead to cover each week of summer is by far the best way to mitigate the stress that erupts when last minute work demands arise. And employers can help. Just as any manager would ask an employee to plan ahead for a big project’s due date, one can support employees who need to plan ahead for childcare during school summer break.
At Campseekers, we help top employers across the U.S. give working parents the support they need to be present, productive and stress-free when the kids are not in school. By offering employees a wellness benefit like Campseekers, employers ensure that their working families have a fast and easy way to find high-quality summer camps in their area, many at a discount.
Here are four things that working parents should consider when planning a summer schedule:
- Start early. Many summer camps have already filled a percentage of their spots with campers who are returning from the prior summer (and whose parents snagged great discounts!). Early bird registration begins in January and thousands of families will get their planning underway because the earlier parents book, the better the price. And the lower the stress come May.
- Be very clear on which weeks need coverage. Because the end of school varies between public and private schools, as well as different areas of the country, standard day camps typically don’t start until late June. If a child is out of school three weeks prior, working parents need to get creative and find a few programs to fill the whole summer. Similarly, many camps end their sessions in mid-August when college counselors head back to school. If the child is home until after Labor Day, families face a gap. Getting a very clear handle on the school calendar as well as the sessions offered at top choice summer programs is a must. Perhaps most important, it allows families to plan when their own vacation or family time can occur.
- Multi-week commitments = Savings and VIP perks! Many camps, like Dedham Country Day near Boston and L3 Academy in New Jersey, cater to working families and give discounts for multi-week sign ups, thereby ensuring they’ll have full sessions of paying families all summer long. By signing up for multiple weeks, families get the chance to get to know the counselors and are likely to be given flexibility if, by chance, schedules shift and a week needs to be changed. However, don’t overlook the payment details. Many camps take deposits upon sign-up, and ask for final payment in the spring. Deposits are often non-refundable so it’s important to understand all cancellation policies.
- Consistency is nice, but a little diversity spices things up. Finding a day camp that runs all summer and exposes a child to lots of different activities can be wonderful, but don’t forget the unique summer opportunities offered by small businesses and organizations, like nearby museums. Especially on those weeks before and after day camp programs begin and end, programs like Jewelry by Design in California, give children a unique experience.
Are you helping your employees get ahead of the summer break stress? If not, give us a call.