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Balancing Your Job With Your Child’s Summer Vacation

Updated on June 8, 2017

Balancing Your Job With Your Child’s Summer Vacation

Summer looms on the horizon. Children look forward to days in the sun and spending time with friends — while working parents wonder how they’re going to manage the schedule when there’s still business to attend to. It can be difficult to strike a balance between your child’s summer vacation and your time at work. You want to take part in activities with your child, but you have obligations at the office you can’t ignore.

What opportunities are available to your child? Where can your children go and meet new friends? Where will they be safe? Parents want worthwhile summer experiences for their children, but those can come about in many ways. There’s value in relaxing with a grandparent or the neighborhood kids, swimming, or reading a book in a hammock. But there are many weeks during summer vacation, and parents can find it overwhelming to fill in all the gaps while they’re working.

Have a clear plan in place and utilize a calendar!
Have a clear plan in place and utilize a calendar! | Source

Breaking Out of the Calendar

It can be a puzzle trying to arrange varying experiences. Your child might wind up enrolled for a week at science camp, two weeks as a junior lifeguard, one week on a vacation, and off to sleepaway camp for another few weeks. Logistically, it becomes a nightmare, so it’s important to have a clear plan in place and utilize a calendar!

Many parents turn to summer camps and programs, and it’s no wonder why: The number of summer camp options and opportunities has increased significantly over the past couple of decades.

There are, of course, aspects of summer camp that parents must consider before registering their children. Sign-ups happen early, and popular camps can fill up fast — some even a year in advance. You should also be prepared for the paperwork. When signing up for a summer program, rarely does anyone take into consideration the number of forms to fill out. Even a day camp requires a variety of forms, including medical information, allergy lists, and emergency contact details. Give yourself enough time to do all this so you don’t feel too stressed.

As a working parent, you have a wealth of summer camp options — from athletic camps to academic camps and more — but they generally fall into one of two buckets: day camp, where the child attends for only a few hours each day, or sleepaway camp, where the child stays at camp overnight, usually for one week or multiple weeks.

Both help give busy working moms some much-needed relief during the summer (not to mention plenty of fun for the child), but moms must keep in mind the pros and cons of each:

As a working parent, you have a wealth of summer camp options — from athletic camps to academic camps and more.
As a working parent, you have a wealth of summer camp options — from athletic camps to academic camps and more. | Source

Day Camp

Cons:

  • The options are more limited for working parents because of timing and driving distance.
  • The hours are usually until mid-afternoon (unless you can sign up for an extended day), so the schedule still may conflict with your job. Moms who work would need to balance their own schedules with those of their campers.

Pros:

  • Students attend camp for the bulk of the day, meaning you can go to work, but your child is at home with you at night, so you still get to spend time with him or her.
  • The sessions are often flexible, allowing for single- or multiple-week sessions — you can choose one that fits your family’s needs.
  • You’re more likely to have an opportunity to sign up with a friend in your neighborhood, which may allow for carpools.
  • Most programs offer an extended day option, and your child can miss a day if needed for a family event or an illness. The cost is lower compared to a sleepaway camp.

You get time to focus on yourself while your child is away, and you’ll be able to maintain a normal work schedule — sleepaway camp truly lets you balance your work duties with your child’s vacation.
You get time to focus on yourself while your child is away, and you’ll be able to maintain a normal work schedule — sleepaway camp truly lets you balance your work duties with your child’s vacation. | Source

Sleepaway Camp

Cons:

  • The cost can be prohibitive. You need to factor in the expenses of the camp and travel, especially if you plan on chaperoning the travel or visiting.
  • A number of worries come with being apart from your child, too. Parents often worry about the “what-ifs” of their child having trouble while away: suffering from an injury or an illness or being homesick, for instance.
  • Having too many choices sometimes turns into decision paralysis — there’s a lot of information for parents to sort through just to find the right camp for their children.

Pros:

  • The program options are nearly infinite, allowing you to choose from any topic or location across the globe.
  • These camps, too, often offer flexible one-week or multiweek schedules.
  • Your child will meet other students from different environments and backgrounds — it’s not just the neighborhood friends at sleepaway camp.
  • Being away from home can foster independence in your child.
  • You also get time to focus on yourself while your child is away, and you’ll be able to maintain a normal work schedule — sleepaway camp truly lets you balance your work duties with your child’s vacation.

It’s never too late to put a plan in place for summer. The summer activities you choose for your child should be based on the individual, family dynamics, and budget. You can always find an opportunity for your son or daughter to do something that is valuable, appeals to them, invests in their future, is fun, and gives you peace of mind while you head into work each day.

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