Planning the Summer for Your School-Ager

If you’re the parent of “school-ager” then your search is already underway for summer activities that will keep them safe and busy while they have fun. There is no shortage of options for summer care, so what matters the most when you’re making your choice? Here are five important things to consider when you explore your options:

SAFETY – Finding safe and trusted options for your school-ager while you’re at work is important. The specific laws regarding what age children can be left alone vary from state to state and county to county, but most people agree that elementary school-aged children are too young to stay home by themselves all day. When you go to work and leave your child in the care of someone else, you want to know that safety is just as important to them as it is to you. Make sure that the options you consider are properly licensed or monitored and that they are overseen by responsible individuals with clear safety procedures in place.

CONVENIENCE – You can find a summer camp or activity for just about anything that interests your child. Unfortunately, many of these are only half-day programs that do not provide the necessary mid-day transportation. If you are a working parent, it can be a challenge to figure out how to get your child to and from camps and activities during the middle of your work day. If you are considering these options, make sure you have a workable plan for transportation and a back-up plan in case you run into a problem.

FLEXIBILITY – For many families, the summer involves a variety of different camps and activities, a few long weekends, and maybe even a family vacation. For this reason, you do not want to be locked in to a program that requires a summer-long commitment. Flexibility is key when you are exploring your options.

FRIENDS & FAMILIARITY – Elementary school kids are social, and they want to hang out with their friends during the summer. You may find the perfect activity that is right up their alley, but your child will likely protest if none of their friends will be there, too. They are also more comfortable in familiar environments, so they may be apprehensive to attend a camp or activity in a place they’ve never been. Ask the parents of your child’s closest friends what their summer child care plans are. A referral to a trusted program will make you more comfortable, and going somewhere with their friends will make your child more comfortable.

LEARNING & FUN – As parents, we don’t want our school-ager’s brains to get all mushy over the summer. Statistics say that on average, achievement scores decline over the summer by one month’s worth of school-year learning. If you can find an environment that encourages reading and offers other opportunities to practice skills, your child will be better able to retain what they learned during the school year.  And of course, experiential learning through field trips is a great way for your school-ager to learn about the world around them while having fun! Look for programs that offer field trips and other experiences for your child.

Finding a summer solution for your school-ager that covers all these bases may not be easy, so start with what you know. If your child currently attends a before and after school program, see what options they have available for the summer. Ask around and see what your child’s friends are doing for the summer. Reach out to your local school district to see if they can provide information on programs and activities in your area. Getting the summer taken care of ahead of time will make your life easier and will ensure that your child has a safe and fun summer!

**All Stars Montessori in Apple Valley, MN is now enrolling for their fun-filled school-aged summer program. We are currently running a summer 2019 enrollment “Super Special” – Enroll for a minimum of seven weeks over the summer and get your last week FREE! Call now (952-432-2422)! Spots are filling fast.**

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