As the weather warms up, the days get longer, and the end of May quickly approaches, it’s only a matter of time before school is out. While kids everywhere rejoice over days of leisure, free of homework, many working parents may be wincing over the increased price of childcare.
In many cases, school provides not only learning, but a means of free childcare while many parents are at work. Come summer, working parents have to find other, more expensive avenues.
Instead of blowing your budget on expensive daycares, babysitters or nannies, consider these four ways to cut back on childcare costs this summer.
1. Seek Out Non-Profits & Day Camps
Designated childcare facilities can sometimes come at a high price. Instead of going with your first instinct, consider enrolling your child in some sort of day camp or summer program.
Places like the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, or your local church often offer great summer programs. They’ll keep your child entertained with a variety of educational activities and sports at a much lower cost.
Plus, if you have a local university nearby, you might also be able to find inexpensive options through their Early Education programs.
2. Enlist the Help of a Relative
If you have relatives nearby, with flexible schedules of their own of course, enlist their help for the summer. Whether it’s a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or even an older sibling home for the summer, most relatives are willing to help for a fraction of the cost, if they require anything at all.
Your kids will have the opportunity to stay with someone they know and love, and you’ll save big on childcare. And if family isn’t an option, consider seeking out friends and neighbors who already stay home with kids. Offer some sort of compensation to add your kids to their summer group.
3. Ask About Flexible Work Hours
More and more offices are moving towards flexible or work-from-home schedules. Before summer hits, speak with your manager or HR team about the possibility of a flexible work schedule. See if your company allows you to work from home or move your hours around so that your kids are in childcare for shorter periods of time.
If working from home isn’t an option all the time, see if there’s another parent that could do the same. If so, you can take turns switching on and off who goes to work and who watches the kids.
4. Share with Others
Depending on the age of your children, daycare might not even be an option to begin with. Unfortunately, nannies and babysitters don’t always come cheap and having a full-time one can rack up a hefty bill quick.
Instead of hiring one just for your family, speak with neighbors and friends about the possibility of sharing a nanny or babysitter. Although the price might increase a little, due to multiple kids in their care, the overall cost will likely be cheaper depending on how many ways you split it.
To kids on break, summer can seem much too short. To working parents … well, paying a childcare bill makes summer seem like an endless stretch of time. “Take your kid to work day” isn’t every day, which means you’ll have to find solutions before the school year ends.
You don’t have to blow your household budget with expensive daycare or childcare options. Get a little creative and seek out other, cheaper alternatives. In many cases, you can find great childcare at a fraction of the cost. You simply need to know where to look! And, now is the time to start looking!
What are some great summer day camps or non-profit programs in your community? What’s an alternative way you could compensate a relative or neighbor?