Article by Ted James, April 17, 2023
From daycares to summer camps and other types of childcare, there are many exceptional facilities staffed by qualified, compassionate individuals to choose from. Many of these places have excellent track records and come highly recommended; some may even communicate with you throughout the day, possibly sharing real-time photos or videos of your child. If you’re struggling to decide on summer childcare, Cyns Play Place presents a few expert recommendations on what to look for or even avoid.
Talk Things Through
With so many options available, you may not know where to start when it comes to finding the right summertime childcare options. It’s best to begin with an open-ended conversation with your child about what they hope for. Make it clear that you want them to be safe as well as have fun. Do your best to keep the conversation pleasant and show curiosity about what matters to them. Once you have a handle on your child’s goals, you can look for a solution that fits everyone’s needs.
Environment & Policies
Next, start evaluating potential facilities. Check websites and brochures, then call and speak to the staff about their policies. Ask to be given a tour (see below). Some questions to keep in mind during this process:
● Is the environment inclusive for all children?
● Is the staff experienced with helping children with disabilities?
● What is the policy on bullying?
● How often will you be able to see or speak to your child?
It’s critical that you examine their security and safety policy. According to the Early Learning Coalition, you should look for warning signs like bad smells, unsupervised children, or broken fences or equipment. Ask yourself as you observe: how clean, safe and secure is the facility? Can anyone just walk into the building, playground, or the room where your child will be? For example, to increase security and keep your child safe, many camps now lock doors and install keypads to keep unauthorized individuals from accessing the rooms.
As with other businesses, the Better Business Bureau provides ratings and recommendations for summer camps. It recommends that parents ask family, friends and coworkers for suggestions regarding summer camps or other childcare facilities. Ask for references and check for proper licensing (you’d be surprised how many summer camps are not properly licensed). In addition, make sure all camp staff are properly trained in CPR and First Aid for children.
Explore the Facilities
Always tour the facilities before signing your child up for summer camp or daycare. Many parents treat this step as optional whereas child safety experts recommend it as mandatory. During your tour, you and your child will be able to meet the staff and make sure they’re a good fit. You’ll have a chance to inspect the environment and ask important questions about the facility.
For instance, ask to see any playground or swimming equipment, dining halls, and sleeping quarters, if applicable. Ask to see permits so you can ensure everything is up to code before your child stays there. Are there signs of bed bugs, roaches, or lice? Are the bathrooms clean and presentable? Does the kitchen seem to follow food safety and food handling laws? These are just a few of the questions to consider.
Pursue Their Passions
There are summer camps for almost any type of child with any type of interest. For instance, if your child loves the wild outdoors, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a summer camp that will provide plenty of time in nature. On the other hand, if your child is more interested in computers and technology, a growing number of cities around the world now offer coding camps for children ages 6 and older.
If your child is interested, you can find summer camps that teach children how to do community volunteer work, raising donations for local charities, and helping to change the world for the better. Or you could even look for camps that teach kids how to become entrepreneurs! While lemonade stands can still be a classic favorite, kids can help their parents develop lots of kid-friendly ideas into businesses, from developing toys to starting a cloth diaper service.
Cultivate a Positive Home Environment
The summer can be a time to relax and reset after the busy school year. Whether the kids are at a summer camp or at home, use this time to reorganize your house as a happy and low-stress space. Bringing nature into your home through natural lighting and plants can reduce stress, and increasing your family’s healthy activities will help everyone’s mental health.
Swap out some sugary snacks for healthy ones, and encourage everyone to drink more water. These healthier habits may even stick around for the school year. And get active as a family! Enjoy the longer summer days by having picnics and taking walks around your neighborhood. If you live in a walkable area, take family walks to the park or to run errands at stores in the neighborhood.
Find the Perfect Place for Your Child’s Summer Experience
Parents already have enough stress, worry and anxiety to deal with each day. When it comes to choosing the right summer childcare, try to find a facility that helps put your mind at ease. Although this requires a bit more initial effort on your part, it will pay off in the long run because you’ll be able to rest easy, knowing that your child is safe and well-cared for!
If you’re looking for childcare or a nanny service, but you aren’t sure where to start, contact Cyns Play Place! We offer a placement service for childcare in addition to a great private school for your older kids. Visit us online to learn more!