As a parent, I feel that my kids’ summer camp experiences have evolved over time. When they were in preschool, their schools typically offered 4-6 weeks of summer camp, thus making it easier on us. We chose to have them continue on the same schedule and location all year round for our sanity and to ease our commutes.
As my oldest began elementary school and my youngest remained in preschool, however, we had to face the decision of whether or not they'd continue to attend the same camp. Our compromise was to find a camp that offered various themes and activities each week so they could both stay all summer and make it easier on my husband and I with drop-offs and pickups.
Fast forward a few years and my kids began having definite opinions on what they wanted to do each summer. Their interests varied, and they they no longer wanted to partake in the same activities. On one hand, we embraced their individuality! They were really diving into different things that they wanted to try – writing, robotics, volleyball, art, coding, and nature camps, to name a few. The problem became that I soon realized that the logistics of getting them to various camps and then getting myself to work was sometimes a challenge.
Don't despair! This situation is manageable, but you have to get creative. Here are a few tips that worked for me:
Find camps that are close in location or on your general route to work.
o Not having to make too many detours with this crazy Austin traffic will make life much simpler make sure you are not overly stressed by 9am!
o You can search for 800+ camps by location here.
Look for camps with staggered drop-off and pick-up times.
o If both camps begin promptly at 9am, that isn’t going to work logistically. See if you can find camps with drop-offs within 30 minutes of each other to ensure that everyone gets to where they need to be on time.
o Speak with the camp directors! Many programs offer early drop-off or extended-care for a small fee.
o Talk with your children about compromising to make the summer a bit easier for everyone. Perhaps they can pick 2-3 weeks of individual camps but can then agree on a single camp that they will both attend together for the remaining time.
Carpool, carpool, carpool.
o I don’t think I would have made it through the summers without ride shares. If you can coordinate with your child’s friends, it makes scheduling that much easier. Bonus: they also have a buddy to share the day with.
o Don’t be afraid to reach out to parents you don’t know too well. Most of the time we are all in the same boat and would love some help.
Summer is a great time to try new things and have your kids step out of their comfort zone a bit. Whatever you decide for your children’s summer experience, remember to relax and have fun!