6 tips that will keep your children busy during school breaks

Finding full-time child care during school holidays is a priority for working parents. Check out these six simple ways you can keep your children happy and occupied during school breaks.

6 tips that will keep your children busy during school breaks

1. Look into organized camp activities

Summer and March break camps are a boon to working parents, giving them peace of mind that their kids are being well supervised and learning new skills.

  • Privately run day camps are expensive, charging from $300 to $600 a week, but there are plenty of other organizations that provide excellent supervised activities for less.
  • Day camps organized by your city or community often offer good value. Rates can be $75 a week or less, and kids may get a chance to ski, canoe or visit local attractions, depending on where you live.

Don't book your summer vacation until you've found out what camps are offered for any organizations your child belongs to.

2. Get extended child care with sleepover camps

Sleepover camps are a great way to give your children a shot at semi-independence, while you get a well-deserved break.

  • The least expensive sleepover camps are generally associated with religious organizations.
  • Subsidies are often available based on income.
  • Every province has its own camping association, look online for more information.

3. Inexpensive arts and crafts

Local museums and art galleries often put on free holiday activities.

  • Check your local theatre, too, as some run drama classes at a reasonable cost a week.
  • Many churches also run holiday clubs for children.

4. Arranging cheaper child care

Even if your children go to organized activities for part of the holidays, they need to be taken there. And there will be times when they are at home and need supervision.

  • Enlist the help of relatives and friends to drop off and pick up your children at their activities, or look after them at home.
  • If possible, split your leave with your partner, so that you can each spend time separately with the children.
  • Or arrange to share the services of a nanny or au pair with friends in the same position as you are.
  • Trainee child care workers may welcome the chance to practice their skills with a family for a lower rate than a qualified nanny.
  • Also, try advertising on a college notice board for mature students who might be interested in babysitting.

5. Spread out the costs

During the school year, put a little money away into a short-term savings account for the children's holiday activities.

  • In this way, not only will you spread the load of the inevitable extra expense, but you will earn some interest on your money, too.

6. Pick a project

Save money on activities outside the home by getting your children started on an inexpensive project to last them over the holiday, such as mega Lego building, putting together a large scrapbook or planting and tending a garden.

  • This makes it easier for other people to cover for you as the children have a specific interest to occupy them.

Don't dread school vacations, find what your children are interested in and make an inexpensive plan to keep them busy. You'll be glad you did!

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