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summer child care options

12 Summer Child Care Options for the Divorced Mom

summer child care options

 

Once I was divorced and did not have the financial resources I’d previously had to send my children to enriching or fun day camps and away camps, or hang out at a local pool with them all day long I had to sew together a patchwork quilt of summer child care options to get us through the summer while I worked.

It was always a near miss in which I was thinking, “Oh no, what will I do for this week or that week?” But, somehow, by using every single one of the options below plus some I may have forgotten, we made it through, mostly in one piece.

12 Options for Summer Child Care Options:

1. Counselor in Training: If your kids are 13 or 14, they may qualify for some counselor-in-training programs. I got my 14-year-old into one and it has served her well ever since (even though she opted not to continue that program the following summer). Most of these DO cost something. Swallow your pride and resolve to sit down with the financial aid application for these programs. We got an excellent deal. I did pay some of it, but my ex also chipped in seeing as he couldn’t babysit either.

2. Camps Offer Financial Aid: Even if you don’t think you qualify for summer camp financial aid, you might. I did not think I would, but I did qualify. No matter what the child’s age, there are camps all over the place and the issue is deciding which ones work for your kids and for your situation. Most of them offer scholarships and financial aid. Again, try to jump over the pride hurdle. And do your best to jump over the “I don’t have time to fill out the paperwork” hurdle. I say this in a loving way, of course. I had to give myself pep talks over and over again. I never liked asking for help, but, lo and behold, I needed help and so did my children. I did what I had to do.

3. Neighborhood Teens: Babysitters in my area make more than some of the divorced moms I know. However, one thing I have learned in business is that you can negotiate anything. ANYTHING! You just have to ask for what you need and tell people what you can and cannot afford.

4. Craigslist: Post for a sitter on Craigslist. I tried posting on college campuses but the youth in my area responded to the Craiglist posts. I had some excellent candidates. Of course, I couldn’t pay top dollar but they were still willing to work with me. Somehow, someway, you can find a sitter who will work within your parameters. This doesn’t come challenge-free, but you can find a solution—even if it is a stop-gap measure. One day I will write about the fiasco of hiring a sitter to pick up my 12-year-old child who refused to answer her phone and refused to be where she was supposed to be for pickup. That was one frustrated and unhappy babysitter. But, it worked for a little while.

5. Tweens can be Mother’s Helpers for Others: Line up mother’s helper gigs for tweens and younger teens. This worked for one summer with my middle child and has served her well.

6. Get a Job: I strongly suggested to my son that he get certified as a lifeguard. I had to make it all happen, but this has provided income for him ever since. Even now in college, he lifeguards on the side.

7. Swim Team: Swim team is a mixed bag. On one hand, your child gets good daily exercise and something to do. On the other hand, you’ve got those five-hour-long meets. And our teams wanted all parents to work the meets. Eventually, we had to bow out of that commitment. But for some of you, it might work out.

8. Grandma Camp!: First I had to package the idea of my kids coming to visit as “fun.” Then I had to package going to their grandparents’ house as a “vacation.” Somehow, when we could manage it, it all seemed to work.

9. Friends! I never would have thought of this one myself. However, I had several friends offer to have my kids come to stay for a week with them over the summer. Thank goodness for friends, is all I can say.

10. Vacation Time: Save your paid vacation time for summer as much as you can. It’s great to go away for holidays and all that but the summer is more pressing. You will probably be providing your own childcare for some of this time.

11. Dad Camp!: Don’t withhold time that the kids can spend with their dad. Use it! Let HIM do some of the work. You need a break. Also as a child of divorce, I can say that even though my dad was/is a piece of work and not the greatest dad, I still relished the time I spent with him. Parents can be jerks, but we still need them. Your kids will like extra time with dad as long as he isn’t truly neglectful (legal definition) or truly abusive.

12. Vacation Bible School: Hear me out on this one if you are not particularly religious. Most of the VBS’s I have observed operate much like any other preschool or daycare program. They color, they sing, the eat watermelon. It isn’t usually a bigtime dose of religion. And if you are desperate, churches are good for things like desperation. This is actually where they excel. They can be a safety net.

The post 12 Summer Child Care Options for the Divorced Mom appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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summer child care tips

6 Summer Child Care Tips For Single Moms

summer child care tips

 

When the kids were younger, Summer break was always a good time for us to spend a lot of quality family time together. We were able to make things work so that one parent was home, or we would enroll the kids in different programs that would work around our schedules.

When I became a single mom in 2015, life suddenly got so much harder trying to juggle the balance between work and family. I suddenly had to find alternatives for childcare so I could go back to work full-time just to support the three of us.

I dreaded the Summer because I had no idea what to do with the kids while I was working. They weren’t old enough to stay at home by themselves, childcare was getting so expensive for both kids, at a young age there wasn’t really many camps or programs they could join. It just became this big ordeal in trying to find something I could afford at their age.

I searched constantly for a work at home job or childcare that would work around my schedules. I juggled friends and family helping me watch the children or get them to where they needed to be. After looking for a few months, I finally found a job that after a few months would allow me to work at home. I live in a small town, so this was a huge deal for me.

Summer Child Care Tips

Plan, Plan, Plan

Summer break may not be the first thing on your mind, but it should be right up there on the list. Save up your vacation days and any earned time off work. Use those days off during the Summer when you may need them. Another option would be setting a little bit of money back each payday to go towards daycare or camp costs.

Ask about changing your work routine or schedule

Do you have a lot of college kids or younger adult coworkers that may be able to switch their hours or days around? Does your employer offer a work from home program that you can work towards? Don’t be afraid to ask your boss about changing your schedule or days to fit your summer break schedule. Be open and honest with your boss and maybe they can offer some help.

Ask Other Parents

You probably know or work with other parents. Start up a conversation about the kids and what they may be doing for Summer break. They may know of friends and family who own an affordable daycare or know of some not so expensive programs that you can enroll your child into.

If your child has made friends with a student who has a stay at home parent, check with them to see if they would be willing to help watch the kids during summer break while you work. You can set up a payment plan with them that would fit within your budget.

Ask Family

Check with your parents to see if they would be willing to help with summer care. Maybe they can watch the kids while you are working. They may also be able to help get the kids to different activities around town. My mom was able to help during the school year, luckily, she only lives 30 minutes away, so she was able to help on her days off.

Last Summer, our family who doesn’t live close, was able to take the kids for a few weeks at a time. This worked out well for both of us because they were able to spend quality one on one time with the kids and it gave me the opportunity to work without worrying. I could also work extra hours at that time for a bigger paycheck.

You can check with other members of the family as well. Maybe the kids have an aunt or uncle they can visit for some of the Summer.

Low-Cost Local Programs

Many places such as the YMCA, schools, and other organizations offer affordable day camps. This was another lifesaver for me. It was both affordable and they often ran until the late evening, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to get the kids from one place to another while I worked.

These programs often offer a low-cost option or can point you into the right direction of receiving financial help to pay for the program costs. Also, check with the state programs or local community or colleges to see what they offer. There is a local college here where they offer a discounted day program to qualifying families so that students get hands-on experience with kids for their degree.

High School Students and Siblings

When Summer hits, there always seem to be high school students looking to make a little extra money. This can be a good thing for working parents. You’ll often find this is cheaper than daycare or camp programs. Of course, you don’t just want any high schooler watching the kids so be sure to do your research and ask around to see if any friends or family can make a recommendation.

If you have older children who are responsible you can recruit them in as well. Since they are on summer break as well, they can babysit.

As kids get older it can get a lot easier to find things for them during the summer. Check with your local and state laws to see how old a child must be before you can leave them on their own. If they are old enough and responsible enough to take care of themselves that is another option. If they are at the right age, you can test their responsibility level throughout the year to see if you can trust them being home alone. Work on a few hours at first then move up to a weekend night. After you know they can handle it you can try it for a full weekend.

As a single mom, it can be tough throughout the Summer. Trying to juggle kids and work can be extremely hard and expensive. Start planning early and looking at different options to see what will work best for your family.

The post 6 Summer Child Care Tips For Single Moms appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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There is More to Taking Care of Kids Than Calculating Child Support

There is More to Taking Care of Kids Than Calculating Child Support

Of the many items divorced couples need to figure out — such as who gets the house, who keeps the expensive wedding gifts, calculating child support, and more — perhaps the most important decisions revolve around the kids Depending on their ages, they may or may not understand what’s going on, and, regardless, it will be a difficult transition for them as well.

The post There is More to Taking Care of Kids Than Calculating Child Support appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Do You Take The Time To Take Care Of Yourself?

Do You Take The Time To Take Care Of Yourself?

We’re so good at “taking care of business”. Day in and day out, we cross off the list of tasks that need to get done from our ever growing, “To Do List”, but how many of those important tasks or chores have to do with your own self-care?

More and more we busy ourselves, separating our mental and physical well-being from our emotional and spiritual selves. A lot of the time we’re going through the motions, barely aware of what we’re doing. But, here’s the crazy part, some part of us may find that there are definite advantages to being disconnected from our emotional and spiritual selves.

When you’re disconnected from your Spirit you get to justify inaction, hide and play safe. Sometimes you can even get sympathy by playing the victim and blaming someone or something else for your unhappiness. You may think that you’re nurturing yourself, but what it really comes down to is that you don’t have to do the hard work of self-actualization

Unfortunately, that separation can prove to be more harmful than you may think. First, it slowly erodes your self-esteem. Constantly putting yourself and your needs last send a clear message to others, the Universe, let alone yourself, that “I’m not important. I don’t matter.”

Sooner or later, you actually start believing that you’re not important enough to be on your own list. Then, on the few occasions when you do attempt to take care of yourself, you may be so guilt-ridden, you do even enjoy your greatly earned, much-needed break.

Subconsciously, you also teach those around you not to take your needs seriously. If you continually give the message that you’re okay with not having your needs met, you can’t really be surprised when that’s the way people respond to you.

Take The Time To Take Care Of Yourself:

Self-worth begins with valuing yourself- the echo that you are important starts from within and radiates outward.

In a recent Ph.D. study that I conducted, I learned that what often leads to the shock of betrayal had to do with that disconnect-there’s no blame or judgment here, just something I consistently saw in every one of my participants, including myself. The most common mental ailments experienced by people who were betrayed are disbelief and shock.

We’re so blindsided because we’re great at getting things done, often at the expense of checking in to see if we’re meeting our needs for love, intimacy, self-care, sleep, etc. When we stop paying attention or tuning into our needs, it’s harder to recognize those gentle nudges we may have intuitively been receiving but didn’t have the time or bandwidth to pay attention to.

Because we’re so deeply immersed in checking things off our to-do list, we’re often less aware of the emotional signals that may have given us a heads up about the dysfunction we’re shocked to discover.

Keeping a healthy mental/physical and emotional/spiritual balance can feel challenging. Being fearful of the truths you might uncover when you dig below the surface to learn that you may be bored with your job, unhappy in your relationship, or just want a little more out of life, is understandable.

Yet, that information may be just what you needed to make a change. Also, you might have the added pressure of “what now?” This creates a cascade of questions that’ll need answers and most likely, invite you to make some changes.

As scary as it may be, there are clear benefits to those changes which lead to greater self-care. First and foremost, you grow and learn. The confidence you build fuels your ability to move forward so that you can enjoy new experiences and fulfilling relationships.  More importantly, you feel good- mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

I’m often asked, “So how am I supposed to change my life?

Am I supposed to drop everything and just take care of me?” Change takes time- be patient with yourself. This is where I like to implement the “One More” rule. It’s a rule I created years ago that can drastically improve your life. The best part is, you can do it one small change at a time.

So, what would that look like, that one more simple act to honor yourself or your spirit? Would it be another moment to make a meaningful connection? Another moment to breathe in, write in your journal, or another minute laughing with a friend? Perhaps it’s introducing something new into your life like a healthy snack or a walk around the block.

We’ve been conditioned to overlook the importance of balancing our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs, but doing so is crucial to our well-being. Taking the time to eat right, exercise, relieve stress, rest, and enjoy life can make all the difference in the world not only with our quality of life, but also in the richness of our relationships. It doesn’t mean avoiding your responsibilities and obligations, but rather finding a happy balance.

Do you take the time to take care of yourself? Are there any techniques that help you along? I’d love to hear about them.

The post Do You Take The Time To Take Care Of Yourself? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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