As an adult, I’ve always wondered why we don’t have school during the summer. While there are some areas that have school all year, most districts shut down for the summer and kids are allowed to roam the streets in packs until the Fall. In that time, it’s been shown that their learning regresses, some more than others, and the first few months of the school year are spent recovering the knowledge they left behind!
As a kid, I loved the summer. No more long hours trapped inside a classroom learning about something I thought, usually correctly, I would never need.
I would play football or basketball outside with my friends. And, if we didn’t have a major vacation planned that year, it usually mean some kind of summer camp. It was the answer my parents had to the age old question: What do I do with my kids?
If you have kids, this might be something you’re struggling with. This is especially important if you are a parent that works or you are deciding whether to enter the job market in the summer. One way that you can improve your peace of mind — and possibly even save money — is by sending your child to a day camp.
Peace of Mind
Day camp can offer peace of mind to the parent who doesn’t know where to send the kids during the summer. Even if your child is old enough to be home alone, it’s still a huge leap of faith to let a teenager be “in charge” of his or her day.
A day camp can help with this. Day camps for younger children provide a safe place for them to interact with others, as well as possibly learn something. Educational day camps can help your child stay on top of academics during the summer so that he or she isn’t behind when the new school year starts.
For older children (teenagers) day camp provides another opportunity: A paying job. While there are day camps for teens, it’s more likely that your teenager would prefer to be a camp counselor. He or she can have something constructive to do during the day, and even earn a little money. Camp jobs are usually low pressure affairs that won’t stress out your kid. It will also teach them the value of hard work.
How Can Day Camp Save You Money?
While day camp does offer peace of mind, it is a little harder to find a day camp that can save you money. In some cases, there are day camps offered by community centers that are free or very low-cost. These programs can save you money over what you would spend on day care during the summer, but you may also be able to save on summer camp that is not as low cost.
If this applies to you, you may be able to save up to $2,100 on your taxes with the help of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. It’s also possible, in some cases, to use the pre-tax dollars if your employer offers a flexible spending account (designated for dependent care) to pay for day camp when your child is under 13.
Finally, you may be able to use day camp to save money on college costs down the road. Some universities put on day camps that are technically college courses. Teens can take the classes at a discount and earn college credit that will help out later. Check out what types of concurrent enrollment options are available at the local university, as well as whether or not summer programs allow teens to earn college credit. It can save you money later when your child goes to college.
Carefully consider the pros and cons of day camp. You might be able to use day camp as a way to keep your child occupied this summer, and provide you with peace of mind — since you know where your child is. Additionally, with the right planning, you can even save a little money. In the end, child care is always expensive, it’s about providing the best experience at the lowest cost.