Many older children attend school during the day and only need daycare for a few hours before or after school. However, when summer vacation comes around, they need to stay at daycare the entire day. At a daycare center, it is less of a problem, since the kids will be engaging in activities appropriate for their age group. In a home daycare, however, the thought of hanging out with babies and toddlers all day is not so appealing to older kids. After the daily stimulation that school gives them, they may fear they will be very bored at daycare.
You may want to talk to your daycare provider to determine their plan for the older kids. Some daycares have a lot more activities, outside fun, and field trips planned for the summertime when they are not limited by the children’s school schedule. Nannies may also take advantage of the less confining schedule as well. City recreation centers may offer fun programs during the summer, where school-age children can engage in arts and crafts, sports, theater, dancing, etc. Daycare providers may take their charges to a local swimming pool on certain days in the summer, or take the kids to playgrounds and parks more often. There are lots of fairs and festivals to attend in the summertime, and possibly a field trip to a local farm (complete with baby animals in early summer).
Depending on your child’s age and readiness, you may want to look into a summer camp for your child to attend for a few weeks during their vacation. With a fun camp experience to look forward to, your child’s concern about how they will spend the long break may be minimized.
If your child has a friend from school, you may want to see if you and the child’s parent can work out a playdate for a few times during the summer. Maintaining that connection with a school friend may be important to your child. It’s easy to forget what they learned in the school year once summer comes around. Seeing a friend from school may help them to remember the things they enjoyed about school, including their friends and how much they enjoy learning!
If you are planning a family vacation, you can work on making it a learning experience for your older child. A child who has some math skills or map reading skills can help determine a budget for the vacation or try to find some fun places to visit along the way on a road trip.
If you can help supplement your daycare provider’s activities with some fun activities of your own, your child may find they don’t mind the change from attending school during the day to attending daycare during the day. Just be aware, they might have so much fun in the summer they may not want to go back to school!