For many working parents finding holiday care for older children can be challenging. Many programs age children out of care as they reach high school age but some children do not have the maturity to be able to spend their days alone during the holidays. Here are some ideas to help you secure child care for older children.
Swap with other parents
While you might only have limited leave there are often other parents in the same position. You may be able to do a swap where the children spend one week at your house with you taking leave from work, then another week at the other child's house while that parent is there. Not only does this reduce the amount of leave that each parent needs to take it can also make the holidays more interesting for the children as they get to spend some time with a friend and get to explore a different home and neighbourhood.
Look for camps and older holiday programs
While many vacation programs do limit intake to younger children some organisations will run camps and programs for older children. These can be structured to activities that older children enjoy like nature walks, hiking and camping. Try researching groups such as the YMCA to see what might be running in your area. You can also look at intensive programs for sports that your child plays, as many athletic programs use the opportunity of the school holiday to run intensive skills clinics and holiday programs.
Look for a 'kid-sitter'
While your child may no longer need a 'baby-sitter' they can often benefit from having an extra adult in the house to help them make good decisions. You can look through your social networks to see if anyone has an older child, for example an adult child in university, who is also on break and might be willing to come around and be an in-house 'big brother' or 'big sister'. It helps if you can find a responsible figure who your child might look up to, as this can often make the sitters job much easier.
For working parents with older children it can be tricky to find a viable solution to getting enough cover to make sure kids are fully supervised over the long school holidays. If you are looking for a child care solution for your older children for the school holidays it can be worthwhile to explore local school holiday programs.