What should working parents do during the summer with young teens that are too old for day care but too young to get a job?
One of our commenters is trying to figure out what to do with her 14-year-old son this summer. She sent me this note:
“How about a topic about what to do with your kids this summer if you have a full-time job. My son is 14. Too old for day care, too young for a “real” job, and we live in the mountains where you have to be able to drive to get any where! We do not even live in a subdivision. I am sending him to camp for one week. (It’s all that I can afford!) What do you do with them for the other nine weeks?”
I called my mom to ask her what she did with us at that age. She worked full time at a large Baptist church in Decatur. We went to the church’s summer day camp when we were little. I started working as an assistant in the church’s daycare area when I was 15 and did that each summer until I went away to college.
At 14, she thinks I babysat for neighborhood families and also volunteered some at the church’s library shelving books.
I think your answer may be finding a day camp that needs assistant counselors, also known as counselors in training. They are probably not paid positions, but he’ll be with a group and he’ll be learning a skill where he could be paid next year.
I received a flyer in my water bill from Gwinnett County Parks saying they are looking for CIT volunteers. I know you don’t live in Gwinnett, but your local county parks and rec also may be looking. I also would check with your local YMCA and any large churches in your area. You probably would have to drop him off on your way to work and pick him up on your way home.
What do you guys think? What did you do during summers before you were officially old enough to work? What have you done with your 12- to-15 year olds during summers if you had to work? How old do they need to be to stay home every day alone during the summer?