Parents on edge: no day camp or schedule
Again this year, places are limited in summer camps.
This summer, Nadia's children will not be going to camp. They'll play house, go camping with the family, and ride bikes down the alley.
Like many parents, Nadia tried to register her two children, ages 6 and 8, for day camp in her city, but places were limited and she ended up on a list of waiting.
So she decided to rearrange her (and her husband's) work schedule, put the grandparents to work and hire a student babysitter for a few hours a week.   ;
Nadia is not alone. Several day camps currently have a limited number of places, due to lack of manpower, and must refuse registrations. Day and vacation camps are not immune to the labor shortage: they are struggling to recruit staff, confirms the Association des camps du Québec (ACQ), which represents 289 camps across the province.
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Summer is made for playing
For other parents, the decision not to enroll the children in the camp had already been made, lack of places or not. This is the case of Sonia Tremblay who, for four years, has been keeping her children at home as soon as school is over.
“Children need to be on vacation, without schedules or constraints. With us, they are free to do their activities,” says the mother, who admits having “the luxury of being available all summer,” being a teacher herself.
But no question of spending the summer in front of the TV or being bored! Outings to the park are frequent, as are mountain biking, which is a real passion for the whole family.
Take a break from the routine after school is over, or take a break from daycare, if only for a few days, is also recommended by several psychologists and psychoeducators.
Otherwise there is the option of half-time camp. Wishing to offer their child a new experience and the opportunity to develop their talents, many parents choose to enroll them in a week of specialized camp or a few weeks of day camp, in order to reduce costs and keep the child at home. home the rest of the time.
Specialized camps in horse riding, dance, basketball, language, science, etc., generally take place for one or two weeks. Be aware, however, that they are more expensive than municipal day camps.
For certified vacation camps, it takes $500 on average for a one-week stay (with overnight stays). Some specialized camps sometimes charge more than $1000 per week.
The general manager of the ACQ, Éric Beauchemin, points out that there are tax credits and financial assistance programs based on the parents’ salary. Other camps offer discounts for the second and third child.
Still, the “weekly” listing is popular with parents who have joint custody or families who spend part of the summer at the cottage, out of town.
The help of the community
Caroline and Jessie, two mothers who live in the same district, instead exchange days of babysitting.
“We started it during the pandemic and we decided to continue for the coming summer, says Caroline. My daughters will go to Jessie's on Tuesdays when I have to go to work, and her children will be babysitting at my house when she needs them.”
Parent groups offering co-babysitting are on the increase on Facebook. “When I need a babysitter or respite, I write it down and I always have another relative in the neighborhood who offers me help,” writes a father.
- Grandparents are many to come to the rescue. A week camping in Grandpa and Grandma's RV is a great idea for summer vacation!
- Is your child autonomous? The Red Cross offers the “Ready to be left alone” training for young people aged 9 to 13.
- Are you an “octopus” parent? He multiplies the strategies to adapt his work and reconcile family life. For example, he works in the afternoon, during the youngest's nap, and answers his emails at the park, watching the children out of the corner of his eye.
- Take a tour of your city's public parks! Children love to try new play modules. Depending on the age of your children, go by bike or by car, bring a picnic and swimsuits.
- Too expensive, camp? The ACQ offers the Destination C.A.M.P. which offers young people from less well-off families the experience of summer camps free of charge.