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Summer Child Care: Planning for Every Situation

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Planning for summer child care is one of the toughest challenges for parents. All the things that make summer magical for your kids – loose routines, endless exploring outdoors and traveling – are the exact things that make the summer so difficult for parents, especially those who need regular summer child care due to a job or other routine commitments. When schools are closed, daycare hours are reduced, and babysitters take vacation, you end up with a summer child care puzzle that needs to be pieced together. 

If you’re a working parent, searching for a child care provider that’s open during the summer is paramount. While some child care centers are open year-round, like Vivvi, others close during the summer or reduce their hours. While you may be able to rely on family or friends to look after your young children now and then, it’s likely not a long-term solution. 

With a little bit of planning though, you can make it through the summer child care stress, and discover some new child care solutions at the same time.

The impact of child care gaps on working parents

Working parents that don’t have access to summer child care are often forced to make sacrifices at work. An American Progress report found that many parents need to make trade-offs when preschools close for the summer. If child care is inaccessible or unaffordable, parents may need to cut back on their work hours to look after their children. This is not only a financial burden on many parents, but can also restrict opportunities for advancement. 

Employers are increasingly becoming more amenable to supporting working parents, so don’t be afraid to be transparent about your summer child care challenges. Try to identify possible gaps in child care early on and raise them with your employer. They may be amenable to a flexible summer schedule to help you accommodate for your child care needs. 

Preparing for Summer Child Care

When it comes to summer child care, preparation is vital. Here’s how you can get started:

  1. Assess your child care needs and determine when you’ll need coverage. 

2. Calendar out your entire summer and include all of your commitments that will require child care. These can include work, social activities, travel and even moments for self-care. 

3. Fill in all of your known child care options, and identify gaps. Once you know where you have a need, you can search for child care in a more targeted way.

Planning for summer child care ahead of time can save your family time, money and headaches. This guide will help plan child care for every scenario.

How to Plan Child Care For Every Scenario


Are you planning to go away on a family vacation? If so, will you need child care while you’re there? Planning for child care when traveling or on vacation can be one of the most challenging child care situations.

If you are going abroad, make sure you plan ahead by calling the concierge at your accommodation or asking your vacation home host about what resources are available. Some vacation resorts may have a daytime summer camp or babysitting services for young children. 

Many families who travel often find hiring a summer nanny or au pair to be the most convenient form of child care. These nannies are trained to take care of your children’s needs and are often available to travel on family vacations. If you choose to go down this route, look for a nanny early, as many could already have work lined up. 

Preschool of Daycare Schedule Changes

While Vivvi is open throughout the summer, many preschools and daycares either reduce summer hours or close altogether. For children who have had a regular daycare or preschool routine that coincided with your work day schedule, summer can be a particularly challenging time. Not only are you searching for care, but your child is also readjusting to new routines and schedules. 

When thinking about supplementing child care, keep in mind that young children need to continue their early learning to prevent the summer slump. Look for local summer care options like summer camp or activity classes that encourage learning while also providing care. 

If you need more hours covered, you may consider looking into a nanny share. This summer child care option involves two families coming together and sharing a nanny. A nanny share is also a good option for families looking to split the cost of child care options. Not sure how to find a nanny share? Read our nanny share costs guide to learn more about what to expect and questions to ask another family. 

Change in Parents’ Schedules

One of the most frustrating things about planning summer child care is that schedules can change in minutes. Many parents need backup care at this time of year for this very reason. Work events change and you suddenly need additional child care hours. Plans get canceled or relatives and friends are no longer available. How can you plan for situations like this? 

If your company has a child care benefit, check into whether they offer back-up care. Many child care providers have a benefit that enrolled parents can use for single days throughout the year. Some employer-sponsored child care plans even have reimbursement programs that enable parents to use a friend or family member and pay them for their care services. 

Remember: Summer can be a child care opportunity.

If you are planning to transition into some kind of daycare or in-home care setting in the fall, consider making that change earlier to help you get through the challenging summer child care months. You can also ease into this child care situation, possibly starting with just a few days a week and then moving to full-time in the fall, which can help your child transition. 

It also may be a time you can experiment with a new program and see if it’s a fit for your child. Vivvi offers a special summer program that parents can take advantage of even if they’re not enrolled. Learn more about Summer at Vivvi here.

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