The Spring Break Childcare Shuffle

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Yup. I did it again. I forgot to find daycare for my kids during spring break. And now I'm doing my usual scramble to fill six full days of childcare, plus the late start scheduled on the Monday after spring break, because, I guess, life isn't complicated enough.

In my effort to arrange care during my kids' "staycation," I have two goals:

  1. Avoid taking any vacation time. I mean, who wants to waste that on crappy spring weather, right?
  2. Find FREE daycare.

Here's how we typically fill in the daycare gaps at my house.

Assume grandma and grandpa are good for at least one day. Tell them not to leave town, though, because they are our backup. Bargain with friends who work part time or stay at home. Promise to take their kids overnight next weekend if they watch our kids. Get the OK from the boss to work from home one day. Call places like Meijer Gardens, YMCA, and Blandford Nature Center to see if they are offering any day camps. Consider shipping the kiddos via Greyhound to the U.P. to visit their other grandparents. When all else fails, research the legal age at which kids are allowed to stay home alone. (FYI: Latchkey-kids.com reports that in Michigan, there is no legal age, but it's recommended that 11 is the earliest possible age that a parent should consider leaving their child at home alone.)

Adding to my scramble drama, I should mention, is that one whiny, "But Mom, Josie gets to go to Puerto Rico during spring break," which makes the guilty mom in me consider adding goal 3: Make spring break fun for the kids. Scheduling fun time for them, which now also usually must include their friends, is hard. My kids simply don't know how to entertain themselves, and honestly, it is totally my fault. I should have ignored them more over the years. But since I didn't, I'm feverishly scoping out movie schedules, John Ball Zoo hours, and the top "crafts for kids" on Pinterest boards.

That's it. I vow that when spring break rolls around next year, I'll have all my ducks in a row. I'll have planned ahead. Next year I will know exactly where my kids will be—having fun in Puerto Rico with Josie's family. Bon voyage!

Written by Lisa Young, marketing director at West Michigan Woman Magazine, and a mother of two.


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