4 Things to Know About Camp and Child Care This Summer

Preschooler playing with a beach ball outside at summer camp

Back in March, when schools were just starting to shut down, summer marked working parents’ distant hope that they wouldn’t be working, parenting (and teaching!) at the same time…forever.

But those hopes are starting to be dashed. Like schools, day camps and overnight camps are now questioning their futures. Many “are still deciding how—and whether—to reopen,” wrote the Wall Street Journal this week

“They are in limbo as they figure out head counts, refunds and budgets—and if they can offer a genuine summer-camp experience.”

It’s set the stage for an unusual season of angst and conflicts, and at least 4 reasons child care this summer will be exceptionally important: 

It’s a tangible starting point for employers: The Washington Post asked in April whether a child-care shortage will prevent America’s reopening. It’s a good question. And it’s one a growing number of employers are asking about their own workforces. 

Demand will be off the charts: The traditional summer patchwork of camp, babysitters, and grandparents is unavailable. If employers want people at work – and truly be able to focus on work – they’ll need a minor miracle…or will need to step in and help working families balance it all. 

It will ease parents in: After months sheltering at home, families will need some handholding to get comfortable in group settings again. Summer is the perfect time to do that – to introduce tangible options that at once meet safety guidelines laid out by the state and the CDC, and show parents that the child care of the future is safe, comfortable -- and possible. 

It’s bigger than the sum of its parts: Juggling working and parenting is difficult in normal circumstances. Doing both at once, while also attempting to manage a child’s learning and entertainment schedule, is downright exhausting. And for many, there is no end in sight. Access to any of the supports working parents relied on before this pandemic will do more than restore schedules. It can restore hope, confidence, and excitement about the future.

The reality is that summer 2020 is a season like no other that will require a solution like no other. We’re already hearing from employers who want to step in and fill the void in their communities with dedicated camp programs for their workforce. Incredible organizations, and the type of company we are so honored to keep.

America needs to safely reopen, pointed out the Washington Post. “That can begin only if we ensure that children will be properly cared for while their parents go back to work.”

That’s what this summer’s child care represents.

Mother working at home with child beside her

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Written by: Jonathan Corke

May 14, 2020

About the Author

Jonathan Corke at Bright Horizons

As Senior Director, Product Marketing, Jonathan has spent over a decade at the intersection of HR strategy and employee benefits. Working alongside HR leaders and total rewards experts, he focuses on the success factors that help convert a leader’s vision into an impactful program. An active participant in the HR community, Jonathan has led presentations and workshops at numerous industry events and is a regular contributor to the Bright Horizons Solutions at Work blog. He holds an MBA from Clark University.