Summer day care for Kabouter

At the start of the summer holiday I phoned with a good friend who has children in elementary and high school.   "Pheeeww, vacation ,  nice an easy, I'm not mommy taxi anymore.", she sighed.   For a moment I was confused because I felt the upcoming months as more stressful as I had to puzzle care for the children.

Since my children are still very young, they are not yet involved in a long list of extra curriculum activities that require schedules, transport planning etc.  We had achieved a fairly good routine on school days with a babysit (and an available back-up) picking up Beertje from daycare and Kabouter from school on 3 out of 5 days and me doing so on the other 2 days.  This helps when working full time (incl commuting) while Jan often travels for work.

In summer, there is no routine. Each week we need to plan differently.  The summer is divided in 4 options for Kabouter

1) Summer camps

Since he succesfully participated in a camp after New Year and with Easter from Sporty, we enrolled him in 4 more weeks this summer together with class mates.  He seems to enjoy it very well and runs off as soon as we dropp him off, even if he is one of the first kids to arrive and one of the last ones to be picked up.
The first week was full of theme days (each day something different) with day care in the afternoon, as it was the case in the Easter vacation. Very practical.
However there will be 3 more weeks in August where it's only a morning program, so we still need to arrange with the other parents 3 weeks of afternoons of picking them up and taking care of them alternatingly. So we have to dedicate part of our vacation days to that.  I also remember from New Year that it's hard to work "half a day" if you already need to pick up the children at noon. So right now I regret a bit having booked so many of these camps even though they are very good camps

2) His regular Wednesday afternoon day care
2 days in July and 2 days in August he will go to the care where he spends all Wednesday afternoons. It's very practical for me as they are open very early in the morning and very late in the evening and it's on my route to and from work  (but not at walking distance from our house so not possible to ask a babysit to go and get him).

I only booked so few days for the simple reason that they don't open the subscriptions until late in Spring and they are often full so I was simply worried that I'd not achieve to enroll him . So I searched other options first.
In the end I did book these days so he keeps in touch with the care keepers there and the other children since he's often alone there without friends from school.  Nevertheless it never seems an issue for him to go.

3) "Speelplein"  or playground animation 

Right behind the corner there is a playground animation for toddlers organised by the city of Leuven. It's rather cheap and does not require reservations (which made me nervous: we heard they've never been "full"...but what if that happens one day. Surely they must have a maximum capacity).  The advantage is that it's hyper flexible because of the lack of reservations.  Since Kabouter's school is in the neighbourhood as well, it seems that there's always at least 3-5 children from his class on the playground.

He's only been 2 days so far so I didn't really know whether he'd like it, but I guessed it would be good since he'd be among school friends.  The first impression is good so lesson for next year: we can plan more weeks of speelplein and less camps.

4) Days off with us

We are extremely lucky that Beertje's (and Kabouter's former) daycare only close for 6 days over summer. When I hear colleagues and friend's, 6 days is much less than average so it seems.  Since we still strive not to take vacation in high season and save our days off season, 6 days is still the maximum we take.
Since there are truly no other care options for Beertje when day care closes, we need to take care of him ourselves so then Kabouter can stay with us.  Previous week we covered 4 days by jointly taking 1 day off (so Jan and I and the children had a 4-day weekend together thanks to the Belgian national holiday) and Jan and I each worked for 1,5 day while taking care of the children for the other 1,5 day alternatingly.  However we managed to both work from home, so it felt a little bit like vacation to quit "work" and to join the rest of the family in the sun in the garden within 3  minutes.

5) Caregivers for sick children
Unfortunately Kabouter got ill this weekend so we had to search for a new option: caregivers that come at home when your children are ill.   We have a good service from the city of Leuven/ZorgLeuven but after a lot of idle phone calls they turn out to be closed for 3 weeks in the summer.
Fortunately there is a similar service from the healthcare insurance (mutualiteit CM).

For the first 3 options, we need to cover week by week, who will pick up and bring the which location (for Kabouter it seems to be a different one each week), when is there babysits available to help out (they have a busy summer schedule too) while Beertje's day care closes early each day (that's the disadvantage of them being open most of the summer).  A big puzzle! But all in all it's not as bad as I feared previous years that it would turn out to be to find care for Kabouter all summer long.


Upje said…
Een hele puzzel, he! Maar ik heb ook het gevoel dat het minder onmogelijk was om hem gevuld te krijgen dan dat ik had gedacht. En hoe ouder ze worden, hoe makkelijker dat toch zou moeten worden, he. Dan kunnen ze mss al eens bij vriendjes gaan spelen of op een 'echt' kamp etc ...
Het enige dat ik hier heel lastig vind, is dat er zelden of nooit kindjes van zijn school te vinden zijn op allerlei opvangdingen. De meeste mama's zijn gewoon thuis en anders gaan er ook heel veel bijna de hele grote vakantie naar het 'thuisland'. Gelukkig maken die kleintjes daar precies niet al te veel van. Mijn zoon is blij als hij iemand kent, maar maakt er geen punt van als dat niet zo is...
Maar ook hier werd heel onze mooie planning in de war gestuurd door ziektes! Dat is toch echt niet te schatten, he ... Viel die opvang van de CM wat mee? Wij hebben dat nog niet gedurfd, maar er zal mss toch eens een punt komen dat we niet meer anders gaan kunnen.
Goofball said…
ja amai wat een gepuzzel. We zitten net aan die paar weken "kampjes met halve dagen" dus nu is het hele tijd tussen ouders mailen wie welk kind meeneemt welke namiddag en moeten er 's avonds nog autostoelen heen en weer gebracht worden. Ugh. maar uiteindelijk moet ik niet zoveel congé nemen, want de andere mama's zijn effectief vaker thuis of hebben oma's die een paar kindjes willen meenemen.

Bij ons zijn er dan wel weer hele tijd klasgenootjes in de buurt: op kamp steeds met minimum 3 en op speelplein meestal minimum met 5 .

Ja die opvang van CM of stad Leuven valt mee. Dat zijn meestal gepensionneerde dames die met wat ballonnen, boekjes en een puzzel bij je langskomen. Die schrijven super uitgebreid verslag: enkel op die dagen weet ik precies hoe veel mijn zoontjes gedronken hebben, welke spelletjes ze gespeeld hebben, welke liedjes gezongen, hoeveel koorts ze elke 2u hebben enz enz. 't is vooral weer lastig om te boeken op het laatste moment en het risico dat er veel zieke kindjes zijn en geen opvang meer vrij is. 'k heb geen ouders die kunnen bijspringen.

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