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How to choose a summer program for your kid (and fast)

A female child photographed in mid air as she jumps into a lake from a deck on a sunny summer day.

The quest to find a summer break program for your child is often fraught with stress. Things are even more challenging once spring has sprung, and you realize that you’ve got to kick summer planning into high gear or risk hearing repeated cries of “I’m bored” when school lets out.

If summer program registration has managed to sneak up on you this year, these four tips for navigating the vast sea of options when you’re short on time will be your lifesaver:

1. Talk to your kid

The first (and most obvious) thing to do is ask your child what they want to do this summer. The interests of children can change like the wind, so having a one-on-one sit-down with your kid will speed up the process of matching their hobbies with a program they’ll enjoy. Make sure to figure out what type of program they want to attend: do they want to try a day camp or are they hoping to stay close to home?

2. Have a solid plan of action 

Choosing a summer program is not a wake-up-and-book-it kind of decision. Take the time to consider the key features that you’re looking for in the ideal program. Having a list of questions to guide your search will help you get organized and make the process of finding a program move at a quicker pace: What is the program’s philosophy? Is the program licensed or accredited? What are the qualifications of the staff? What will my child do and learn? If it’s a sleep-away camp, how do they deal with homesickness?

3. Consider ALL of your options 

Being late to the registration game doesn’t necessarily mean slim pickings. There are many great summer programs still available — and some may well be right down the street. Our Summer Club program, for children aged 4 to 12 years, operates in neighbourhood schools across the GTA so that kids can have a summer of fun in their own backyard.

4. Don’t forget about your needs as a parent 

When you’re scrambling to find a program for your child, it’s easy to forget that your needs matter too. Having to battle rush hour traffic to drop off and pick up your child at a program that’s far from home can turn your summer from relaxing to stressful in a heartbeat, so remember to evaluate whether the program will fit into your busy schedule. Features like busing, catered lunch options, and extended care can make a world of a difference for parents with busy schedules.

Registration for YMCA Summer Club is underway! Our week-long programs offer kids a summer filled with endless opportunities to play, learn, and create lasting memories. Build your custom eGuide today to register your child for a Summer Club.