My campus fills with camps for kids in summer. In the weeks I teach, I have to navigate around parents dropping kids off for computer camps and science camps, and down the hall from my classroom, kids are doing something with legos and circuits.
In my own family, I hear the parents who are professionals start planning in February for the camps their children will attend in summer. My students start asking for our summer class schedules early in Winter so that they can plan summers for their kids.
In High School, I’d babysit in summer. Inexperienced and often unenthused about the work, I was the only adult in the lives of young children during those days. At least those families could afford to pay me a few dollars an hour.
Yesterday, the NYT published an essay reminding us that many families cannot afford even that:
WHAT are your kids up to this summer? Sounds like a casual question. But for working parents at this time of year, it’s loaded. What have you managed to pull together that will keep your kids engaged, healthy, happy and safe, while still allowing you to keep feeding and clothing them? For most parents, summer, that beloved institution, is a financial and logistical nightmare.
The financial and logistical nightmare of long summers out of school is sustained in part by the insistence of privileged parents that their children need time to refresh, to invest in enriching summer activities, or to travel. While I’m sure that the logistics of camps and nannies and transportation become complicated, there is at least no worry that children are basically safe and cared for.