Summertime and the kids of divorce– how you can help



What do single or divorced parents do with their school-age children when school is out?

This is a real dilemma many single parents face. The days are long, kids get bored easily, and events and activities cost more than the budget allows.

Single parents often struggle to afford high-quality child care and recreational programs. Many single parents feel guilty over having to work long hours and would really like to be at home with their children.

How can you help the single parent be successful during the summer months?

Here are some options you can suggest to single parents:

  • Child care in a licensed program – Make a list of licensed programs in your area that take school-age children.
  • Small, licensed home daycare – Some states don’t require licensing of home daycares, so be sure to check if your state requires a license. If it does, don’t suggest unlicensed programs.
  • Recreational summer day camps
  • Programs at the local YMCA, YWCA, or Salvation Army
  • Private babysitting in the single parent’s home
  • Reliance on relatives, such as grandparents who live close by
  • Leaving older children at home alone
  • Leaving an older child to babysit younger siblings during the day – Perhaps a volunteer could call or check in on the children during the week. While this is not an ideal situation, truth be told, many single parents do this out of necessity.
  • Hodgepodge care by getting neighbors, church friends, and relatives to care for the children on different days of the week

Other camps to check out in your area

  • Sports camps – Some parents rotate their children through several two-week or one-week programs.
  • Music camps – Some music camps are overnight, while others might be a week or two in town or even one day a week for several weeks.
  • Drama or fine-arts camps
  • Science camp
  • Art camp
  • Scouts (e.g., Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts)
  • Localized camps, such as sea life if you live close to the ocean or hiking if you live close to the mountains

Activities in your own church

  • VBS – Make this easy on single parents by helping them find transportation to and from VBS. Also, find volunteers to keep the children before and after VBS, so the parents can work a full day.
  • Local mission trips
  • Parties during the day, such as swim parties and movie days – Make sure to find transportation for children whose parents work all day.
  • Church field trips during the day, such as going to the zoo and playing mini-golf – Make sure that children from single-parent homes have lunch, if needed, or money to purchase meals and snacks.

An article that I wrote for Focus on the Family offers more suggestions and can be found at its Thriving Family site: Schools Out! Now What?

One more point: remember that some single parents only have their children during the summer months. You might not be aware of these parents, so ask questions, and notice if  you have new children coming to church. These parents may also need help finding daytime care for their children.


This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on July 2, 2014.

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5 thoughts on “Summertime and the kids of divorce– how you can help

  1. Our family is trying to do our best to help others have fun this summer and take some pressure off their parents. We have “been there. “It is really hard for single or separated parents

  2. When I posed a question to single parents on Facebook about ideas for summer here is what one single mom by the name of Rosie posted. “I wish church leaders would know that summer is a very tough and lonely time for single parents and also challenging for the kids. there is so little structure to lean on and the days seem long and endless when money is tight. Its hard for the kids as they feel they aren’t getting as good a holiday as their friends who have 2 parents. Mostly the kids don’t understand why things are so hard for their family. It would be great if churches could provide a space for the kids to relax, draw, paint, play for a while even if just an hour in the week so mums could get a chance to go to dentist or doctor or see a friend for coffee and get a little window of time out.” Rosie gave her permission to post in the comment section here on the blog.

    She went onto say, “I live in Ireland not USA but I have come to realise single parenting seems to be at the same the world over the more I read. I am trying to encourage church leaders in my town to let me facilitate a single parents support group. It is not something that is recognised or understood it seems unless you become one.”

  3. Pingback: How Can Single Parents Overcome Unique Summertime Problems? | KidzMatter

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