How to help your kids avoid that "Summer Slide"
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This summer, a lot of working parents may struggle helping their children avoid that “summer slide” after a full school year of learning.

Local organizations said the Birmingham area offers multiple summer activities and programs that cater to a variety of interests for kids.

Shades Valley YMCA is one of those places, providing unique programs on top of another camp that keeps children curious and learning in fun ways.

Member Engagement Director Douglas Thompson said they’re offering cooking and STEM classes, along with enrichment courses, and ballet.

“We want to make sure that kids can learn some of the things that they maybe don’t have access to at home and learning those things together and also giving them an opportunity to connect with people in the community that specialize in those things,” said Thompson.

Thompson said initial registration for their summer camp is over, but there is still availability for their individual summer programs which start in June.

You can go online to register or call if you have any questions. Financial assistance may also be available.

Local moms said it’s important to them that they find ways their children can stay active and engaged over summer, so they don’t lose everything they learned during the school year.

“Getting together with other friends, having play dates, is really important so that they’re stimulated not just by being at home, but by being with their friends,” said local mom, Sarah Flemming. “And then just being thoughtful about how much screen time they’re getting this summer. Thinking about other activities that would be helpful to them.”

Birmingham Mommy is a group and online resource that shares several options whether you’re a working parent or not.

Founder Angie Cleland talked about several camps with availability along with free or discounted opportunities.

For younger kids she mentioned splash pads, discounted movies, and free bowling opportunities. For teens, she recommended volunteering and free workouts that are provided by Planet Fitness over the break.

“I think it’s important for their brains and for their bodies to stay active and to get out there and at least stimulate them somehow and to be social,” said Cleland. “You don’t want them to just hide in their room all summer. You want them to be out and to maybe make more friends or to be active and social with the friends that they have.”

Cleland said she recommends looking further into what our city has to offer because there are several cost-efficient ways children can continue learning and developing over summer.

For parents looking for some assistance with their children this summer, local childcare service, Wyndy, said you can find childcare for an average cost of $16-$17 dollars an hour.

Wyndy’s CEO, Missy Polhemus, said childcare is a great need during summer. Their service in particular allows parents to set the rate they’re willing to pay.

Polhemus said Wyndy allows families to customize the care they need whether it be long term or day to day, saying they understand the need for flexibility.

“Which is just that ability to find care that matches our schedule, our kids and our family’s needs and also the fact that we had an amazing amount of students in the area,” said Polhemus. “So almost all of our WYNDY’s are college sitters, and they’re looking for really great flexible ways to earn an income while they have busy schedules as well. So, the tech just really makes those two worlds come together in a fantastic way.” 

Polhemus said through their service they ensure quality sitters who have gone through background checks.

Through help from the app, sitters will collaborate and work directly with family and collaborate to customize the caregiver experience they want.

To learn more, you can download the WYNDY app or go online for any questions you may have.

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