Busy parents, summer break is here! –Yaaaay?!? While yes, I am looking forward to slower days, splash pads and picnic lunches with my dear little one, part of me is also kind of freaking out. No more preschool, no more MOPS, no daily programming to get us out of the house. Getting out of the house keeps us both occupied and sane. As an active social toddler, her energy is at an all-time high and frankly, I’m worried I will run out of steam.
So, this summer, what are we to do?
Pool? — She’s still learning to swim and not yet potty trained, so extended periods at the neighborhood pool are hit-or-miss.
Classes? — We’re having a ton o’ fun this spring at mommy & me Gymnastics, but the new summer class schedule doesn’t fit our routine.
Camp? — She’s just 2 years old and most summer camps don’t offer anything for kiddos that young.
It was my husband, actually, who reminded me of this novel idea: drop-in childcare. For emergencies, for last-minute meetings, for medical appointments, for times when mama just needs a break…the concept of drop-in childcare is sort of a lifesaver, right? He told me not to worry: if her boredom and my patience reach a fever-pitch at any point this summer, he advised to just drop her off and take a few hours for myself. — Hello! What a wonderful (and obvious) summertime solution.
Since this whole ‘drop-off care’ thing is a resource we’ve never used, I did some digging into the best options around.
Here are my top picks for drop-in childcare to utilize this summer, complete with details on age limits, locations, hours and pricing:
- Oak Haven Kids Club: Caring for littles as young a 6-weeks-old and all the way up to 12 years, this Northwest Austin drop-in childcare center serves the widest age-range. Situated next to Oak Haven Massage and across the street from Lakeline Mall, it’s like they hand-picked the location to perfectly fit a tired mama’s self-care and retail therapy needs. Prices are as follows: Infants (6 weeks – 17 months): $12/hr.; Toddlers, Preschool & School-Age (18 months – 12 years): $10/hr.;
Sibling Rate (ages 18 months & older): $6/hr. Snacks are included in the hourly rate & lunches can be brought from home or purchased on-site, with vegan & gluten-free options available. Open 7 days a week, with extended morning & evening hours. Insider tip: RSVP as early as possible for infants under 18 months old — these spots fill the fastest! Call 512-865-6666 for more information.
- Toybrary Austin: Our local toy-lending library (and one of my personal favorite spots!) offers three options for childcare: 1.) Work & Play: Let the folks at Toybrary offer some relief when you’re pulled in all directions at work & home. They’ll watch your kids while you get caught up in their private work room which boasts a comfy couch & chairs, free wi-fi, and free coffee. No need to schedule, just drop-in Tues. through Sat. 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. $15/hr. for Members, 2-hour minimum. 2.) Drop-off Childcare: for 1 – 5 year olds, $12 per hour/per child, by appointment. 3.) Parents Night Out: Enjoy date-night at one of the many fab restaurants between Anderson Lane & Burnet Rd. while your child plays at Toybrary. For ages 1 – 5, $35 per child, every Sat. from 5 — 8 p.m. Call 512-765-4174 or email [email protected] to reserve your spot.
- Kid Spa Austin: With locations in Avery Ranch (Cedar Park & Leander-area) and Circle C (Southwest), Kid Spa caters to families with children ages 18 months to 12 years. Deemed “a getaway for your kids, so you can get away,” this spot seems to have the drop-in system down to an art. Remote check-in reserves your spot before leaving home. No minimum stays means you only pay for the time you use. Hourly rates range from $6.90 — $9.00 per child, with a variety of different rate plans to suit different childcare needs. $30 registration fee applies. Open Mon. through Sat., with early mornings during the week and late nights on Fri. & Sat. Visit their web site for complete details on services and pricing.
What is your favorite drop-in childcare?