June 23, 2016
Tips to keep
the kids busy this summer
BC Gov't caucus/Voice file photos
Dave Casey with
Chilliwack Search and Rescue speaks with some kids in 2012.
year, more than 640,000 B.C. kids are looking forward to their summer break.
Itís an exciting time for kids, but
for many working parents and caregivers, this means added pressure
to find fun and safe activities for their kids to fill the longer
days of summer.
Luckily for families throughout the
province, local community centres and summer camps are offering
opportunities for B.C. kids to make new friends while exploring
nature, learning new skills and making the kind of memories that
last a lifetime. As Canadaís natural playground, British Columbia
offers stunning mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches and forests to
summer also comes the need to find quality child-care spaces for
many families. Government has them covered with a new online Child
Care Map that takes the guesswork out of the process of looking for
licensed child-care spaces. BC Early Years Centres are also open
throughout the province to help support families with children aged
0-6 years to access early learning, health and family services under
one roof. Here are some tips to help families welcome the sunshine:
Looking for a summer program
or camp experience for your child?
Summer camps and sports for
kids with special needs:
Several B.C. organizations run
specific programs for kids with special needs. Visit this
site for one near you:
Has your child been diagnosed with
Autism Spectrum Disorder? There are plenty of summer-camp
opportunities for your child, and eligible families can use
their autism funding to cover costs. Check out page 14 of the
Parent Handbook to see if your child is eligible:
Looking for quality child care
and other early years and family services?
Did you know the child-care
subsidy is available through the summer?
your family getting the most out of your tax returns?
Do you qualify for the new B.C.
Early Childhood Tax Benefit? Itís a tax-free monthly payment of
up to $55/month or $660 per year for each child under the age of
Benefits are based on the number
of children in your family and your familyís net income.
To receive the new benefit,
parents need to file their annual income tax returns and apply
for the Canada Child Tax Benefit.
Parents might also be eligible to
claim fees paid for fitness and arts program registrations and
fitness equipment expenses this summer. To see if youíre
For more information on available
tax benefits and credits for families with young children,
Are you preparing for your
childís transition to kindergarten?
For most schools, the kindergarten
registration process begins in January or February for the
following September. There are plenty of other ways you can use
the summer months to help ensure your child is ready to start
For example, StrongStart BC is a
no-cost, early-learning drop-in program that helps prepare
children for success in kindergarten. Contact your local school
district to see if there is a program that offers summer hours
You can also use community
resources like libraries, parks and recreation centres to help
kick-start your childís learning.
Is your child ready to stay at
There is no legislation or policy,
federally or provincially, that dictates when a child can be
left unsupervised. Because every child is different, parents
must use their best judgment when deciding whether or not their
child is ready to stay home alone.
Here are some general factors that
parents should consider before leaving any child unsupervised:
How long will you be away? As
a guideline, itís best not to leave children under the age
of 13 years unsupervised for a period longer than a few
Who will they be with, what
will they be doing and is there a neighbour or other
responsible adult nearby?
Do they have access to a phone
and can you be easily reached in case of an emergency?
Know your child. Some children are
more mature than others. Make sure your child is ready for the
Summer in British Columbia is a great
time to explore our beautiful province and make family memories to
last a lifetime. No matter what your family has planned for the
season, these are just some of the many options parents have to
ensure this summer gets off to a strong start.
The Valley Voice
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