Holiday daycare options there, but few

Published 10:16 am Thursday, December 22, 2016

Holiday breaks are great for teachers and loved by all students.

However, parents are often left in a conundrum of what to do with their small charges during the time schools close for a week or two during the holidays.

There is an abundance of camps during the eight-week summer vacation and many local day cares will accept children for those couple of months.

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During the holiday breaks, however, most daycares locally don’t allow drop-ins or stays for just a week or so.

The Oxford Park Commission offers Holly Jolly Day Camps during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays for children 5 to 13. Each camp is 3 to 4 days long and costs $45-60 per camp. Registration is still open for the second two camps which start on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council offers various art day camps during most of the holiday break – except Dec. 26-30 – for children 3 to 10 and average about $40 a day for nonmembers.

Sitter options

brittFor parents of toddlers or who need longer or different hours than the camp provide, Courtney Britt, a University of Mississippi education major, decided to create a place where babysitters and parents could connect, whether it was temporary care during the holidays or all year long.

Britt started Oxford Moms and Sitters Facebook page in June 2015.

“When I started the page, I was babysitting a lot around Oxford,” Britt said. “Other sitters were always asking if I had any families looking for sitters and nannies. Parents were asking me if I had other quality sitters. I started to page to help connect parents with quality sitters.”

The Facebook group is not a certified nanny or sitter site so parents should always use caution and check references when selecting a sitter. It’s simply a place where a parent can post what they’re looking for and for sitters to post about their services.

“People have loved the page,” Britt said. “Over the last year, the page has gained about 2000 members from the Oxford area. I often have moms and sitters thank me for starting the page. It’s been so positive.”

Busy holidays

Britt said activity picks up on the Facebook page during the holidays and school breaks.

“Parents need someone to watch the children when they are out of school,” she said. “College students usually pick up those types of jobs since there is such a long winter break in college.”

Britt believes private sitters and in-home daycares are becoming an increasingly popular choice for parents, even when school is in session for after-school care, and for toddlers not yet in school.

“One mom decides to stay home and opens a successful in-home daycare then three other moms want to do the same,” she said. “It’s grown but not enough. Oxford needs more responsible, well-planned in-home daycares, and less inexperienced moms just trying to make a quick buck. These are people’s children, babysitting is never to be just a job.”