Childcare at the gym? - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-10-2010, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone use a gym with childcare? What do you think about it?



A new gym just opened in my neighborhood and I'm thinking about joining. They offer childcare while you work out, which is the only way I'd be able to go. DS is about to be one and hasn't been in any sort of babysitting or childcare situation yet. I brought him in yesterday for a trial run, and he was fine. He doesn't have much in the way of stranger anxiety anymore - in fact we went to a baby and me class yesterday and he spent the entire hour crawling around and interacting with other babies and adults. So, I think he'd be fine at the gym a few times a week, but it was hard leaving him in that room!



Anyone else doing this? I feel like the benefit would far outweigh any negatives, but I just need to get over this tiny bit of guilt...
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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The only thing I worry about with that age is if the gym gets busy.

The older kids can get a bit unruly and toys  get hurled across the playroom. Also sometimes the bigger kids push or grab things from the babies.

Of course he is going to catch what ever little viruses are going around, but it's either now or later.

I would do it if he seemed happy and the childcare person was attentive.

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Old 11-11-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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I take my 2 yr old most every morning. They do have a baby area that's gated so that the little ones won't get trampled by the big kids, but if your gym isn't too busy and they seem to have enough staff, you'll probably be okay. I love going there and ds has a great time.


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Old 11-16-2010, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The gym does have a separate section for babies., so they don't get trampled by the bigger kids. It's actually a really big area, the people working there are nice, and I've gotten a good feeling the two times I've taken DS there. So, fitness, here I come!

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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I think it depends on the gym. I used a gym when DD was littler and I just stopped going bc I was not comfortable with the childcare, one of the people seemed to barely know the kids were there, the tv was always on, etc. Just not a good vibe.

 

The gym I'm at now is great and I wish I knew about it when DD was littler (she's 4). There are several child care people, depending on how many kids they expect. They know her and me and introduce us right away if they get new staff. They clearly like the kids and are involved with them. There is a separate area for babies when it is full of bigger kids. It works really well. 

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Old 11-19-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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I decided to volunteer at my local gym's child care so I could get my gym membership free (though I still had to pay for my own child care while I used the gym).

They asked me my name, did a half hour of "training", and left me alone with other people's kids.  They never saw ID or did a background check, but their materials promised parnets that every staff and volunteer had a background check.  During my training, a baby came in in a snowsuit in an infant car seat.  I went to take the baby out of the car seat and snowsuit and was interrupted by my trainer:  "what are you doing?  she's sleeping.  Just leave her in there." A baby, indoors wearing a full-body snowsuit.  I also saw them encouraging parents to just leave while their child was screaming, even when it was the child's first time there and the family had just walked in the door.


Needless to say, I quit my volunteer gig and have never used gym child care.  It was advertised very differently than it was carried out.  It was a very large fitness chain with a really nice-looking child-minding set-up.

I'm sure there is better child care out there, but based on my experience, I am not comfortable leaving my young (especially non-verbal) kids with gym child care centres.


4 kids under 10
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:48 PM
 
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We have child care available at our gym too. I left DD once, and haven't been back. She just had a complete meltdown, and it took them 20 minutes to alert me. I told them not to let her CIO any longer than 5 minutes, but they thought it would she would "settle down" once she got used to them, complete strangers that they are. DD is 10 months, and totally aware when I'm not around, so I decided to put off the gym until she's older and more comfortable. Being on a treadmill isn't more important to me than having her freak out at being left with strangers. I do wish she was more social, so I could leave her, but it is what it is.

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Old 11-24-2010, 07:34 AM
 
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I have been going to my local Y for almost a year. I went from my 6 week appointment to the gym to sign up. The first day there they were giving me a tour and in the nursery a little girl got stuck in a chair. They had to call 911. I left. The director of the Y and the person in charge of childcare called to reassure me that it was very unusual incident. I went back after 2 weeks. The chairs were gone. 

 

I think I would have gone stark raving mad without the exercise. I have foot and knee issues so just going for a walk doesn't work for me. An elliptical or swimming gets my heart rate up enough without leaving me in pain. 

 

My baby, now almost 14 months old, has had good days and bad days. They usually come get me after 5 minutes if she cries. The weight room is right next to the nursery so sometime I'll hear her and meet the lady in the hall coming to get me. DD seems to like the place. I'm not one to set up lots of playdates so this is when she gets to be around other kiddos beside her big sister. I learned it is best for me to go earlier when there are lots of kids around. 

 

I am a fan but each parent has to get a feel for their own gym. You have every right to ask about the training and background checks. 

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Old 11-24-2010, 07:57 AM
 
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I love my gym childcare. They've been very good about coming to get me if the kids need me, the play space is great, they limit the number of kids they will take at any one time (you have to call and reserve a spot) and I'm very comfortable with them.  So I think it depends a lot on your kid and on the gym.  If it works out, it can be really awesome.

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Old 11-24-2010, 08:06 AM
 
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I love my gym's childcare.  I think I would go crazy without it... it's the only time away from my kids that I get during the week!

 

It really depends on the gym, though.  I thought about switching to another gym that was closer to me, and when i took a tour was really not impressed with the chidlcare.  There weren't enough adults, IMO, and it was all very chaotic and there weren't many toys.  My gym's childcare could hardly be called "peaceful" (it is a giant room of 3-6 year olds running around!) but it still always seems very under control, and like there is good supervision.  There is also a separate room for the under 1s, which is very peaceful and calm and the caregivers cuddle and play with the babies all the time, and a 3rd room for 2-3 year olds.  Okay, that room is chaotic, I'll give you that :)  But I think that's why they separate those kids both from the babies and the older kids.

 

So I would go with your gut about what the environment is like.  My new baby is 4 weeks old, and I'm counting down the weeks until I can take her!  Two more to go.

 

(I have to admit that sometimes I've dropped the kids off at gym childcare and just sat in the lobby reading a book.  Especially this past summer when it was very hot and I was pregnant and so tired.  It was air conditioned, the kids had a great time, and I got to relax.  Everyone won!)


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Old 11-24-2010, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It's good to hear everyone's responses. Of course every gym childcare center is different and should be evaluated individually, just like any other childcare situation. I'm still getting a good feeling from ours. The separate baby room is very nice, and the babies get a lot of attention. There are activities for older kids, too, so they don't seem tempted to bug the babies. I give them my cell phone number and tell them to call me if he freaks out, but so far he just loves it. Every woman I've met so far who works there is either pregnant or a mom who bring her kids along (or both!) which I find comforting - the last time I picked up DS, the woman watching him had her sleeping boy in an Ergo on her back. DS is very social right now, so it just feels like the right time to introduce something like this.

So of course I'll continue to evaluate the situation, but for now it feels like a great thing for all involved. The physical activity, combined with the precious ability to completely zone out for thirty minutes, is incredibly refreshing.
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