FitnessHow to Start and Grow Your Gym’s Childcare Program

How to Start and Grow Your Gym’s Childcare Program

It’s one thing to bring in new members and another to get them to consistently go to the gym. People inevitably have a number of hurdles that stand in the way of gym time. Your gym can offer a solution to one of these hurdles by offering a childcare program.

Not only does this solution help parents find time for themselves while knowing their children are being taken care of, but it also provides an extra revenue stream for your gym. Here are some ideas for including a childcare program in your gym offerings.

Survey Members

Consider starting by asking members whether they would be interested in a childcare program and for ideas on what would best support them. For instance, parents might provide helpful feedback on scheduling and activities.

Factor in Scheduling

It may be best to start small and then consider developing your childcare program. To achieve this, start with a limited number of time slots. It may make sense to schedule childcare sessions during typical after-school/after-work hours and time windows on weekends. You could experiment with time slots and ask for feedback.

If after-work hours would cause a conflict regarding space, you may want to try slower evening hours. In time or depending on the needs of your gym, consider growing it into a full-time childcare program.

Find a Space

Keep in mind that you’ll need a space to host a childcare program, so think about where it can fit in relation to scheduled fitness classes and other activities. You may have an extra group session or meeting room you could use, or you could host childcare in popular classrooms during off-times.

If the benefits are worth it, you could also consider changing the layout or renovating the gym. Some smaller gyms or fitness clubs may consider expanding to a larger environment to accommodate services like this. (Changes to your gym may be needed to make the space safe and compliant with regulations.)

Hire Staff and Design the Program

Hire dedicated gym staff who can supervise the children in the childcare program. As part of this, consider whether you want people with childcare skills or if you’d like to go further to offer children’s exercise. Another option is to hold classes with children exercising together with their parents.

Choose people with the right credentials and training to suit your needs. Your staff can help plan and determine the program. For instance, maybe one session offers babysitting while another offers children’s exercise or other guided children’s activities. These choices will also help guide any supplies you need for the program, such as:

  • Specific exercise equipment
  • Books
  • Arts and crafts supplies

In addition, staff working with children should have:

  • CPR training
  • First aid training
  • Background checks

Follow Guidelines

Make sure you’re following guidelines for having childcare at your gym. For instance:

  • Ensure you’re meeting safety standards and local laws pertaining to this use of space.
  • Have any licenses and insurance needed, such as commercial childcare insurance.
  • Consider liability.
  • Create terms and conditions for the parents and gym to agree to.
  • Determine a system for tracking children and their needs.

Guidelines will guide you on how you’ll need to set up your space, such as requirements to limit the number of children or to have a child-proofed area.

Determine Payment

Think about the best way to charge for childcare, such as:

  • Charge by the hour or half-hour, with some gyms offering discounts for longer time blocks.
  • Create a higher membership fee.
  • Charge an extra monthly fee.
  • Consider discounts for members or as part of promotions.