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Want to Use Your Gym's Daycare? Look for These Warning Signs That it's a Bad Idea

Posted Sep 08 2013 6:46am

In an effort to increase gym memberships and be able to advertise more benefits, some gyms now have daycare facilities for your child while you train. Before you use them, though, look out for these warning signs that you might want to skip the gym daycare.

1. No one else is using it.

Sometimes it's a good thing not to follow the crowd. Take a cue from the other parents. If the daycare is routinely empty, they might know something you don't.

2. The girl staffing the daycare looks suspiciously identical to the girl who signed you up for your gym membership.

Any daycare should have a dedicated, trained staff, not just beleaguered gym employees on diaper duty. You want someone looking after your baby who can handle any situation.

Daycare should include some group activities.

3. There's no "stuff."

A daycare facility should have a broad range of play and learning equipment for all age groups. There should also be a separate area for nap or quiet time, and a sink area for clean-ups. The décor should be stimulating, with plenty of wall decorations. The lack of a television in a daycare, by the way, is a positive thing.

4. It's off-limits.

As a registered parent, you should have immediate access to your child at all times. Preferably, there should be some kind of viewing window, even if it's just a door window.

This is not the welcome you should expect as a parent.

5. It's freely open to everyone.

Only registered parents with identification and staff with gym IDs should be able to enter the daycare room. The door should be monitored at all times.

6. It smells like a gym.

Just because the daycare is in a gym doesn't mean it should smell like one. If your nose isn't telling you it's clean, it isn't. Children transmit all kinds of germs and bacteria, so it's doubly important to keep daycare facilities clean.

If your baby's not happy, seek a different daycare solution.

7. It smells like chemicals.

The evidence is growing that the use of chemicals to clean children's play areas is toxic and unhealthy for growing children, especially in closed environments. Ask if green cleaning agents can be used instead; even better, suggest natural solutions of vinegar, lemon juice, and water, which are cheaper and safer.

8. Your child doesn't like it.

Granted, some small children just don't like to be separated from their parents. But children can't articulate why something in their environment is wrong or just doesn't feel right.

Pay attention to your child's mood when you pick them up from the daycare and when you drop them off. A strong negative reaction could be a warning sign that something is amiss. You don't have to make accusations. Just steer clear of any place your child is uncomfortable.

You can still get in a good workout even if your gym's daycare isn't up to par. Carefully review your other options and resources to find a good solution that works for both you and your child. If you ask for help from spouses or ex-spouses, family members, or close friends, you'll likely find either a helping hand or a recommendation for an alternate daycare.

Kate Supino is a freelance writer who has done her fair share of changing disposable diapers – and she loves writing about parenting and health topics.

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