Q&A: Best Practices for Offering Child Care

child care

During summer, seeing more children in your facility is very likely. To better accommodate your youth and family demographic, there’s no better time to optimize your child care services, or consider integrating child care if you don’t already offer it.

At Mountainside Fitness in Phoenix, Arizona, child care is an extremely popular and valuable amenity, one that has helped the club reach a larger youth and family demographic. Tom Hatten, Mountainside’s founder and CEO, has learned a few things about offering child care, so we spoke with him about the best practices for maximizing this service in a health club:

What are your best practices for offering child care at a health club?

TH: Each child is checked in, and given a sticker with his or her name and parent’s name on their back. Our ratio is no less than one staff member for every eight kids, and we train our team members to be very interactive with the children. Simply put, make it fun. We have multiple cameras through the child care area, and a parent can tune in to see them playing from the TVs on the cardio machines, as well as the main TVs we have located on the workout floor and in group fitness areas.

Can you describe your club’s child care services?

TH: We offer quite a bit of variety for the kids, starting with full court basketball, a separate movie theater, separate inflatable obstacle course, gaming area, craft area, open play area and finally, an infant area. We even change diapers.

Can this service be a good tool for member acquisition and retention?

TH: I feel it’s one of the best tools for retention in any club. If the child likes going — possibly even talking mom and dad into going because they have so much fun — the parents are more likely to continue with their membership. And if a parent feels comfortable that their child is being watched safely and is having fun, they will feel more inclined to continue using the club.

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