Re: the kids in the gym issue
I've been a member of my gym for almost ten years. They have an absolutely WONDERFUL childcare program there, with a separate room for 7-12 year old kids (with a climbing wall, giant video display for wii games, mini-library and afterschool homework helpers). My kids BEG me to go work out so they can go play in the childcare room.
Yet every January means a sudden blooming of neon yellow signs all around the gym, reminding members that children under 16 are not allowed past the reception area/juice bar into any of the weight rooms, cardio areas or classrooms. Under no circumstances. No even a little bit. No. No. No.
Because every January, SS parents make resolutions to lose weight, and apparently, the only way they can do that is if their kids are within five feet of them. So every January, there is a period where these parents try to completely ignore the policies and get their way.
The poor staff has to corral these kids out of the free weight area, where they could get seriously hurt. They have to be chased off of the cardio equipment, which could be just as dangerous. And some of the parents try to sneak them into the exercise classes, insisting that they'll just sit in the back of the room and won't bother anyone. Yes, because nothing says, "yoga relaxation" like an eight year old chattering, "Mom? Mooom? I'm bored and this music is stupid, when are we going to goooooo?"
In some of these cases, I suspect that the parents are trying to get free membership benefits for the kids. A few days ago, an 10-11 year old girl pitched a loud screaming fit because she was asked to get off of an elliptical machine. The minimum age for membership is 16. The mom insisted that the girl wasn't hurting anybody and we (meaning the members exercising around her) didn't care if she was there. But we did, because the gym was very busy and more than one person had walked into the cardio area only to turn around when they couldn't find a free machine. If your child is underage and not a member, it is extremely unfair for her to take up equipment, preventing someone else who is a paying member from legitimately using it.
Typical excuses for not putting their children in the childcare room include:
"But he has to go to the bathroom!" (meaning walk through the weight area to the ladies locker room)
There are bathroom facilities (that do not include grown women changing their clothes) in the childcare center. And generally, these kids use the bathroom and then run through the weight room, right into the nearby indoor basketball court to try to get the adults playing pick-up games to let them play, too.
"There's nothing for the kids to do in there!"
See the above description of pre-teen paradise. The kids room is just as well-stocked with indoor playground equipment, a mini-library, and art supplies.
"I never put MY children in the care of strangers."
OK then, leave them in the care of someone you trust, but don't bring them here.
These people READ and SIGNED the childcare policies when they joined the gym. And yet, every year this happens, and every year, these people try to quit the gym and get their membership fee back because they can't get their way. It usually calms down by March or so.