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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 10-14-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
Brian Strump
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Child care in your box

I am currently working with a contractor to open an affiliate. Our space is 3200sqft, split evenly in half between CF, and chiropractic/massage therapy office. We have alot of attention from the "stay at home" mom's and have contemplated a small area, 8x10, with 4ft half wall to keep the children while the parents are training. Maybe a TV, games, something simple, allowing members to come and not have to find a space to drop the kids. Convenience is key to getting people through the door, thus the DC/MT office under the same roof.
Does anyone have a space for children? What's it like? I don't want the added expense of hiring someone to supervise, so more of children's area, than child care I suppose.
I have some calls into insurance companies regarding liability issue with that, but in the meantime, just wanted to get some ideas from others.
Any ideas are appreciated.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
Katrina A. Burton
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Re: Child care in your box

Poll your customers...
The kids will cry out MOM MOM watch this or MOM i'm thirsty etc. This will disrupt your class, are you ok with this? This will disrupt that client, are they ok with this? This will disrupt other clients, are they ok with this?

Some people exercise to get away from their kids. If they go to a place and are surrounded by other people's kids it's the same issue.

CrossFit Lethbridge opened a 'Babysit Fit' hour where the parents come to class, 1/2 of them work out for 45 min while the other 1/2 watch all the kids and then they switch. These classes are offered in the day time. Early morning and evening classes are clients only.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
Sara Fleming
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Re: Child care in your box

We have lots of kids at our box. I have mainly moms during my training hours and we have a room for the kids with a TV/DVD player and a couch, a table for drawing and eating snacks, some toys, and for the most part, they have free reign of the wrestling room and all the mats during that time. We have pretty strict rules about no kids in the weight room and if the parents don't catch them, we do and after making sure they have what they need, return them to their quarters. No one minds the disruptions, but we don't run traditional class times and have more of an open session format.

If you are going to have little ones, under the age of four, I think a half wall is a great idea and a gate that keeps them in there is an even better idea. But, if you can window it in to control noise, that would be good as well. Probably one of the biggest concerns I have with little ones is that they will come running in when someone is swinging a kettlebell or throwing a barbell over their head. It doesn't take much to break a tiny skull. Little ones like to be able to see mom and dad and if they can do that, they are usually okay. An occasional wave, smile, or intermittent check-in usually keeps them going for the duration. Some of my clients will set up their less adventurous little ones (yes, they are girls ) on a bench in the workout room with a portable DVD player and a snack and they dont' stray because they know where mommy or daddy is.

And, no, most parents don't care if their time is longer because their mini-me needed a snack or had to go potty. And the kids have never interfered with someone else's workout, but our clientele is pretty considerate. It makes it a lot easier for moms to come in and work out in the morning without having to spend extra money on day care, especially when the kids are tracked out of school and if you have a Crossfit-Kids instructor on hand, well, its always a good excuse for an impromptu class. We have a lot of families at our gym and it works well for us. Little kids grow up to be big kids who play sports . . .
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:52 PM   #4
Benjamin Goodale
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Re: Child care in your box

I run a Family Fit class on Sunday mornings at the affiliate where i coach now, and have been trying to develop programming that parents and their kids can do together.

I am working towards opening my own affiliate and the child care and family aspect is central to my plan. I am hoping to have stuf fduring the day as well as an after school program for kids, and when parents come to pick them up, the kids can either train with the 'rents or play or just chill while the folks workout. To seal the deal, i plan to offer prepared meals to go by preorder, which will of course be Paleo-Zone, primo Crossfit fuel.

I do think having a separate yet visible area for the kids to hang is really important, both for safety and sound separation.

When I was a CF New england for a cert, I saw that they had a nice kids room.

Some people exercise to get away from their kids. If they go to a place and are surrounded by other people's kids it's the same issue.
thats a good point,. i never even thought of that. i will have to factor this in to the plan...

Last edited by Benjamin Goodale : 11-06-2009 at 07:54 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar
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Old 11-23-2009, 10:00 PM   #5
Bryant Swenson
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Re: Child care in your box

I'm surprised the issue of insurance and liability has yet to come up. I've had several requests to provide a way for moms with little ones to come workout, but I've yet to find something that works. I know several affiliates who allow children to be watched in a separate area and some even with little or no supervision. Maybe I'm too cautious, but this has lawsuit written all over it. All it takes is one kid getting into the gym and smashing their foot with a kettlebell and you can kiss your affiliate good bye. I know the mom was your best client, but when their little one gets maimed I guarantee the fangs will come out.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have child care, but it should be done right. I'm not an expert in the field, but I would imagine you would need special insurance as well as a childcare provider who has a background check and is qualified to do the job.

Any input on this would be welcomed. I could probably take on several more clients just by providing childcare alone, however, not enough to cover the expense of extra insurance and a childcare worker.
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Old 11-23-2009, 11:00 PM   #6
Eva Bigongiari
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Re: Child care in your box

As a mother, I would be wary about leaving my daughter in an unsupervised "childcare" area, especially if you're going to have kids of different ages all together. Older kids are often fascinated by babies, but don't realize how easily they could hurt babies. Even rough play amongst kids of the same age can end in disaster if there isn't someone there to supervise them. If you're going to offer a child area at your gym, I'm sure it would make most parents more comfortable if there was some kind of adult supervision there.
I will not tip-toe through life just to arrive safely at death!
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:43 AM   #7
James lee
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Re: Child care in your box

why not set something up with a local childcare facility. find the nearest to your gym, see if you can make a deal for your members to drop the kids off. Your members are happy, you have 0 liability concerns.
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Old 11-24-2009, 07:21 AM   #8
Damon Stewart
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Re: Child care in your box

We offer childcare at two times per day (9-11am & 4:30pm). The insurance is approximately $700/year. Our am provider is an RN and our pm provider is a licensed daycare provider. Both have completed full background checks.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:30 PM   #9
Sakura Barrientos
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Re: Child care in your box

I started CF when my daughter was 2.5mos old. She would hang out in her car seat while I attended class. But as she grew older, she wandered away or wanted out of her car seat. The box I went to at the time didn't have childcare or a separate room--now they do.

Our box doesn't have a separate room but we're planning on doing something in the future. While I don't mind letting my daughter hang out in the office, watching Dora while I teach, she'll scream for me if she needs me. So, she stays at home when I train.

Our original insurance didn't like that we allowed kids to hang out at the gym. Now that we're thinking about having a room for the kids, it complicates things. Not to mention, it may be unsupervised but will have two open windows into the gym so parents can see their kids and the kids can see them.

As a housewife prior to being an affiliate owner, it was easier to take her with me since we didn't have child care. But now that she's 2, I feel that taking her with me can be dangerous. Not only that but I've seen parents neglect their children while working out and I hate seeing that. I'd rather not have kids in the gym but I know how much easier it is to get into the gym if they can bring their kids.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:19 AM   #10
Mark Griffith
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Re: Child care in your box

I don't ever want to have in my box:
Child care
CrossFit Kids - great program, but not for me.
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