On a rainy day a few months ago, this NYC Stay at Home Dad decided to test out the babysitting service in the kids’ playroom at the local NY Sports Club. Big mistake! I “strolled” into the gym around 10 a.m., and went directly to the kids’ playroom with my son, who had just woke up from a short nap. I was pleased to find two babysitters in the playroom and only 3 other kids – great ratio of 1 to 2! I asked the sitter what their rate was per hour and how their program works. Basically, they accept kids as early as 3 months old, you sign your name/address on a sheet, sign a waiver, accept the bargain fee of $5.00/hr, and can use their service for up to 2 hours. Other important information: the babysitter will not change diapers, and will find you in the gym if your baby starts to cry. I handed the babysitter a blanket for tummy time and told them how much my son loved being in the Exersaucer. I know my son’s temperament, and his ability to entertain himself on a playmat or in an Exersaucer for an extended period of time, so I was positive that this would work out for me once or twice a week.
I lasted about 20 minutes on the treadmill before I saw the babysitter’s reflection in the mirror behind me, waving her arms, and telling me my “baby is crying.” I returned to the playroom to find my son in screaming tantrum mode (a rarity). Bottom line: he was in his stroller seat, with no toys for 20 minutes – he was bored. They would not put him on the playmat because two older kids were around and they worried about his safety. They would not put him in the Exersaucer because he was not 7 months old yet (he was 2 days away). Those were their rules and they were sticking to them. I guess they were telling me that they expected my son to sit in the stroller like a ‘perfect angel’ during my hour workout – fat chance! I have seen playrooms at their Long Island locations that look newer, more spacious, and filled with lots of new toys. I have not returned to the gym during the day since that incident almost 2 months ago. I am interested to hear if anyone has had a positive/negative experience like this?