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Babysitting at Yoga Studios

Offering child care in a studio draws students and gives new parents an opportunity to care for themselves. Here's how to get started.

By Sage Rountree

Legal and Insurance Issues

Ballew, whose studio began offering the service shortly after it opened, looked into the legal issues of babysitting. "We went through the State of Texas," she says. "It's not technically child care, because parents are on site and it's less than two hours. We have a release form that the moms sign."

Laws vary from state to state, so be sure to check with an attorney. Talk to your insurance agent as well, to be sure your policy covers your liability.

Be sure parents have signed a waiver that indemnifies the studio, and that they have alerted the caregiver to any allergies or medical conditions.

Think Beyond the Studio

Rebekkah LaDyne, a yoga teacher in Seattle, includes child care in the retreats she leads for her company, Refreshing Retreats. "I create a kids' camp and child care that happens simultaneously with the adult yoga class," she says. "The whole family goes to a destination—Mexico or Hawaii—and the kids do art, music, songs, games, while their parents get to do yoga."

LaDyne brings along a kids' camp leader, who engages four- to ten-year-olds in art, music, and games during the parents' morning session. "Then, on site, we identify local babysitters for the three-and-under set," she explains.

See the Big Picture

Many women are introduced to yoga in prenatal classes, where they form a bond with their babies and with each other. But the demands of early childhood destabilize schedules, leaving new parents feeling isolated. Attending a studio class offers parents a sense of connection, both with themselves and with others.

Tracy Bogart, director of Triangle Yoga, recalls being a young mother with few resources. She knows offering free babysitting gives parents an opportunity "to get out of the house, take a yoga class, maintain their sanity, and be better mothers."

Gail Grossman, owner and director of Om Sweet Om Yoga in Port Washington, New York, agrees that child care is a valuable service. "I don't really look at [child care] as a moneymaker, I look at it as a way I can bring more mommies in. A mom or two will be able to bring yoga into [her] life because I cared enough to offer this."

Sage Rountree, author of The Athlete's Guide to Yoga, lives with her husband and two young daughters in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she teaches yoga and coaches triathletes. Find her on the Web at sageyogatraining.com.

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Reader Comments

Young Yoga Masters

Kids yoga classes are often shorter than adult yoga classes. So your suggestions for stocking your room with books or coloring is so important to pull out those last few minutes of a class. Its a quiet activity that keeps those kiddies busy while the adults finish.

Karen W

Thank you for mentioning BYTW! I am a student at BYTW and have really appreciated the babysitting offered. My studio has a smaller studio that is used for childcare six days a week! What a great way for busy moms to get their yoga done! The babysitters are fellow yoga students. It helps create a sense of community and offering free classes as an incentive is always a great way to find volunteers.

One thing that is VERY helpful in organizing the babysitting is to have a Reservation system. At Bikram Yoga The Woodlands, mothers are required to RSVP for their babysitting the night before class. This allows for the staff to ensure enough babysitters are available.

I have benefited immensely from this service and I think it's a model of service that many studios can benefit their clients with right away!

Namaste
Karen Waxler

Dayamitra

I am thinking of the single mums around my area and have been considering teaching a special class for mums with little ones. I only have one room (carpeted). The place I hire is a mums & babies place (one room). I am lucky that my husband is also a yoga teacher & we could perhaps do this together.
I think there would need to be an age limit, though because of our lack of extra space.
This site is fantastic for giving me ideas in helping me with this area of teaching. Thank you.

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