Babysitting at Yoga Studios
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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