A Beginner’s Guide to Childcare

By Narinda Heng

So. You’ve made a tiny human! Does this mean no more climbing gym time? No!

You may have noticed that door between the drinking fountains and the men’s locker room with the “Childcare” sign above it. Here’s what’s inside:

2014 Cleaned Toys

Berkeley Ironworks offers childcare for children age 6 months to 6 years four days a week:

Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:00pm - 8:00pm

Saturdays 10:00am - 1:00pm

Sundays 2:00pm - 5:00pm

The pricing is pretty incredible at $7.50/hour for members and $10.00/hour for non-members.

(You’ll still be on diaper & potty duty, though, so keep an ear perked for the intercom in case those needs arise.)

I’ve been one of the childcare staff since August 2013, and I wanted to offer some hints and tricks for parents leaving their babes for the first time:

1. You may be called back to the childcare room for soothing. The first visit or two might be a little rough for those kiddos under three. They get worried. They think you’re never coming back. They start crying. Desperately. We’ll try to soothe them with toys and books and videos, but if that doesn’t work, we’ll ask the front desk to call for you over the intercom. It’ll happen less and less with each visit!

2. Sometimes it’s so hard to say goodbye that it’s better not to. Some babes mainly have trouble with the letting go part. It helps to let the childcare person know what your child is excited about playing with, so that they can distract them as you quietly leave the room to go climb your project, take a yoga class, or run a few miles on BIW’s super-fancy new treadmills.

3. The more the merrier! We can have up to six children in the childcare room at a time, and the babes tend to do better when they have other kids to play with. Play/belay dates are highly recommended. Are you a part of a pair of parents taking turns watching the little ones? Are your toddlers good pals? Set them on a play date in the childcare room so you can all get your climb on. Everybody’s happy.

4. There’s no place like home, but the toys don’t have to stay there. We have plenty of different toys for varying ages, but it’s great for them to have more familiar happiness- making things to play with, or a favorite book to read. Bring a few along. Here some creative tikes integrated their set of Squinkie toys with our map play rug:

2014 Squinkies on Rug
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The four year old’s had a grand ol’ time.

 Weekday evenings can get a little wild at the gym. You can pay ahead for childcare time so you can just scan your member card and then come straight to the childcare room, where you can sign off the amount of time (in 1/2 hour blocks) that you’d like to use. Precious minutes saved! And it lets BIW know that there are folks interested in the childcare service, so we can keep it going for the parents yet to come.

These are some things I’ve noticed since I joined the childcare team. You know your child better than I do, of course! You never know whether this will be a good fit unless you try, right? What’s the harm? You wouldn’t want to leave us to sit alone polishing the toys all shift long, would you?

Past blog entries can be found at  http://touchstoneclimbing.blogspot.com/

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