Healthy parents: Setting good examples for kids in the new year

2014-01-02T09:00:00Z Healthy parents: Setting good examples for kids in the new yearJennifer Pallay Times Correspondent
January 02, 2014 9:00 am  • 

Chasing after a toddler all day may seem like exercise enough, but a full workout is an important tool many parents need to de-stress. Thanks to local fitness centers that offer childcare and some other creative outlets, moms, dads and kids are able to enjoy the health benefits of staying fit.

Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness, with locations in Schererville and Chesterton; and Community Hospital Fitness Pointe, located in Munster, all offer childcare facilities for members.

The Omni program accepts children 6 weeks to 12 years old for up to two hours per day at no additional charge to the member. The children can do activities such as a weekly craft, work on puzzles, color or watch TV. Younger babies enjoy the activity bouncers and swings.

The center has multiple rooms, which lets the children play within their own age group.

“A lot of these parents wouldn’t have anywhere to leave their children and even if they hired help, it’s at least $10 an hour. That adds up. I think that’s a big value with what they pay monthly,” said Adalia Gonzalez, who has been a playroom attendant at Omni for 15 years.

The staff members are CPR certified and childcare centers follow all Indiana guidelines.

“I really believe that we have a great staff and most of the staff has been here a long time,” Gonzalez said. They are also friendly and flexible with parents needs and the children enjoy their time there.

“The kids really get to know us. We’re the same people every day.”

“Your child is here in a safe environment and parents can release their stress,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing we give back to the parents. They have the ability to de-stress and be a better parent.”

Childcare is offered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Families can use the club facilities during special hours from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Fitness Pointe also offers childcare for ages 6 weeks through 12 years.

Ginny Miceli, who has been a daycare attendant at Fitness Pointe for 13 years said when parents come back from working out, they seem more refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle the responsibilities of parenthood.

“It gives them that break that they need. It helps them de-stress from parenting. They come in with a whole better positive attitude,” Miceli said.

She said the children also benefit by learning how important it is to take care of yourself.

“They’re being taught not only to work your body but to eat better as well,” she said.

Their center is a large room put together in a great way, Miceli said. It has designated areas to play house, read books, play with blocks, do puzzles and board games. They also have game systems for older children and an outdoor space that the kids can enjoy when weather allows.

Fitness Pointe childcare is offered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays.

Employees of community healthcare system can use the service for free. Regular members pay an additional $3 for care up to 90 minutes and $4 for two hours.

Bellaboo’s Children’s Play and Discovery Center in Lake Station recently started a new partnership that focuses on parents’ fitness goals.

Kara Mackey, general manager of Bellaboo’s, said the partnership with FIT4MOM, owned by Annette Lister, will include new programs taking place on what’s being called Fitness Fridays.

All programs are an “and play” option, which means participants come for class and can stay and play with their kids all day.

Fit for Mom is from 9:15 to 10 a.m. Fridays. Parents and children can exercise together with adults utilizing their stroller as a fitness tool as they interact with their children. It costs $130 for the eight-week program, which runs Jan. 13 to March 8.

“It’s a good time to get a nice workout and then they can stay and play,” Mackey said.

Moms who want a more intense workout can sign up for Work it and Play, a 60-minute body back program. Bellaboo’s staff members will do activities with kids during the class so moms can focus on the exercise. The class costs $175 and is also eight weeks.

“They can have peace of mind that their kids are having a great time while they’re working out,” Mackey said. “You don’t have that mommy guilt that happens sometimes,” she said.

Mackey said she’s excited about the classes and hopes people are able to take advantage of them.

“I know it’s hard to pay anything right now around the holidays but we made a concerted effort to make them affordable. They’re here as a service. We want people to utilize these classes.

Bellaboo’s also offers less strenuous classes like Music and Play and Preschool Prep and Play classes for parents and children. For more details on any class, call (219) 963-2070.

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