How to Start a Kids Program at a Gym
Posted by Katie Zacharkiw

Have you ever thought about starting a kids-focused program at your gym? Kids programs open another revenue stream for your business and make available a huge new group of clients. But they aren’t easy to run. Here are a few tips for how to start a kids program at a gym.

Have a clear purpose for your program before you begin

Running a kids program is a lot of work, so it’s not something you should take on lightly. Why do you want to start a kids program? Are your clients asking for it? Is your schedule at capacity already? Would you need to cut some adult programming to make room for a kids program? What additional resources would you need to make the new program a success? These are all things to consider before you move forward.

Make sure you have the staff to support it

Having an idea is one thing, but do you have the support to execute it? Working with kids is a lot different than working with adults, and you’ll want to make sure you have staff who can handle those unique challenges. You may need to expand your staff by hiring instructors with experience working with children, or bringing in someone to train your existing staff.

Hire staff to support a kids program at a gym

Understand the new logistics

Taking on kids as clients can present a whole new level of complexity to your business models. Your software will need to support client dependency so that the kids’ parents are able to manage the kids’ accounts on top of their own. You’ll need parents to sign additional waivers and have access to multiple schedules. So the bottom line is, you’ll need a software (hey, like Pike13!) that can support your new business model.

Balance your schedule

Kids have school most of the year, so offering your kids classes on Tuesdays at 2 pm most likely isn’t going to work. You’ll need to schedule kids programming for after school hours or on the weekend. This can be tricky when it means cutting into some of the popular class times you have for adults. How much shuffling around you have to do will depend on the size of your facility and the size of your staff.

Depending on the age of the kids, one trick you might consider is to offer kids classes at the same time as your more popular adult classes. That way, kids and their parents can attend their classes at the same time.

Offer a natural progression

Like adults, kids will get bored when a class becomes too easy and will strive for a greater challenge. So just like with your adult classes, make sure there are paths for advancement in your kids' program. That way, as the kids grow, they’ll grow with your business.

Market to parents and kids

You’ll want to market your kids' program to parents since they are the main decision-makers and the ones paying the bills. But parents will listen to what their kids want, especially if what they want is to engage in a healthy activity like fitness. This isn’t to say that you should be bombarding kids with flyers and emails about your class offerings. Instead, make sure the kids are having fun in your class, and tell them about other fun classes that the gym has. A kid who wants to take a class will be a more powerful marketing tool than any sales pitch.

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