Gym for the children, but with a difference

Gym for the children, but with a difference

Letting the child play in the heat and dust outdoors or get a bruise or two on the playground was a norm for the earlier generation of parents. However, with shrinking play areas for the young ones, taking a toddler or a child to a swanky play school or a hi-fi crèche nearby is but the norm in concrete jungles. 

 What has added to the woes of many parents is that they often find it difficult to squeeze in quality time for their precious bundles of joy. Also as technology has taken over the psyche of most people in the urbane landscape, they simply hand over the latest snazzy gizmos to children as toys for them to play.

 This, they believe, solves the problem as children get busy with the latest game download on their tablets or even smartphones and online games help sharpen their thinking! Also there is little chance of them getting physically hurt or exposed to heat and dust.   But now people have one more option, especially if one seeks to introduce a slice of yesteryears by introducing children to physical activity. A gym for kids! Yes. Gym is no more a no-go area for children who have not hit their teens. And this one welcomes children as young as six weeks up to 12 years.

 “It has been a fabulous journey so far for my daughter. Though my daughter is very young but still I can feel that she wants to visit the place every day. The changes that I observe after she joined My Gym include being more open to people, there is a sharp improvement in her skill set,” Neha Tomar, mother of 10-and-a-half month old Mahira, says! 

Amrita Baheti, mother of three-year-old Kabir, too exudes happiness about her decision to send her son to this gym for children. “My child is more confident now and physically he is more fit then before,” she says.

What Neha and Amrita are talking about is the gym their children have been attending in Ahmedabad. But other than being a gym for children, it is not a gymnasium in the traditional sense. Here children will not have to do weights or push-ups. Also, children need not do bench presses either.  

 “Every parent wants their child to develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. We focus on that and offer structured, age-appropriate, weekly activities that see children gain strength, balance, coordination, agility and flexibility,” says Urvi Patel, director of My Gym, the facility situated in Ahmedabad. 

  A mother of two children, Urvi was a worried parent when it came to bringing up her children. “It is a proven fact that your child begins his or her learning even before he or she comes into the world. I had seen my elder child grow and the efforts required to entertain him, to get the child out and keep him fit. So when I was back to parents house in Mumbai in 2013 for my second child, I wanted to find a way to keep both my children fit. I wanted to ensure their overall development, mental, physical and cognitive,” she says. 

During her journey for answers, she stumbled upon the concept of My Gym, that offered the solution for overall development of her children. “As a parent, I loved the concept and wanted to share it with other mothers. Though I loved kids but being from a family of jewellers, my experience in business was limited to handling the glitter of gold and precious stones. I had no experience of working with kids, except my own,” Urvi narrates her early quandary.

 Moreover, My Gym incorporates music, dance, relays, games, special rides, gymnastics, sports and more for children. It was difficult for a mother of two and a former jewellery designer to understand the finer nuances.

 “I was too passionate about this and had to do it. With family land available, I pooled my resources and began working on shaping My Gym in Ahmedabad couple of years ago, before seeing the light of a day early this year,” Urvi says.

Children are classified into Little Bundles (6 weeks-6 months), Tiny Tykes (7-13 months), Waddlers (14-22 months), Gymsters (23 months -2 ½ years), Terrific Tots (2 ½ -3 ¼  years), Mighty Mites ( 3 ¼ -4 ½ years), Whiz Kids (4 ½ -6 years), Champions (6-8 years) and Cardio Kids (7-12 years).

But then how is this gym for children really different from just another dance class, activity class or play school that we already have all around the city? “Well, many parents who visit us initially also find it difficult to understand the concept and feel that it is a free play area where they can drop their kids and go. They are unable to buy the idea of having a gym for kids as it is indoors. But here the children are exercising and shaping their body. They are not just playing, they are also shaping their thinking too,” Urvi says.
 
“My Gym may also not have the equipment you see in a typical gym but it is a gym for children and has its own kid-safe equipment. Many a time some children are very active and energetic but do not play sports. We work on their body in a fun way. We play a lot of games, teach basic gymnastics, tumbling, puppets, dances, warm up and when children go home and tumble, do somersault, they feel confident and at the same time it is fun. Some children, especially the ones from nuclear families, become more communicative with their peers,” she adds.

Moreover, she claims that her staff is trained to the international standards for 8-weeks. “The training modules for children too are designed in a manner so as not to harm the kid’s body in any way,” Urvi says.

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