Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parents need a night out

Like many other parents, I get excited when my wife or I find an affordable sitter and escape the nightly routine for an evening out.  It could be for a fancy meal, a romantic evening, a stupid movie, or simply a trip to a store without children interrupting as we both decide on a major purchase.  I think every parent needs these evenings out.  Sometimes my boys are excited to see a sitter...sometimes not, but we try to have adults nights out on a regular basis.

Last Valentine's Day weekend my wife and I tried one of the parents' night out programs that are offered in the area.  Our first experience was with the Little Gym.  I have loved the little gym programs over the years and when I noticed the flyer I had to give it a try.  The kids loved it...absolutely loved it and it was no more expensive then a sitter for the same amount of time. 

Over the summer our main sitter was home from college so we didn't think much of these programs but since she returned to school I started doing a little research on these type of event.  Below are three great local programs that I have found.

Little Gym - Parents' Survival Night 
Age restrictions: Children must be at least three (3) years old and potty trained
Hours: 5:00PM to 8:00PM
Cost: members - $30 per child (sibling discounts available)
          non-members - $35 per child (sibling discounts available)
Availability: Open to the community, but will fill up.
Frequency: A couple of times during the year

As I mentioned, I tried the Little Gym parents' survival night last February and it was great.  The kids had a pizza dinner with juice and then did a craft activity.  Finally they participated in a Little Gym style set of games and activities.  I have always been impressed with the Little Gym staff and they delivered again on the parents' survival night.  They kids were tired at the end of the night but we saw nothing but smiles from their faces.   They typically have a 7PM bedtime and they were tired but the activities were so much fun they wanted to recap the whole night before bed.  Both boys were very excited to show their craft projects and we still talking about it at preschool the next Monday with their friends. 

The next Parents' Survival Night at the Little Gym is scheduled for Saturday, November 20th from 5:00PM - 8:00PM.  As of this morning there were only three spots left.

Boroughs JCC - Parents' Night Out
Age restrictions: Children must be at least three (3) months old
Hours: 5:00PM to 9:00PM
Cost: members - $15 per child / max $40 per family
         non-members - $20 per child / max $50 per family
Availability: Open to the community
Frequency: Monthly

Last night the Boroughs JCC ran their first community parents' night out.  My kids joined many of their friends for this event.  The Boroughs JCC did a great job at providing an exciting, entertaining, and safe event for the kids.  There was pizza, juice, and water for dinner.  A magician, balloon animals, a series of craft activities and story time reading, and even a movie at the end to settle kids down before they were picked up to go home.  My boys had a blast and they can't stop talking about the magician and how much fun they had overall.  The Boroughs JCC used their facility to provide different rooms with different activities so the kids that weren't into one activity had other options.  And the price can't be beat, I am so impressed with how well run and fun for the children the event was.  For any parents out there, you deserve a night out, take advantage of this event.

The next Parents' Night Out at the Boroughs JCC is scheduled for Saturday, December 11th from 5:00PM - 9:00PM.  This one I can't wait.

Westboro Swim and Tennis - Kids' Night Out
Age restrictions: Children ages 4 to 12 (siblings can be under 3)
Hours: 5:00PM to 9:00PM
Cost: members - $10 per child
Availability: Open to members only (Note: the children themselves must be members)
Frequency: Monthly

This is the only program that I don't have first hand experience with but I wanted to include it as several of the parents that I do socialize with rave about the Kids' Night Out program at the Westboro Tennis and Swim club.  This is a night for kids to spend at the club with gym games, swimming, arts & crafts, pizza and more.  Kids Night Out runs once a month on either Friday or Saturday evenings. As I mentioned every parent and child I have talked to raves about this program, similarly to the way I now rave about the Boroughs JCC program.  The facilitators once again are top notch and the kids have a great time playing and creating projects.  If I end up joining Westboro Swim and tennis I will definitely look forward to experiencing this program first hand.

I also found out this week the Westborough Community Education Department also runs events like this occasionally as well.  The price for the last Fales one $16 per student.  Younger siblings were welcome but they also had to be potty trained.I will have to do some research on this program in the future.

Each of these programs is a member/community service.  And from what I can tell, the organizations are not making any money, rather they are just covering costs in hopes of enriching the services they provide to families in the Boroughs.  This is a great example of community supporting the community.  My kids have had great experiences and I definitely enjoy the extra night out.  I look forward to the next Boroughs JCC event.  For the money it is the best that I have experienced so far.

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