Haven on the Lake’s KidSpace Offers Moms and Dads a Reprieve
By Tracy Dye
Our days can get hectic, and the obligations of being a parent can leave moms and dads stressed. That’s why Haven on the Lake, a Mind Body wellness retreat in Downtown Columbia, offers an eclectic menu of services that cater to physical, mental and emotional health.
Haven’s classes range from yoga to Pilates to tai Chi. The treat’s one-of-a-kind ambience is augmented by an area for healing environments: a pool, hot tub, crystal salt room and sauna are only a handful of this section’s luxurious features.
Yet it’s difficult to enjoy if there’s no one to watch your kids. That’s why Haven has something that sets it apart from other retreats — KidSpace, an interactive play area for children from six weeks to 13 years old. The program is also offered at three other facilities: Columbia Athletic Club, Supreme Sports Club and Columbia Gym. All KidSpace programs operate Monday through Friday from 9am to 9pm; on weekends the hours of operation are 8:30am to 4pm. Children can utilize the space for up to two hours.
The highly trained staff and fun activities at KidSpace makes it easy for parents to enjoy a few hours of serenity without worry.
All KidSpace staff members are required to complete CPR and First Aid certification training provided on an ongoing basis throughout the year by certified Maryland State Department of Education professionals. Training includes subjects such as age-appropriate activities, special needs and others.
“You can’t actually relax here if you’re worried that your child isn’t safe,” said KidSpace manager Julie Howard. “That kind of defeats the whole purpose.”
Per sanitation regulations and company policy, KidSpace attendants do not provide diapering services or feedings. To further ensure safety — and put parents’ minds at ease — moms and dads are given pagers that will buzz and light up should any issues arise.
A Space for Creativity
But KidSpace isn’t just a place where children sit around. Their creativity is fostered through activities that cater to various ages and stages of development, including crafts, games and reading activities, plus some recreation specifically tailored to the time of year.
Each month, a large whiteboard in the area lists a different question for children — along with attendants and parents — to offer their input.
“One question was, ‘What are you looking forward to for the school year?’ ” Howard said. “The moms would write, ‘Quiet.’”
While moms and dads enjoy some silence, children also have the opportunity to disconnect. In order to absorb the retreat’s philosophy, computers are not a fixture at Haven’s KidSpace.
While older children can sometimes be thrown off by the lack of technology, a reprieve from electronics can breed opportunities for development.
“We have a spirograph set which is specifically for older kids, because it takes a lot of fine motor skills and problem solving to do that,” Howard said. “It’s nice for them to realize that you don’t have to be online all the time to have fun.”
“It really becomes a personal experience when you get to know the kids,” said Courtney Drosjack, a KidSpace attendant. “You start to build a relationship — they get to know you and you get to know them.”
The cozy interactive play area and a low child-to-staff ratio allow for a more personal experience.
“It’s really nice when a child connects with somebody,” Howard said. “Some of the older children have written notes to the staff…It’s just so great, because they have another adult to feel a little connected to and who supports them. That’s always a good thing.”