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Child Watch Policies

The Lincoln Y offers non-licensed, drop-in child care for up to two hours per day, while an adult on the family account is utilizing the facility. Playful, engaging options are plentiful for young children while you exercise or connect with others over shared interests. At the Y, children are able to develop trust and security, learn about their world, and make friends.

For Ages 6 weeks through 10 years 

Child Watch is an area for children, six weeks to ten years of age. Child Watch offers children the opportunity to free play while interacting with other children and staff. Note: Advanced reservations (up to 1 week in advance) must be made for infants 6 weeks to 12 months at Cooper, Copple Family, Fallbrook and Northeast Y locations. We do not take infant reservations 30 minutes prior to Child Watch closing.

The adult utilizing Child Watch must remain in the building while exercising. Adults my run or exercise outside in close proximity to the Y but must sign a Permission to Exercise Out of Facility Form. Adults must carry a cell phone with them, answer immediately if called and be prepared to return to the Y for their child if necessary.

Activities in Child Watch

Child Watch provides an active, hands-on, multi-sensory, child-centered environment which offers children opportunities for play. Child Watch is where every child is able to freely and joyfully explore, engage, and connect with others and with the world around them. We are excited to offer monthly themes in Child Watch! Be sure to check out our bulletin board in Child Watch for information about the special activities that will be available.

For children ages 5 and older, we offer an opportunity to play games, make crafts and do other age-appropriate activities in a supervised setting sometimes outside of the Child Watch Center. Confirm with the Front Desk staff where to check your child in. They will direct you to the appropriate room or gym.


If there are no children in the Child Watch 30 minutes prior to the scheduled closing time, Child Watch will close early.


Lincoln Y Family & Single Parent Family Members: FREE
Y Adult Members & Community Members: $5/hour/child (Please pay for an hourly visit at the Front Desk and present the receipt to the Child Watch Staff)

Child Watch FAQs

What do I need to communicate to the staff?

You will be required to notify the staff where you will be working out at so we can find you if needed. Adults must carry a cell phone with them at all times while their child is in Child Watch and must answer immediately if called and be prepared to return to Child Watch for their child if necessary. The adult utilizing Child Watch for their child(ren) must remain in the building while exercising. Adults may run or exercise outside in close proximity to the Y, with immediate cell phone contact, but must sign a Permission to Exercise Out of Facility form.

If you have a compliment, grievance, question, or concern about Child Watch, we encourage you to communicate it with the staff. Our staff are there to assist families immediately by answering questions and addressing concerns. You can also contact the Director at each location.

This is my first time using Child Watch. What do I need to know?


The Child Watch Intake Questions must be completed as part of the online registration process by the child's parent/guardian before their child may participate in the Child Watch program at any of our locations. Please notify the staff of any change of information on your child’s form (ie: allergies or health). For more information on how to complete the questions, please visit the Child Watch page.

Check-In & Out Procedures

All families and children must check-in at the Front Desk first and then check-in into Child Watch upon their arrival. Children of parents with adult memberships and community member families must provide the proper punch card or receipt of payment to the Child Watch staff when checking in. For the safety of your child we require parents/legal guardians to check their child in and out of Child Watch at each visit and we limit drop off and pick up to the 2 adults on the account. We encourage new members, parents of infants and parents of special needs children to notify staff of their location in the building prior to leaving Child Watch.


What should my child have for each visit?

Personal Items

Any and all personal items that you bring into Child Watch must be labeled with your child’s first and last name. We ask that you do not bring your child’s toys, tablets, phones, iPads or other electronic devices from home to Child Watch. Any personal items labeled will be taken to the Y’s lost and found and kept for a short time. All other items will be discarded. The Y is not responsible for loss or damage to your child’s items.


For the health and safety of all the children, we ask that they wear proper footwear to Child Watch. We ask your help in encouraging your children to leave their shoes on (tennis shoes stay on best), unless they are playing in the indoor play structure at the facility, then they must be wearing socks.

Infant/Toddler Feedings

You may bring a bottle/toddler cup for use in Child Watch. We do ask that you notify the staff of how you would like the bottle prepared and that all bottles and cups are clearly labeled with your child’s first and last name. Nursing mothers are welcome and encouraged to nurse their child in Child Watch should the need arise.

Diapers & Toilet Training

Please start your infant/toddler’s visit to Child Watch in a clean/dry diaper. Parents are welcome to change their child upon arrival/prior to leaving if necessary. Child Watch staff will change your child if they discover your child has had a bowel movement during their visit. Families must provide their own diapers and wipes for their children. If your child is toilet training, please notify the staff. The staff will do our best to remind your child to use the restroom on a regular basis. If your child will need assistance while using the restroom in Child Watch, the staff will leave the door to the restroom all the way open and one staff will never be alone in restroom stall with child.

Extra Clothes & Soiled Clothing

In the event that a child soils their clothing the YMCA staff will ask you to return to Child Watch immediately to change/clean up your child. We do not keep spare clothing, diapers and wipes on hand and encourage you to bring a change of clothing to use as needed.

My child has some special needs. Who should I speak with?

The YMCA of Lincoln does not discriminate against children with special needs, but requests additional information from you in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for each child. Please note that the terrain of our facilities and our activity levels may make it difficult to accommodate children with certain special needs. An Additional Support Plan Form is to be used by the Program Director and the parent/guardian in order for the YMCA to be made aware of a child’s specific health, dietary, mobility or disability needs and to put in place safety and/or medical accommodations as applicable. The Y will make every reasonable effort to accommodate a child’s special needs but we cannot guarantee that this is possible in all circumstances.

May I bring in a snack for my child?

Please feed your child prior to coming to the Y as we will not provide or allow any snacks or meals to the children in Child Watch. The children of our YMCA employees may eat in Child Watch if approved by the Y Director.


What is your illness exclusion policy?

Children should not be in Child Watch if they are ill and should not return to Child Watch until they have been fever-free and symptom-free for 24 hours without medication. If during your child’s visit, we discover that your child has a fever or other signs of illness, the staff will contact you to return to pick up your child immediately.  

A child should not be in Child Watch if he/she has any of the following symptoms or illnesses, unless the family has a doctor’s note indicating that the child is not contagious: Temperature 100°F or greater; unexplained vomiting; unexplained diarrhea; unexplained rashes; a condition or illness that prevents meaningful participation, presents a health risk to others, or requires medical consultation, including but not limited to: persistent congestion and/or runny nose; sore throat; headache; muscle pain; lethargy; persistent crying; persistent cough. Participants who are diagnosed with any of the other following illnesses are NOT allowed to be in our programs for varying amounts of time depending on the illness: Bronchitis; Influenza; Chicken Pox; Measles; Mumps; Contagious skin infection/disease, such as Impetigo or Scabies or Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease; Bacterial Conjunctivitis or other Eye Infection; Strep Throat; Head lice; COVID-19 (tests positive and/or close contact exposure).  

This policy will be strictly enforced for the health and well-being of the other children and staff in Child Watch Staff. If you discover that your child has one of the conditions noted above after a recent visit to Child Watch (24 hours) please notify the Program Director immediately.  

Medications & Remedies

The Child Watch staff will not be responsible for administering medications and/or remedies such as teething tablets, lip balms, lotions, creams and ointments. For infants, however, we can apply diaper ointment/cream/powder at the request of the parents.

What is your discipline policy?


We will use redirection and time-outs for inappropriate behavior in Child Watch. A time-out is a brief, supervised separation from the group. If problems persist, Child Watch staff will discuss the situation with the parent. If a solution cannot be reached, we may ask that the child not be brought to Child Watch if the behavior jeopardizes the well-being and safety of other children. The staff will make every effort to ensure that no child is punched, pinched, left alone, shaken, struck with any object, bitten or spanked. We are obligated by law to report any signs of child abuse to the proper authorities.

Inconsolable Child

If the Child Watch staff is unable to console a child after 10-15 minutes of continuous distress, the parent will be contacted and asked to pick up the child. We will make very effort to comfort your child, but do not want the child to have an unpleasant experience.