Family Vacation Tips

New to Resort Kids Clubs

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 31, 2014 11:41:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

resort kids clubsAt Vacationkids, Q&A blog posts are our favorites. This week, we received an email from Brandy asking us how Kids Clubs work for child care when you're on vacation.

Brandy wants to know -

I've never used a kids club before and have a few questions. How long are your children allowed to be there for, is there set hours? Do you have to pre book them in or just drop them off? Do you have to stay in the resort or can you leave? Please tell me all I'll need to know :)

Hi Brandy – Glad to help!

I will do my best to answer all of your questions here – I am assuming we’re talking mostly about all inclusive resorts here. With all inclusive resorts, their kids club/child care is complimentary and included in the price of your room…so there is no extra charge for this babysitting care.

How long are your children allowed to be there for, are there set hours?

Every hotel has their own set of rules regarding age requirements for the kids and their hours of operations. Activities, ammenities and interactivities vary with each resort. Some resorts offer everything from personal certifiedl nannies to immense waterparks. Other resorts may advertise that they have a kids club, but in reality, families will find a tired room with a few videos and board games so you do need to do your homework.

Hours of operation for kids clubs vary too. Most are open or available 7 days a week. Some kids clubs open from 9am-9pm daily; some are just open from 9am – 5pm. Still others may close for an hour or so during the middle of the day. Many resorts will schedule at least one night per week for an evening activity like supervised kids movies by the pool so that mom and dad can enjoy a romatic dinner alone.

The majority of children’s programs are geared for kids ages 4-12.  Some resorts do offer baby care and some even have teen programs. Children are allowed to attend the kids club for as much or as little as they or their parents choose.

The best kids clubs keep strict rules. For example if they say all children must be completely potty trained, they mean it. Please don't expect that your 3 year old who acts very mature will be allowed to stay with their 5 year old sibling if that particular kids club starts at age 4.

Do you have to pre book them in or just drop them off?

Pre-booking for the kids club is usually not required. Hotels can tell from their room reservation lists how many children they can expect and will staff accordingly.

If you and your kids are planning on using the kids club then your family should check in there shortly after you arrive. Parents are required to visit the resort kids club and register before their children will be allowed to participate. Normally paperwork is required which needs to be filled out and signed. Of course staff will want to know if your child has any special needs, allergies, etc. After that, you can generally just drop kids off. Parents do need to accompany their children to the kids club and sign them in and out. Some clubs may allow older children to sign in and out themselves but do require parental signatures for this privlege. Many resorts offer parents cell phones/pagers so they can be easily contacted in case their child needs them.

Some clubs will give parents a list of items to send along with their child each day like sunblock, bathing suits, dry change of clothes etc. Depending on resort rules, Kids club staff may offer kid friendly meals in the kids club or escort children and assist them at the main buffet.

Children are not required to stay for the entire day or any set amount of time. They are welcome to stay for a little or long as they or their parents choose.  There is a list of daily activities - games, crafts, movies cooking classes, sing a longs, shows, character visits etc. Kids may choose to participate in any or all activities.

Do Parents have to stay in the resort or can you leave?

Parents ARE required to remain on resort property while their children are in the kids club.  Mom & Dad are free go to relax on the beach,  head to the spa, enjoy a great meal or hang out at the pool bar but they must stay on resort property. Parents ARE NOT allowed leave to the resort to go sightseeing, scuba diving or play a round of golf off property.

Some resorts will allow parents to arrange for a one on one babysitter for child care if parents choose to leave the resort. Generally the cost is @$20 USD per hour (more if there are multiple kids or if care is late at night).  Private babysitting needs to be arranged with concierge at least 24 hours in advance and paid up front.

Cruise ships, on the other hand, also have kids clubs. Most family friendly cruise lines offer Cruise Kids Clubs for all ages of children. Many cruise lines now offer infant care but do have specific age requirements and normally charge hourly for this service. Baby care on board costs @ $10/hour. Complimentary cruise kids clubs start from toddlers (ages 2-3 depending on the specific cruise line) thru teens and runs throughout the entire day. Cruise kids clubs do have organized, supervised activities for ALL ages late into the evenings but they do charge for this after hours service.

Cruise Kids Clubs DO ALLOW parents to leave the ship for excursions while leaving their kids in their child care programs. Some cruise lines even offer tween and teen only special supervised excursions while in port for an additional fee.

I hope this helps Brandi....GREAT questions BTW!  I think you are going to be inspiration for one of our blog posts ;-)

Please know our staff has first hand experience with all the different kids club options. As you can see from the photos on our website, our staff personally visits all of the kids clubs we recommend.  We can help you plan the right vacation package that fits your child card needs and make your reservations. Our booking services are free and can save you hours of frustration and worry.

If you care to share your vacation needs and the type of child care you require, we’re glad to help.


Sally Black – Founder/Mom Executive Officer



Topics: family vacations, Family Cruises, Baby Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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