Let’s begin today’s post with a brief caviate shall we:
Call me a revolutionary but it is my deeply held belief that if you make the decision to have children, it is your responsibility, until you draw your last breath, to love them, embarrass them and to look after them to the best of your ability.
It isn’t the job of shops and hotels and restaurants to cater for them, it is yours. That might mean packing the kitchen sink for the first 5 years of your offspring’s life and walking with a dowegers hump for the remainder of it as a result but hey, at least you’ll never be caught short.
However, no one is perfect and accidents happen – as happened to me today…My little little who is both heart meltingly gorgeous and a whole heap of attitude, did a wee in a popular local supermarket (whose name ends with burys!) just as I was struggling with one of those stoooooopid “don’t talk to an actual human” machines which was gleefully telling me that there was or wasn’t an unexpected item in the bloody bagging area.
I looked around for some help and asked the closest assistant if she had something that I could wipe it up with; her response? I would need to buy some wipes.
In my embarrassment and shock I did just that but, having consulted Facebook and Twitter (and Mr L) on my return, my initial views have been confirmed- that was a pretty crappy thing to do and as I left- carrying my shopping with wee tinged hands I thought to myself- I won’t be coming back here in a hurry and that got me to thinking… what would be on my wish list for shops and hotels and restaurants when I’m with my kids.
Any establishment that isn’t clearly a Sandals ‘just for adults’ type can make their lives a lot easier, more enjoyable AND profitable if they simply heed these simple nuggets of advice…
1) Stock your toilets.
Even if you don’t have a designated parent and child toilet there is space somewhere for a packet of wipes, some nappy bags, hand sanitiser and a changing mat. They can hang on the back of a door and they will make an under prepared parent weep tears of joy if they have a ‘code brown’ situation!
If you do have a bit of space however a well stocked changing table with a musical mobile will be an absolute winner.
2) Don’t bat an eye at breastfeeding.
It is natural, it is necessary and it stops one hell of a racket. I shouldn’t even need to put this in writing. Welcome it. Bring water- without asking. DO NOT, EVER, direct us to the toilet.
3) Make up some kids pack.
Even if your establishment doesn’t love kids there might be a day when horror of horrors you are faced with some.
The next few hours will be easier on everyone if you can provide some crayons, a colouring pad (or some paper from the printer and a bic) and some plastic plates, cups and cutlery. YES we know we should have all of this covered. But we thought that he packed and he thought that we packed- either way they’re at home on the draining board and the atmosphere is icy! Your tip (and our marriage) is secured at USA type levels of generosity if you can bring our apple juice in a beaker with an actual lid!
Oh- working highchairs that aren’t caked in decade old bean juice are also a huge bonus.
4) Understand kids waiting thresholds
Your fab kids entertainment pack will keep the whining at bay for a while but if you’re thinking of making them wait with the adults for their food might I implore you to think again. I want 5 minutes to chop up their food, blow on it and test it before mine rocks up. I’d also like them to be preoccupied with theirs for enough time for me to down a few mouthfuls before the inevitable requests for a wincy try of mumas commense.
5) Employ the right people that have the right attitude.
This costs nothing. Nada. Zip and yet it is the key that will keep parents coming back (and spending) for years to come.
Smile, compliment us on our kids…even if they’re having a melt down they might be wearing a super cute cardie. Talk directly to them. In short- be human.
There is always, always something nice to say and, if not be sympathetic. At some stage we will leave and you’ll be free of the wriggling, wailing banshee of a child. We on the other hand will not. Count your blessings.
There you go pretty simple really- we are just parents. We are still human. Knackered, care worn, flecked with snot (and in today’s case other bodily fluids) but human non the less.
We aren’t asking for the moon on a stick- just a smidgen of thought and effort because, although I appreciate it was our decision to have the little blighters, from time to time we still like to feel like the rest of the world isn’t closed to us until they leave home (or start going to the toilet unaccompanied).
Trust me, it’ll make your life as well as ours, a sunnier place to be- you’re welcome!
What’s your worst experience of shopping with kids and what advice would you give to the shop assistants, managers and owners to make them parent friendly?