By Mona Ismaeial, photo’s by Mona at Go Nissan North Edmonton.
As a busy work from home mom I definitely Feel the need for family friendly spaces. My son who is just over 2 years old is always in tow. He comes grocery shopping with me, we get oil changes, dr. appointments, meetings and of course out for coffee and meals. For stay-at-home moms, work-from- home moms or just parents who want to take their kids with them rather than leaving them with family friends or a babysitter, there are a few very easy ways businesses can be more welcoming to families.
- Change Tables! There is no reason for NOT having a changing table in the bathroom! I’ve learned to change my children while sitting on the toilet or standing but why should I have to? Any changing space will do. Literally, a flat piece of counter space is just fine! Bonus if they have a package of wipes on hand. Sometimes we just run out.
- Play Area! I am not suggesting there needs to be a whole indoor playground but any small space with a few toys, colouring books or anything to entertain the little ones. This is especially helpful in places where a parent may be for an extended period of time. I recently when to Go Nissan North for an oil change. They have a great “Kids Corner”. After an hour of playing with the toys, my son didn’t want to leave.
- Kid’s Menu! Kids can be picky eaters and do not want to spend all my lunch dates at iHop or Denny’s. Having basic menu with kid friendly items such as chicken fingers and fries, spaghetti or grilled cheese is very helpful. Last weekend we went to Olive Garden and because of their kids menu, I was able to enjoy my lovely shrimp scampi and my kids had pizza. Everyone left happy!
- High Chairs and Booster Seats! For restaurants, having enough high chairs is important. Many times, I’ve had to keep my daughter on my lap because she was too young to sit on her own. That is not convenient at all. We don’t need anything fancy, just a CLEAN wooden highchair so I can eat my food and she can eat hers! Bonus if they also have booster seats. For those in-between kids who end up on their knees the whole time.
- Wifi! Let’s be honest, sometimes we need to resort to YouTube videos or games in order to get kids to eat, sit still or calm down. Sometimes, no matter how prepared you thought you were with a variety of toys and a wide selection of snacks they still need something else and you have to pull out your phone. It’s nothing shameful! It happens! Free Wifi is always nice. Free Wifi, where I don’t have to ask for the password because I don’t need one or it’s clearly posted is even nicer!
What do you look for when you are out with your family? What would you recommend for a more family friendly environment?
Mona Ismaeial is a modest fashion blogger, writer and community organizer. As Director of External Affairs with Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council – AMPAC, Mona advocates for Muslim women and promotes their civic engagement, builds interfaith bridges, and is passionate about bringing awareness about Islamophobia to light in public forums. A trained teacher and seasoned educator, Mona lectures on a variety of subjects across the province, including Islamophobia, bullying, building acceptance, and multiculturalism. Her favourite thing to do is spend time with her 2 children enjoying all Edmonton has to offer!