Saturday, August 14, 2010

Communities that embrace children

Just back from a shopping trip with the two girls at the local shopping strip. Mum came too, which is very rare as they live a few hours drive away. The area was packed with similar family groups, it is an area filled with growing families. When I say filled, I mean PACKED. Baby bonus money or not, there is something in the water around here.

But when it comes to services for us, a lot is lacking. My marketing brain is working overtime.

The busy cafe we went to, that would seat at least 50, had one highchair, (and overpriced cupcakes).

The pricey children's wear store didn't even have a box of filthy overused toys to distract them for a few moments.

There is no open space to let everyone recharge before continuing ticking off the tasks from the list.

I couldn't find a cafe that has decided to have a decent kids lunch available, (and dear cafe owners, nuggets and chips are not what we want to order, try avocado sanga cut into stars, or fruit kebabs for a change).

Yet there are certain places that have embraced the demographics of the area, and they are booming. Sure, kids can be a pain in public, but the proof is in the chocolate pudding! I know exactly where to go to make shopping, dining and purchasing a more pleasant experience, and those places are the ones I (and pretty much every other parent around here) keep going back to.

If you are looking to increase customers, find more sales, or build a new target audience, start welcoming the smalls.

Photo is from Kids In Prague (perhaps I should move there??)


  1. Totally agree! I don't/can't shop in stores who's change room won't fit a pram, let alone who's aisles aren't wide enough for one.

  2. And how about the fabulous little boutique stores that look lovely from the outside but you can't even get the pram in the door. Half of these are selling childrens items.

  3. This is so true. I KNOW kids can be a pain, but they're quite literally part of life - a very important part of life, actually! - and the more the needs of parents/kids are overlooked, the harder it is for us to function and entertain our kids in these places.

    If restaurants catered for children properly, we wouldn't need to park stupidly oversized prams in walking spaces; if shops had a few things to distract children, our kids wouldn't be going psycho up and down the aisles, etc.

    I visited Vietnam with my son a couple of years ago, when he was one, and I was expecting it to be hugely challenging. Instead I breezed through the experience; every time I sat down to eat with my son, waiters and waitresses were volunteering to hold him and entertain him while I ate. When I visited tailors, their brothers/sisters/children would take my son into their homes so I could look at fabrics, get measured up, and try on clothes. Amazing!

  4. Jasmine, your trip to Vietnam sounds like heaven, it really is amazing how much some cultures have got this so right.

    I haven't been there, but friends tell me that Fiji is very similiar,that babies and children are so linked into everyday activities, it really is 'the community' that raises the child.

  5. Couldn't agree more. I mean, why don't shop owners (when the stores cater for children in one way or another) actually THINK more about their target market?

    Jasmine's comment: simply inspiring. Perhaps Aussie vendors ought to take a leaf out of Vietnam's book...

  6. Hear Hear! What is it with chicken nuggets?! Love your menu ideas! I get so excited when there's a lovely kid's menu and definitely spend longer in shops and restaurants where little ones are catered for. LOVE that space in the photo - I want to go and play there! :)

  7. I am so with you on the nuggets. Even a vegemite sandwich cut into triangles would do me. So I'll be awaiting the announcement of your new cafe opening, complete with slippery dip.

  8. Couldn't agree more! I was shocked recently when visiting a seaside township on the Mornington Peninsula and just about every shop had a toy box. Have never experienced that before and it was an actual pleasure to go in and browse. I even bought something! And don't even get me started on child-friendly cafes! Just because we live in the outer suburbs doesn't mean we only ever eat at Maccas...!

  9. I wish we had child friendly cafes too.

    When my boys were little it was hard to find two highchairs in some places. I had to juggle one on my lap or play pass the toddler.

    My kids rarely even eat nuggets, when we go out I buy an adult steak meal & they share it. My little carnivores devore it and one even eats all the vegetables.

    Last week we found a pub/inn (ok near Bathurst) that had a full on enclosed 'free' indoor children's climbing play centre and separate gated one for under 4's too. It was huge and they had over a dozen or more kids.Pity it is too far away.
    The kids meals gave better choices as well as standard N & C with a popper juice.

  10. Can't understand why all these places think children ONLY eat nuggets and chips or sausages and chips. I would even gasp to see fishfingers on a menu!! Jen (visiting from Weekend Rewind)

  11. This is a real issue for me as well - particularly the lack of facilities for children in "family friendly" cafes. It's no surprise why McDonalds is so popular... where else can you really happily take your children without fuss?

    I would LOVE to see a venue create some child-yummy foods that don't involve the deep fryer... we do it every day and we're not professional chefs!!! x

  12. we are really lucky down in Margaret River when it comes to kid friendly venues...And i forget that we are lucky so very often

    On a recent trip up to perth, I was appalled at how hard it was to find a cafe with a highchair and kid friendly food. You would think a big city would have the goods while the little town does not....But it is the exact opposite, my local cafe does a wonderful avocado toasty that my kids just adore...

    Gill xo

  13. oh and forgot to mention how much I can't stand nuggets! they are a BIG pet hate of mine....


  14. Nothing seems to have changed in the twenty years since my kids were small! That is a shame Australia, we will always have kids, need kids and should value them and their parents in all aspects of life including eating and shopping and other businesses eg banking and health!

  15. I couldn't agree more. What is it with the nuggets and chips?! Prague is looking inviting! Kirsty (Shamozal)


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