Marriage and family life are pretty different today from what they were a few decades ago. Back then, mums mostly stayed at home, dads went to work, and kids entertained themselves, exploring their neighbourhoods, playing with their friends, and taking liberties that would terrify any parent today. Nowadays, stay-at-home-parents often work freelance or telecommute from their jobs. Families go out together more often, especially to social spots.
That creates a whole new dynamic, because travelling with kids is an Olympic sport, even if you’re just going down to the store. There are snacks to carry, car seats to buckle, changes of clothes, and of course the actual physical work of getting everyone out the door. A lot of young families lose touch with their friend circles because socialising with children is just too much work. It’s easier to stay indoors until they’re away at college. Unfortunately, that’s not an option – it’s not even particularly healthy.
A smarter choice is to curate a selection of child-friendly venues, and as a business, you want to be on that list. There are lots of reasons why, and each of them influences a different aspect of your business. For example, kids are the ultimate marketing tool. When they like a place, they’ll tell their friends about it, especially at school. This means every kid in that class will want to come, and will pressure their parents into it, using the formidable power of tantrums. By impressing one kid, you could gain access to their entire school community.
Multitasking child care
Adults have a hard time making friends. Their lives revolve around work, or maybe school, and everyone they meet is equally busy. So the only ‘friends’ they have are the parents of their kids, which makes social circles small and intermingled. For example, if you get the attention of one soccer parent, you’ll soon be feeding the entire team, their fans, and their extended families, especially on game day.
These busy parents often combine their social time with their family chores. The might hang out after the game, during the school run, or on the side lines during practice. For them to fully engage their social time, they need their kids to be safely and effectively distracted. When the children aren’t on the field doing sports drills, a play area makes a good substitute. If there’s a play area where parents can watch the kids while engaging in their own adult conversations, they’ll visit more often, stay longer, and spend more money.
The ultimate goal is to become the designated hangout for parents and their little ones. If you can host their weekly lunch, book club, or play group, then you have a dedicated group of regulars. Jazz up the play area with stimulating playsets like the Bushwood J2235-04. It’s a mixed age playset with multiple play spaces. Kids can climb, slide, balance, and engage their strength and agility. Ensure the soft fall area is well cushioned with loose sawdust, mulch, or rubber matting. Grass and turf aren’t as good because they can bruise.
Host special events
Another helpful idea is to have theme nights or special days. You could have a ‘water sports’ day where kids can play with water guns, inflatable tubs, or water-based playsets like Avoca or Mossman. Have a different theme every day to encourage repeat visits, and match the menu to the theme. This is a handy tip for parents of fussy eaters. It keeps the patrons happy because there are consistently new flavours and textures for the kids to try.
Once the kids have a favourite menu item, it could earn you some take-out business too. If your venue becomes something parents look forward to, a respite where they can outsource their kids’ entertainment and enjoy some much needed R & R as adults, you’ll gain a loyal following. And because parent groups are so networked, they’ll invite their circles. Making one parent happy could easily open your business to hundreds of others – their social media groups, their kids’ classmates, and even their relatives from other towns.
To squeeze the most benefit from your kid-friendly business strategy, pick a playset that has variety. It should have hidden nooks for quieter kids, jam-session spaces for musical kids, physical equipment for the rough energetic ones, and imaginative spots for the dreamers. The hardware should be safe and sturdy, with no loose joints, sharp edges, chipping paint, or lead coating. It should withstand the rowdy play of multiple kids, and be spacious enough to avoid accidental kid-on-kid collisions. It should also be easy to install, clean, and maintain.