One thing you quickly learn with twins is that the world wasn’t built around the idea of parents having multiple children at once.
Sure, there may be exceptions to the rules (yeah Costco!), but when you get outside the four walls of your home, you realize just how difficult it can be.
I’m sure this rings true for parents with multiple children pre-school age and younger as well (not just twins).
Of course we’re lucky in that most of the time we can go as a family to the store which takes care of most of these issues — but imagine if you’re were a single mom with very little support system and two or three toddlers at home — these issues will definitely come into play for them as well.
So while we manage most of the time — I thought I’d offer a few ideas for stores and restaurants on how they can help cater to parents with multiple children.
1. Restaurants that want to cater to families should ensure they have plenty of high-chairs. Whether you’re a chain or a local independent restaurant, keep plenty of high chairs on hand. Imagine waiting in line at a restaurant, ordering your food and then discovering there aren’t enough high chairs for your kids. (And yes, we do notice that evil eye when you’re looking around for an empty high chair and discover our family is using two.)
2. If you offer a playground, offer an area for younger kids to play as well – not just those over 48″.
3. Offer a drive-thru — especially if you offer a healthy alternative to most fast food. I’ve quickly realized that all the restaurants that offer a healthy alternative to typical fast food don’t offer a drive-thru option. If you’re in your car and on the go, with two kids in the back seat – which are you going to choose? The healthy option or the one that gets you in and out with ease? Even ordering ahead with a mobile app and getting curb-side delivery would be a huge improvement.
4. If you offer buggies in your store, offer buggies with multiple seats in them. Adding a second seat doesn’t take up that much more space. Costco’s outdone themselves in this regard as EVERY buggy has two seats. (Now you know one of the reasons we shop there so much ;-)).
5. If you do offer such buggies, be sure and leave at least a couple out in the parking lot. Letting my kids sit in the buggy in the store is only half the battle – I have to get them into the store as well. As our boys get older and carrying them both of them at once gets harder and harder (and they’re not ready to walk all the way to the store by themselves) we do our best to only shop at stores that offer multi-seat buggies and will circle the parking lot until we find one such buggy in the parking lot cue. Once we find one we park as close as we can to the buggy cue so we can easily get the boys in and out without having to leave them in the car by themselves.
6. A cover over the buggy cues would also be a really nice addition. I don’t know of any store that does this currently, but it would be great if when we find said buggies we didn’t have to worry about them being wet, cold or flaming hot (most likely in Texas) from sitting in the elements.
So there are six ideas. Give me a few quiet moments and I might think of five more :-).
What about you? Have you found any stores that really cater to parents with multiples (or multiple toddlers)?
And what tips have you found for taking your kids out to eat or to the store with you?