For children, summer break inspires excitement. Three months of freedom for playing, planning adventures and plotting assorted mischief. For mothers, on the other hand, summer break may provoke slightly different sentiments. The errands of everyday life remain the same, but during summer break, mothers often acquire a posse of high-maintenance, low-patience helpers. Suffice it to say, accomplishing these tasks becomes a much more burdensome chore.
However, a savvy mom will plan ahead, choosing businesses and shops that will keep her children entertained and content while she works her way down the to-do list. Therefore, a savvy business owner’s job is twofold: create a kid-friendly environment and then spread the word that you run a child-friendly business. Here are a few tips on how to accomplish both:
- Provide Toys, Activities or Entertainment for Children While they Wait.
Does your business have a waiting room? Stock it with toys and kid’s magazines. When I was seven, a single issue of Highlights would keep me occupied for a half-hour. Features like a vending machine, air-conditioning or a television that can be tuned to child-friendly programming are also worth noting. If you run a restaurant, put out kid-friendly activity placemats that have word finds, mazes or other puzzles.
The key lies in distraction. A restless, stir-crazy kid can be a terror on a hot summer day. Many moms will go to great lengths to keep this from happening. An establishment that plays the role of accomplice and provides these distractions will often be rewarded with more business from the moms of summer.
- Make Sure Your Restrooms Accommodate Infants and Children.
Imagine having to change a diaper in the backseat of a car on a 95 degree day. Not a very inviting prospect, is it? Now, imagine the relief you can bring a mother when she finds out your business has a fold down changing table in the air-conditioned restroom. By giving moms peace of mind you are putting your company in the best position to earn more business.
A few other considerations when making your business' restrooms children-friendly:
- Provide a flip-down toilet seat on at least one of your business’ toilets so that smaller kids can sit down without falling in.
- Make sure the sink and soap dispenser are installed at a height that will accommodate children. Or, provide a sturdy stepping stool nearby.
- Provide Special Seating for Children.
Does your restaurant have booster seats and highchairs available? Does your waiting room have a few small chairs just for kids? Does your grocery store offer carts with baby seats or special child seats? A special seat will make a child feel important, and, as a result, the child will be less likely to stray from his seat. Moms will appreciate your role in making her kids less mobile.
- Provide a Kid’s Menu or Offer Discounted Rates to Children.
When I was a kid, my mother would often try to incentivize good behavior by promising to take us to a restaurant after all the errands were complete. If the restaurant didn’t offer a kid’s menu, she was forced to shell out ten dollars for a hamburger or maybe fifteen dollars for the chicken tenders dinner. Since it was an adult portion, we rarely finished even half the food. As you might expect, these restaurants never earned a repeat visit from our family, at least not while kids were in tow.
You should examine your business to see if a kid’s discount makes sense. The summer break forces moms into bringing their kids along, but it doesn’t mean they will resign themselves to spending an arm and a leg. A savvy mom will hunt out businesses that offer discounted rates to kids. Therefore, a savvy business owner should offer such discounts to ensure their establishment is a destination during summer break.
- Provide Special Give-away Items to Kids.
Don’t underestimate the power of children to sway the summer break errand schedule. Put out a candy bowl. Give children balloons, stickers or other little treats. If a kid knows a business will give away freebies, they will fight tooth and nail to get mom to stop there as often as possible.
Now that your business is kid-friendly, it is time to get the word out. And, the easiest way to accomplish this is by optimizing your local business profiles.
By now, you have probably learned the importance of claiming your local business profiles, you don’t need any further lecturing from me. You probably have a wealth of login and password information for profiles at Google Places, Yahoo!, Bing, Yelp, Facebook, Superpages, EZlocal, etc, etc. Take a few minutes to login and add further detail to your business description about being a kid-friendly establishment. If the profile allows you to add tags, add a few that say “kid-friendly”, “child-friendly”, “children-friendly” and “family-friendly.” These simple profile changes could mean bigger business this summer!