How To Make Your Event Child-Friendly

How To Make Your Event Child-Friendly

Make your event child-friendly so parents can have a great time knowing their kids are having fun too.

Making sure your event is child-friendly is often an afterthought to most event planners. And children and their parents often feel it. You don’t need to compromise the event design by incorporating whimsical décor and a kid’s menu. And child-friendly does not mean turning it into a children’s party. However, it does require thoughtful use of space and resources to make an event for adults accommodate children comfortably.

A significant constituent of any event market is parents with babies and young children. Ignoring this group may not necessarily mean you won’t have attendees at your event, but accommodating them ultimately gives you a higher chance of a bigger turnout. Essentially, accommodating children is not just an added bonus. It can have a significant impact on your reach, engagement, the success of your brand, and your customer retention.

Events suited to children can still be sophisticated and appeal to a grown-up audience’s palate. By making your events child-friendly, you will accommodate all types of attendees and build long-term connections with them and encourage them to attend future events.

5 Things To Consider Before Sending Out Invitations

To accommodate children successfully in your event, here are 5 things that you must be clear about before you send out invitations:

1. Know how many children will be coming from each household

Ask your guests to indicate how many children they are bringing in their RSVP. This will impact seating arrangements, food service, and other details. 

2. Be clear about what you mean by “children.”

activities for children at events
Photo by Katherine Hanlon

Make it clear in your invitation whether your event will be accommodating all children, including babies and toddlers. And decide if you will have a minimum age, for example, children 5 years and older. This will help you prepare age-appropriate activities and facilities for the children and their parents. You don’t want to organize activities for toddlers only to have thirteen-year-olds show-up and misbehave out of boredom. 

A clear and descriptive invitation will help you avoid misunderstandings and possibly have some of your attendees leave your event disappointed. The more stringent your requirements are, the higher your risk of dissuading prospective attendees. But, it is a risk worth taking to ensure the comfort of the rest of your attendees.

3. Demarcating spaces and having strict boundaries.

Giving the children access to every space necessitates that you make every aspect of your event child-friendly. This may result in your event losing its purpose. While your event may be child-friendly, your attendees cannot be made to feel like it is all about the children. 

Your adult attendees may want to enjoy certain parts of the event without the children, so you must ensure adult-only spaces. Areas such as the bar and stage can have access limited to adult attendees. This will also help you give the areas specifically dedicated to children the attention and facilities they need. It will undoubtedly be easier to mind the children if they are in specific places instead of being spread out everywhere.

4. Be clear on what intolerable behavior is from children and adults.

Although you don’t want to be a stickler by imposing too many rules, being clear about intolerable behavior from the onset will give you peace of mind. You can request that no adults get intoxicated, that there be no rough play or bullying by any child, and that such behavior will result in them being asked to leave.

5. Be clear about safety.

Most attendees will also be concerned about the level of security at your event. You’ll gain the trust of your attendees if you prioritize the safety of their children and make clear what security measures will be in place at your event. Will you have camera surveillance in the children’s area? How have you vetted your on-site childcare staff? Will the parameters of your event be safely guarded to ensure children don’t run off? Answering these questions will show your attendees that your children’s facilities are not an afterthought but a well-planned part of your event.

Photo by Markus Spiske

Tips To Make Your Event Child Friendly

Once you have finalized the above, you can decide what features you need to add to your event. You may not necessarily need to add all these suggestions. It will depend on the age group of children you decide to accommodate.

Making the event flexible

An event timeline child-friendly events can be very tricky because certain times of day are strenuous while others are somewhat easier. Starting your event before 10 in the morning may result in some attendees with children arriving late or simply deciding not to come. Inversely, starting your event too late may also have the same effect. Most parents do not want to disturb their children’s evening routines.

Depending on how vital those parent attendees are to you, you could make your event run for longer so that attendees can drop in at the different times most convenient for them. Of course, this will mean an extended day for you and your staff and a higher cost for the venue since you will be using it for a longer time. But your attendees will love the freedom of choice. You can also get some control over this by having people RSVP for their slots.

Nursing stations

Places that are private and comfortable for breastfeeding mothers are usually neglected in events, making it unappealing for them to attend. Providing this kind of space can go a long way towards satisfying all your different attendees. Ensure the stations are private and comfortable with comfortable chairs, pillows, or soft-foam mats.

On-site childcare

On-site childcare

Having on-site childcare can also incentivize parents to attend your event. For some parents, minding their children in a public space sounds like an inconvenience that they would rather just stay home. So if you also offer parents a bit of relief by having their children be taken care of in a separate space during the event, you give them a chance to immerse themselves in the event proceedings, knowing their children are in capable hands.

This is another one of those things that will make planning the event more complicated. You will have to source staff with childcare-related qualifications and vet them very carefully for things such as criminal records and child-related felonies. There are, however, also companies that specialize in event childcare. 

Parking for strollers

Photo by Phil Hearing

A smaller venue could make strollers a logistical nightmare, but by forbidding strollers, you may dissuade parents. You can always make space outside the venue for strollers and ensure that they are guarded. You can have a check-in for strollers and give parents carriers in exchange. This way, they hand in their strollers but get another method of holding their babies.

Healthy food

These days, parents will not thank you for feeding their children mini-pizzas and cookies. More parents are making strict health choices for their children. They may be expecting to see more whole foods and natural sugars in your menu. Regarding how you serve that food, most parents will have a hard time holding a plate of food and may prefer compact foods served at multiple food stations.

Children’s entertainment

Depending on your budget, you may treat children to an experience of their own while their parents are occupied. You can bring in an entertainment company or a single act like a clown, mime, magician, or a musical performance. If your resources allow, there is no harm in treating the children to a mini-event of their own.

It Can Be Simple To Make Your Event Child-Friendly

You don’t need to lose out on the parents market simply because your events are not child-friendly. Give yourself time, and you are creative with what you have. You can accommodate children in your event without them being the center of attention. The tips shared above should help you divide your resources accordingly and incorporate a level of child-friendly facilities. 

You can keep it as simple as a play area with one or two feeding stations or take it as far as stroller parking and children’s entertainment. Make sure that all your facilities are easy to find and that your signage gives clear directions. The last thing anyone wants, even non-parents, is to seek out a member of event staff to give them directions around the venue.