Family Friendly 2012 - what do you want from companies?(31 Posts)
We're well into Family Friendly 2012. Nearly Easter already. Not wanting to let the grass grow etc etc we are reviewing all the time what we can encourage our members to try. What are the things Mumsnetters want to see to make life easier for families? Last year's programme resulted in some fantastic new ideas for FF. Toilets in a bank (who'd have thought) and a whole new working contract for parents from O2. That won an innovation award unsurprisingly. Being a member of the FF programme isn't just a badge. We are asking companies to work with us to make the UK better for families so we'd really like to hear any of your ideas. What would you like to see? As a customer or as a member of staff. What needs to change? Tell us and we'll make sure we pass it on
Don't count a family just as 2 adults and 2 children. A family deal should be for a family, whether its 1 parent and 6 children, 2 parents and 4 children or 2 parents and 2 children.
Places for kids such as petting farms should be encouraged to charge only a nominal fee for accompanying adults.
More family friendly toilets everywhere please
Fully agree with Fruitshoots I find it incrediably frustrating that 2+2 is the only kind of family recognised by companies.
To travel anywhere in cheap travelodges we need 2 rooms because was dd3 was over 2 (she's 2.9 now!) we had over the occupancy. As a result they've lost our business as it is no longer a cheap way to travel.
Similarly National Trust family member ship for 2+2 is reasonable but an extra child that's another £10. Even mumsnet is guilty with competitions usually for families of 2 +2 (yes I know we should be grateful if we win anything <I haven't> but it's the general principle. At every juncture we are not a "normal" family and as such are penalised.
I agree about family things. We are a family of 3. It's often cheaper to buy a family ticket and throw one away! How is that helping anyone?!?
Bigger aisles in 'local' supermarkets. The Sainsbury local here barely fits a (normal size) buggy down, and if anyone wants to get past they have to turn sideways whilst we move right to the edge (with DS pulling everything off the shelves).
More supermarket cafes/JL cafe etc having microwave for customer use to warm food/bottles etc. I know theycan't heat it cos of H&S or whatever, but Ikea have a microwave for anyone to use and do it themselves.
There should be a lower level basin soap and drier in public loos wherever possible. It is infuriating to see a long row of handwashing facilities that my children can't use without me lifting them over the sink unit and dangling their tummies in the wet edges.
Was just thinking I would appeal for lower level basins and read the above post. I second that.
A really simple thing for all suburban rail users. That rail companies commit to re-opening underpasses at stations wherever they are already in existence. It drives me potty every time I drag my pushchair up the stairs at my local station that there are underpasses to all of the platforms which have been locked for years. I'm sure they'll need fixing up but they would make rail use for parents so much easier and would certainly make me use the train more. I bet mine isn't the only station like this...
Either more public loos, or more shop/cafe toilets open to non customers if they ask. Having a child desperate for the loo, and being told you cannot use use the place's facilities unless you buy something leads either to an expensive wee or, in the worse case senario, an "accident" .This happened on the cafe floor once, DC was embarrassed and started to wail v loudly,and I felt like saying they deserved cleaning up the mess for being such
arseholes unhelpful people. And yes, I used to make him go when we were near a public loo, but he always semed to want to go again when the nearest public loo was at least a 10 minute walk away!
From a baby point of view- enough highchairs in cafes instead of a token one and change facilities. I know they take up space but just piece of plywood and a padded mat kept in the loo so you could pop it over the sink would be fine. There are some great cafes around here, independent places with lovely cake, lovely staff but parents are put off because they don't have changing facilities.
From a work point of view. The company dh works for is pretty good, while paternity leave technically has to be booked he has always just been able to ring the morning the baby has arrived and say he is off for the next 2 weeks. Great. Keep it up. Hours are flexible too within reason, so long as you get the work done you can start when you want and finish when you want. But you can't. Not really. Obviously the bulk of your day needs to be in normal hours so you can talk to people but there is a culture of people higher up the food chain working stupid hours and they then schedule phone calls for, say, 5pm on a Friday. Except that dh started work at 7.45 because he wanted to finish at 4.30 to be able to spend time with the dcs but you end up not being able to say no. So alongside flexible working I think companies need to have guidelines for compulsory meetings and phone calls to fall within set hours otherwise you bugger things up for the parents who are trying to work around school days which in theory they should be able to do but because of the long hours some people work they end up feeling as though they have to do it too, or they can't say "no I started early so I'm finishing at 4" in case it reflects badly on their performance review and therefore bonnus, payrise, promotion etc.
Cafes: clean your high-chairs. I mean really.
I'd like cafes that are supposed to be family friendly to stop 'bagsying' tables as you can't do that if you're on your own with small kids and it's really bloody annoying finding there's nowhere to sit because the people who haven't bought anything yet have got their adult mate/older child keeping the table free for when they arrive. And if there's someone on their own with a pushchair, please carry the tray for them. That would be lovely
I agree that a family ticket should be for a family. We are 5 which isn't unusual at all and the 2+2 is very irritating.
We are a family of 6 and booking a package holiday for us all is impossible. We'd have to book 2 seperate trips to get the same holiday because they are only up to families of 4 or 5.
Clearer indications of add on or pester power purchases once you've paid for entry to something
eg 50p for animal feed after £5 entry fine,
£5 entry + £1 to pet, £1 for food, loads of payable games where you 'win' crap not... Just charge more entry if you need to cover costs but don't make a day out full of hidden charges unless it's clear on the price sheet please!
Here, here to cleaning high chairs SilentBoob. How can cafe owners think it's necessary to wipe the table (though sadly not all do) but perfectly ok to leave high chairs absolutely filthy? Babies are much more vulnerable to food poisoning than adults and yet seem to be left with the dirtiest places to eat. Sort it out.
My other wish would be for supermarkets (especially smaller urban ones that people walk to) to have baskets that can be attached to a buggy or pram. I cannot push a pram and heave around a heavy basket and get stuff off shelves. M&S do a soft fabric basket as well as the metal ones and that works well, but sadly I don't have the sort of budget that lets me shop there regularly. I take string bags with me whenever I go to use as a buggy basket, but always feel like someone's going to accuse me of shoplifting.
Cafes etc - More, clean high chairs, changing facilities in men's toilet too. Ergonomically designed tables which allow buggies to slot in. High chairs with straps.
Companies - to allow for ordinary leave and sick leave when child is sick. Also allow for father to do flexi working.
Travel - flights to have more bassinets. More portable DVD players. Buses to have folded buggy storage space. Lift/ escalator access for buggies in all tube/ train stations.
Here in France there are places called halte garderies which are essentially drop-in crèches. They are not attempting to educate children (no EYFS ), they are just communal babysitting services. SAHMs can book a regular slot - say one afternoon and one morning per week. I think that they are a brilliant concept as it means that mothers can book doctors appointments, hairdressers, do their big shop etc without babies and toddlers in tow. Which means that companies don't have to cater to babies and toddlers which, frankly, is often a big ask.
I agree on the family ticket not just being 2 parents and 2 children. We have 3 children. Many people, even if not a single parent, are on their own with more than 2 children.
Mine are older now but I was always fed up with hotels, we didn't want to be in the same room, but we wanted to be next door and I think that we achieved this once! We were even put on different floors sometimes.
Common sense when it comes to food and cutlery for younger children.
Hotels and restaurants always dish up scalding huge portions despite being asked for very small portions. Adult sized cutlery is awkward for small children (we often forget to pack small sized cutlery if we go out).
Ikea are excellent with their play areas and things for occupying fidgety children at the table.
I think some of this illustrates that you can't please all the people....for example sleepdodger wanted admission prices to be all inclusive, I would rather they be lower and still be able to afford to go in, I am happy to say no to playing those silly games stalls or ask kids to share an animal feed for example.
How do people expect places to structure admission prices? If mumsnet are to feedback it needs to be more specific than complaining it just suits 2+2. Do you expect a tariff for each of 1+1, 2+1, 1+2, 2+2, 1+3, 2+3 going on for ever? That's just crazy. Would you rather there was no discount at all for anyone?
Also I'm sure some cafes have no highchairs/changing mat etc as a conscious choice, they don't want toddlers in there, they are messy and noisy and are aiming at a market that don't want to share space with a toddler. The number of times I have seen people with toddlers exhibiting disgusting behaviour I don't blame them.
I'm just trying to think that if I were a business, what I would make of these requests!!
FWIW I would find it helpful if meals were sized (and priced perhaps) according to age e.g. would suit 3-5, 6-10.
"How do people expect places to structure admission prices? If mumsnet are to feedback it needs to be more specific than complaining it just suits 2+2. Do you expect a tariff for each of 1+1, 2+1, 1+2, 2+2, 1+3, 2+3 going on for ever? That's just crazy. Would you rather there was no discount at all for anyone?"
Why not just a general price 'for a family of X' without specifying children or adults? So have one for a family of 4, which could be 1 adult and 3 children or what have you, one for a family of 5, etc. It is actually very doable.
I second that shopping should be made easier if you walk to the supermarket with a buggy. I think there should be a "buggy park" where we can leave prams and put dcs in the trolley when we shop, instead of having to hold a basket and push pram at same time. At my local sainsbury's they let me leave buggy at customer services.
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