I am all about having a super well behaved child that I can take to any cafe, peacefully sipping his hot chocolate and impressing my friends by not interrupting our conversations every couple of minutes. I mean, you shouldn’t have your choice for a cafe depend on our child, right?
Well.. We’re definitely doing our best to raise Henrik (and in the future, Stella as well) in a way that he can be in a grown-up environment such as a restaurant without other guests regretting they got the table next to us. And usually, he gets through a (short) dinner or lunch alright. However, this always involves some educational elements from our part as parents (“use your fork please”, “don’t play with the pepper mill” etc.), which can be annoying for people without kids. And rather than just having a conversation amongst as grown-ups, we involve Henrik a lot, so he gets entertained by talking rather than running off to explore the kitchen. Which can also be boring for other people who were hoping to catch up with you, rather than hearing about your toddler’s latest adventures.
So, in practice, kids-friendly cafes are a very good solution, also for meeting friends without kids. You can enjoy a coffee and talk, while your child can play and stays entertained with all the toys he can discover. A coffee date then becomes a joyful event for me and Henrik, purely fun and (almost) no educational interruptions. There’s different sorts of kids-friendly of course. ‘Normal’ cafes that offer some toys and books and make you feel welcome with a kid are already a good option. And then there’s actual ‘kids cafes’, with a play corner for the kids and a menu with children’s options.
I must say I don’t like all of them.. When too big and busy, they become a little bit of a nightmare to me. Because being a mom doesn’t make you immune to children screaming, yelling and running around while you’re trying to enjoy a coffee date. Lucky me, I’ve found a small kids cafe, the Minichichi Club closeby (it’s also a store and workshop location). You just see that it’s the cafe of a mom of two kids who thought the whole thing through. Enough toys for babies and toddlers, and not just small things, also a little kitchen, a big drawing table and an awesome (safe) slide.
Obviously, a cafe like that is also ideal when meeting with other moms. At Henrik’s age, he’s only starting to really play with other kids. So far, he and kids we had visiting wanted the same toy and Henrik would get upset instead of enjoying the playdate. In a cafe, you’re on ‘neutral’ ground, the toys don’t belong to any of the kids and they accept more easily if someone else is playing with a certain toy.
So that’s why, even though I don’t want all of my choices to be led by having a child, I love child-friendly cafes and can only encourage non-mom friends to join moms for coffee dates there :-).