My name is Jacq, and our family loves cafés. Going out for brunch, lunch, or dinner is one of our favourite pastimes, and on the weekends when our budget doesn’t stretch to a full meal, we still tend to visit a café or two for a coffee or an ice cream.
After having our twins in 2013 we realised that we didn’t want to abandon our café-going ways, so when the children were nearly two we embarked on an intensive café training regime that involved many short visits, to teach them how to behave in polite company. I’m happy to report that it (mostly) paid off, and our two – who start school in early 2018 – are now seasoned café veterans.
However, it feels like we’ve got stuck in a bit of a café rut. Auckland, where we live, is blessed with an abundance of unique and amazing cafés, but we keep visiting the same ones. This morning, the kids and I decided that, for 2018, we will attempt to visit a new café every weekend. We will still check out our old favourites when time and money allows, but we’ll also try to create a user’s guide to great child-friendly cafés in Auckland – and elsewhere, when we get the chance to leave town occasionally.
As we visit new cafés we will endeavour to gather intelligence on all the important things, including:
Does the café have change tables? Bonus points for cafés that provide gender-neutral bathrooms, or change tables in the men’s bathroom – changing nappies is an equal opportunity activity!
Are the high chairs clean? I swear, some café high chairs look like they’re washed as often as my car: never.
Is there anything available to keep the kids entertained? We don’t need clowns or balloon animals on site, but a toy box (with toys that don’t look like they’re carrying the plague) is always welcome – or colouring books, as long as the coloured pencils aren’t permanently broken.
What kind of food does the kids’ menu offer? Some parents may be keen to hear about healthy options, and I’ll mention them when I find them, but with my two ‘any food the kids will actually eat’ will be a good start… #fussyeaters
How much are the fluffies? There are rumours that some cafés make them for free, if you’re buying a grownup coffee. This is obviously the holy grail of family café-going, but we’d also settle for fluffies or kids’ hot chocolates that don’t cost the same as a grownups’ drink. Bonus points if the kids’ drinks aren’t scalding hot…
Will the grownups enjoy themselves? After all, we’re not just visiting the café for the kids’ sake!
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