I read this post on Netmums and I have the perfect solution for this problem so I’m putting it out there as my solution! One of my many quotes in life is, “Some people make problems, some people make solutions.” I’d like to think I fit into the solution category however scrolling down the Facebook comments you can see all the problem makers. A simple post about what others perceive to be correct manners for young boys transcends into a debate about paedophiles, child independence, parenting techniques and customer service.
Here is the solution.
Disabled toilets in family friendly establishments are repurposed as disabled/ family toilets. If you’ve ever worked in a pub or restaurant you’ll know that everybody loses the disabled toilet key so a normal lock is a much better idea.
The toilet is typically where the baby change is so it isn’t a massive step away from its current purpose.
The door is wide enough to be pushchair friendly so you can take your baby and young child in there with ease.
You can go to the toilet too! How annoying are the baby rooms that just have a chair and a changing mat? Then you can’t go to the toilet yourself unless you leave your baby and child in the corridor because the disabled rooms are always locked.
Some people might think, “I wouldn’t want to pee in front of my 8 year old boy!” I have a solution for that too. All disabled toilets have a shower/ hospital type curtain installed around the toilet so that you can shield your bits from your boy whilst keeping everybody in a safe place. The curtain would be interchangeable and wipe clean so there’s no hygiene issue and it would not hinder disabled access either.
It is the perfect solution to making family establishments more convenient. Everywhere has a dingy disabled toilet that hardly gets used, give them a new lease of life! The only cost involved is changing the lock and putting a curtain up.
If you’re on your own with kids it is an event to go to the toilet in some places and it really shouldn’t be.
If you’re with the whole family then I think moms take girls, dads take boys is obviously the ideal choice but parents go out alone with kids all the time and kids cannot hold peeing in!
Me personally wouldn’t be overly paranoid about letting an older boy (8+) use the gents because I could wait outside and unless there are massive windows, it’s highly unlikely he’ll escape or get kidnapped without me noticing.
I would prefer a family room where I can keep an eye, particularly for little boys. However, if I need the toilet I would not be happy leaving a boy alone in a restaurant or shopping centre while I go! So it’s not just about a solution to which toilet do young boys use, it’s about making it convenient for moms and dads to use the toilet when out with kids.
When it’s the other way round, dads taking girls into the men’s then it’s getting weird because men actually get their bits out! I wouldn’t want a little girl potentially catching a glimpse! But what is a dad to do if he’s with his little girl and she needs to go?
If any one is thinking ridiculous things in relation to an open unisex toilet, such as it will encourage drug activity or people will go in there to have sex… That really is a reflection on the management of the venue because dodgy things can go on in single sex toilets. If it is a well managed venue then there will be no additional issues as a result of changing the lock.
The only issue I can see arising is long queues for the toilet and potentially blocking corridors with pushchairs creating a fire hazard. If this became a major issue then it would indicate that a large proportion of customers are families and it might be beneficial to install another family toilet. The cost of rejigging the bathrooms would be worth the investment because you’d see an increase in satisfied, returning customers. (Speaking like a manager not a mother now!)
There are some places such as Debenhams that do already have family toilets. If it is feasible to install a completely separate room then great! Some restaurants such as TGI Fridays leave the disabled toilet unlocked which is great! For older buildings or businesses that have been repurposed (for example used to be an old man pub, now it’s a family restaurant) this is the perfect solution.
Jo for Prime Minister.