How and Why to Plan a Family-Friendly Event

Come one, come all. Use these 5 tips to plan a flawless family-friendly event

Creating a family-friendly event is a smart business move that benefits everyone. Parents have the assurance that they can travel without the distractions of finding child care or tending to issues at home, and planners bolster attendance numbers as guests with families are more likely to attend if their children and partner can join in, too. 

On top of that, these events are also a great way to promote company values, such as work-life balance, inclusivity and community. (Plus, bringing families together for an event can be just plain fun!) 

That said, all-ages meetings do require special considerations. Here are seven tips to make your event family-friendly and productive:

Choose the right venue. The venue needs to appeal to a range of ages and interests. Look for one that regularly hosts families and is accustomed to serving their needs. Also look for amenities such as a spa, gym, pool or playroom that will give family members a chance to kick back and enjoy themselves during downtime.  

Provide child care during meetings. Set up a child care service at the venue to relieve parents of the pressure of finding reliable babysitters. Arrange for full- or half-day child care in a designated kids’ zone that features movies, games and other activities to keep the younger set entertained. 

Offer a broad menu. Many kids are picky eaters, but the adults in the room might want a more complex dish than mac and cheese—not to mention something more nutritious. Offer a wide array of dishes, served family-style, to ensure that parents and kids are both satisfied come mealtime.

Promote playtime. Many meetings carry a buttoned-up, professional atmosphere, but a child-friendly event isn’t one of them. Set up kid-specific experiences, such as a scavenger hunt, that allow kids to run around and play. Also, make sure to let attendees know that it’s OK if their children get a little rowdy—that’s all part of the fun. 

Set aside family time. What’s the point of a family-friendly meeting without incorporating family time into the agenda? Schedule meetings so they end early enough to give families ample leisure time, or consider flexible programming so attendees can work around their families’ schedules. Families with babies who are still breastfeeding, for example, might especially appreciate this option. Then, help attendees and their families unwind with themed activity nights. Planning a field trip can create family memories that your guests are sure to cherish long after the meeting has ended.

Provide kid-friendly treats. Make your younger guests feel welcome at events catered to adults with a few special touches, such as special turndown service, goody bags or a kids’ club. And don’t forget about the tweens and teens attending the event. Give them a more grown-up experience by hosting a cocktail party with nonalcoholic beverages and entertainment.

Promote nearby attractions. Events can serve as vacations for some families, so let them take advantage of all the venue’s location has to offer. Check with the tourism board about discounts for nearby attractions and activities, and consider extending the special room rate before or after the conference (or both), so families can explore the event’s surroundings on their own time.