As parents, we all have little rules or maybe not rules but limits. Limits like knowing that kids will last only 30 minutes MAX once they are hungry or they turn into little monsters. Limits like 2 hours is the time limit involving an outing that doesn't involve running, jumping or some kind of strenuous activity (actually an hour and a half is better). We know that our Kids need to be kept busy or they run in circles. We know that telling our kids that they are going to do something and then not following through, is torture,..whining torture FOR HOURS. But "you said we were going to do ….." and "why didn't we do what you said?" As parents, we know not to tell our kids something unless we are sure we can follow through.
We decided to do something different with the kids this year in regards to visiting Santa. When we saw that the Signature room offered a class to Cook with Santa, we couldn't pass it up. We had previously done a post on the different events in Chicago where kids could interact with Santa in Chicago and this was the one the girls chose this year.
We arrived at the Signature Room and were sent to a private room upstairs which had maybe 4 or 5 tables of 10 seats each. We were told by the waiter that it was "open" seating, we sat down and were told by the people sitting at the table that there was reserved seating and to look for our name card. ( A hostess telling us this would've have been great) We were seated with a young couple with no children (who were obviously on a date), who seemed to be uncomfortable with the fact that 1. they didn't have children and 2. That it wasn't clearly stated on the website that this was a KIDS event. Eventually they were allowed to leave us folks with kids and go to the grownup restaurant. Being placed at the kids table is never fun. (Noting on the website that Paying $50 allows you to bring 1 child probably isn't clear enough that this is a KIDS event)
Santa was readily available and friendly with the kids, taking photos and interacting with them all. The Restaurant Chef came out and did a demonstration for a salad, quiche and cookies where the kids got to pour in the ingredients and stir things a couple of times. SANTA did not cook and my kids did not cook with SANTA. (Don't advertise something that is not going to actually happen, ESPECIALLY where children are involved) Our waiters brought out quiche for everyone to taste…UM, kids don't taste quiche. My oldest was starving by this point and complaining…I looked at the time and we had been there for over an hour with no food and a room full of kids running in circles (a craft, coloring sheet or anything would be great at this point) Our food did arrive and the kids were very excited about the tray of cookies that came out after lunch. They were also given a little bag of cookies to bring home.
I did ask how long they had been doing this event and was told that this was the second year. Everyone was kind and hospitable and this will be a fabulous event once the kinks are worked out.
Some of my suggestions:
Advertise CLEARLY on your site that this is an event for KIDS
Have the kids actually prepare something, could be as simple as decorating cookies or pre-assembled gingerbread houses at their table (Santa or Santa's helpers could walk around and assist each child)
Keep the kids entertained: having downtime of more than 5 minutes with a room full of kids is NOT good (covering the tables in Paper and providing crayons would be great)
Don't worry about having the chef do a Demonstration of food that the kids have no interest in
While lunch is being prepared, give the kids a snack with a catchy name : reindeer food (snack mix), Santa's energy drink (juice or milk)....when kids are hungry, they are not happy
Lastly, it would be nice to have a hostess or the waiter explain what is going to happen while we are there, kids like to know whats going on , it keeps them excited but more so interested. (makes them comfortable)
For Example: Good Morning and welcome to Cooking with Santa , today we are going to make some treats that you get to take home as well learn more about Santa and the North Pole. Santa needs alot of energy to travel around and deliver presents and so do his reindeer. On your table you can try the Reindeer Food and Santa's favorite drink . We are going to take photos with Santa and make a frame that you get to take home, after that you guys will have lunch while your cookies bake and then you get to decorate the delicious cookies and take them home. ......
I am not a specialist in any area but one, I am a MOM, and I know what works…this event did not work for us, in fact another family said they at least expected a coloring sheet to keep the kids busy. My husband and I have had dinner at the Signature room so when attending an event at such a prestigious place in a big city, I expected a well planned out event.Commenting is not available in this channel entry.