We all have to take our children to public restrooms. It is a part of life. When you have teeny, tiny children, public restroom breaks are simple. You go in, you change their diaper. If there is no changing table, you don’t feel bad about changing your baby on the restaurant booth seat because they really should have put a changing table in the Ladies room.
When your children get older, things get a bit more complicated. You should have seen me, Ksena, and Katienne all crammed into a one person stall the other day at Ikea. It wasn’t pretty. Between all of the buttoning of their trousers and making sure every had adequate toilet paper, there was quite a bit of pushing. And then of course when it was my turn to use the facilities, Katienne decided it was time to unlock the door and try to run out (Like she always does… Why?? Yes that is a rhetorical why). I have entered the time in my life where sometimes I have to wait outside of the bathroom while Ksena goes inside, because I cannot fit Timo’s stroller and Kati all inside of super small bathrooms. So here are the rules I follow, because the bathroom is a public place and I need to keep my little sprouts safe!
–Never, never, never let your children go to the restroom by themselves unless they are a teenager (and even then, I will probably still go with them, girls always go together anyway). I’m really not being paranoid. You never want to give someone looking for a window of opportunity to mess with your child that chance!
-Look for a family bathroom. These are pretty common in Greece, actually. It is really nice, and I have no problem fitting my stroller in there.
-Try the handicapped stall. Also an especially great option when you have a stroller with you!
-If your child is at the age where they want privacy in the bathroom and they can handle things themselves, wait outside of the stall (with your other kids if you have other kids).
-If you have a younger child and cannot fit the older child into the stall with you, let them stand watch with the stall door slightly open so you can keep your eyes on everyone.
-If you cannot fit yourself and all of your children inside the actual bathroom, wait outside the entrance. This way you see everyone going out and in. If you need to go the bathroom… sorry you are going to have to hold it! Welcome to parenthood.
-There is no shame in yelling a, “Are you ok?” through the door. Do your kids get embarrassed easily? Try explaining why you sometimes need to do things like yell through the door. You want them to be safe, and to understand your goal in life is NOT to make their cheeks blush. Ksena is really great about this kind of stuff after I give her an adequate explanation. Kati is still too young for this, but I’m sure she won’t be as understanding (she’s my little spitfire), too bad!
-Teach your children about courtesy and taking turns. This comes in handy because eventually they will have to wait in a bathroom line or wait to wash their hands. This isn’t really a safety issue, but it will make bathroom trips more efficient and friendly, which can’t hurt. Plus this comes in handy when you need to go, and your three year old knows they better not run out while you have your turn (which IS a safety issue, and also embarrassing).
Hope everyone has a great weekend, Happy March, and may your potty breaks be safe, clean, and quick.
This post is part of the Child Safety and Travel Series, check out the rest of this series here.