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The new wave of child friendly web events
My husband and I used to travel around the world to various conferences and meet ups... but with a baby in tow, grandparents not always to hand, and neither of us particularly wanting to go on our own, the amount we've attended has dwindled, to say the least, since having our son.
Last April we took a chance and took our then 2 year old along to WordCamp London - and it was great! He wore a WordPress t-shirt which made him seem very "allowed" to be there, slept through a talk, and ended up all over the event's official flicker feed. Yes, he also caused me to have to leave one talk part way through, and he spent the lunch break running around and around the corporate stalls in a big loop - but overall it was fine. (Oh - we did miss the second day though, due to him being thoroughly exhausted.)
WordCamp London had a child care crèche and a place where nursing Mums could breast feed. As newish parents at the time we were still too chicken to leave our precious bundle with strangers in the big smoke (and our little man is quite clingy anyway) - but the crèche looked fantastic, with lovely fully qualified and checked staff. We felt awful that we didn't use it because it was so quiet - but hopefully this year will have been busier if word had spread.
This year our little man seemed perfectly welcome at WordCamp Bristol where I was speaking; he wore the same t-shirt as last year (glad it still fitted) and still reminisces about how he heard Mummy talking and mentions some of his favourite stock imagery from my slides.
I'm writing this having received an email from TNW, stating that at their next conference they're going to have a free crèche for children aged 2-5, and kids who are 6+ can join their parents for $49. There will also be somewhere private for nursing Mums, should they want it (not asking them to shut themselves away, but just offering the option of privacy if it's preferred by the Mum).
I love this rise in child friendly awareness at these sorts of events and I think it's fantastic that our industry is embracing it! Let's face it, there are a lot of developers of the age now where there are kids on the scene - and the people organising these events are often in the same boat. Not everyone has babysitters on tap, or wants to leave their baby when they travel.
As a result we're going to update our Events section to show any events which publicise themselves as child friendly, so parents who wish to attend know that it's not a problem to take little ones along. Meanwhile if you're planning a web event and have made provisions for those who need to bring little ones along, please let us know about it!
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