Quiet Moments – So Thankful for Child-Free Zones

                The other day, Cheryl went to Target, anticipating a calm shopping experience. While she waited in the checkout line, a child’s shrieks pierced everyone’s ears, and continued for about seven long minutes until he and his mother left the store.

            “Boy, he’s angry,” said a woman in the same line.  “I’m sure glad those days are over for me.”

            “For me too,” said the clerk. “It’s upsetting for everyone, including the child’s mom.”

            “Not great for the shoppers,” said the man in back of Cheryl.

            Amidst the noise pollution of everyday life, the number of people who crave quiet time is on the increase.  In an opinion piece by Tim Kreider (some of whose opinions we share in our book, Enough of Us) in the November 18, 2012 New York Times, about Amtrak’s Quiet Car – in which talking means whispering, cellphones must be off, and music is a headphones-only privilege – he bemoans the amount of noise we are

Tim Kreider

Writer-cartoonist Tim Kreider. Photo courtesy Book Court

subjected to.

            Add to this a growing movement of “no kids allowed” in places such as hotels, restaurants, and movie theaters, and you find plenty of support for R&R sans children’s shenanigans.

            “Brat bans could well be the next frontier in destination and leisure-product marketing,” said Robert Klara in Adweek. He underscores his prognostication by pointing to Leavethembehind.com, a travel website for child-free vacations such as yoga retreats and highfalutin resorts that bar children from the premises.

            A 2010 poll of 2,000 travelers by Skyscanner, a fare comparison website, found that out nearly 60 percent said they wanted a separate families-only section when they fly.  Twenty percent went a little further by supporting the idea of child-free flights.  According to Mary Porter, spokeswoman for Skyscanner, this is not surprising. A previous poll found that young children are the “most annoying” aspect of a flight. 

            Not every advocate of no-kids-allowed space is a non-parent. In 2010, Whole Foods markets in Missouri offered child-free hours. Kids were allowed in the store, but child-care was available so parents could shop in relative calm.  Comments from at least one parent indicated that she liked the idea of a break from her kids while shopping, although she wouldn’t support Whole Foods if it banned children from the market. 

            A mother who posted on the BlogHer website said “What about people who have kids that want to get away from them for a night and go someplace nice . . . .? Is it too much to ask for a nice quiet place that kids aren’t allowed to go . . .?” Although her children are young adults, this mom admitted that she would have been s-o-o-o thankful for a childfree grocery store or coffee shop where she could just chill out.

            Speaking of being thankful, during this season of Thanksgiving we feel grateful for having the opportunity to celebrate with dear friends in a childfree home. They will be bringing their wacky dog, however, who has a reputation for creating chaos wherever she goes. Sometimes you can’t have it all.

            Happy Thanksgiving to all (including the kids and those who raise them)!






  1. Happy Thanksgiving!

    In re kiddie noise, a lot of what we are subjected to nowadays is unnecessary. Just recently encountered a kid at the public health department — unattended, outside — who ran in and out of the bushes and just yelled suddenly at no one and for no good reason. I told him, “Don’t do that. That was inappropriate.” My husband complimented me on my calm phrasing and turn of phrase. Inside the “mother” had three small children, including an infant, and apparently (per what I overheard) did not speak much English.

    Glad you mentioned the parents who would like to have quiet nights out as well. More of us must speak up more often and demand appropriately quiet spaces. And perhaps hand out bibliographies of parenting books and parenting tips. Being childfree doesn’t mean you haevn’t parented in these days. It means you are more likely to have done more parenting than the current crop of parents.

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  1. […] Quiet Moments – So Thankful for Child-Free Zones Amidst the noise pollution of everyday life, the number of people who crave quiet time is on the increase. I an opinion piece by Tim Kreider (some of whose opinions we share in our book, Enough of Us) in the November 18, 2012 New York Times, about Amtrak’s Quiet Car – in which talking means whispering, cellphones must be off, and music is a headphones-only privilege – he bemoans the amount of noise we are subjected to. […]

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