A week ago right now we were at a birthday party. It was the girls' first event at Chuck E. Cheese. It was everything I remembered. It was loud. It was chaotic. It was sensory overload in all ways.
In spite of all the downsides adults complain about and children love, there is one thing they do at Chuck E. Cheese that I had forgotten about. When you enter the restaurant, they stamp your hand and your children's hands with the same number. When you leave, they use a black light to make sure your number matches the children you are taking out the door. If you don't match then you don't leave together.
I have to admit this impressed me.
As a parent I felt good knowing that the girls could not walk out the door. I realize it was still my responsibility to watch them. What made me feel good was knowing that if (okay when) I lost sight of one of the girls, she had to be in the play area or restaurant. She couldn't just wander to the grocery store next door. I also felt comfortable knowing that no one else could leave with one of the girls.
I give Chuck E. Cheese a lot of credit for implementing and maintaining this system. In this day of budget cuts, it would be easy to eliminate the person handling entrances and exits. Instead they realize this is a selling point for parents that keeps them coming back.