Kids NOT Allowed

Quick. Recall the last time you went out to eat with the kids. We are not counting the Golden Arches here, folks. I mean places with a table-cloth, or at least real silverware. How was that experience? Did you enjoy it? Did your kids behave? Were you relaxed? Did you have to take your child to the car? Did you feel embarrassed, at any point, by your children’s behavior? Have you purposely left them home, like I did with my youngest last week, just to be able to enjoy eating a dinner without a screamer in your lap?

Apparently, parents aren’t the only ones frustrated with their children’s restaurant behavior. In Pennsylvania, a restaurant is no longer allowing children under the age of six. The owner says kids under six cannot control their volume and their parents are essentially oblivious to this.

It’s funny, a friend of mine, with baby number four on the way, complained she will be eating take out for the next four years. Her kids are 12, 5 and one. Once the new baby comes, she’ll have to juggle two screamers. But, shouldn’t she be allowed to do that, if she wants to? Leaving my youngest home last week was a choice I made. I decided to leave him home with my mother. But, if it was up to restaurant owners like the one from the story out of PA, I’d be forced to leave them at home. It wouldn’t be up to me.

I can understand the desire to eat a meal without hearing children in the background. I get it. Like, if my expecting friend decided to go out for a nice, romantic dinner with her husband, she wouldn’t want to hear other kids hollering, especially if she’d left hers at home.

Doesn’t it all come down to personal responsibility? If I’d brought my toddler with me to Chilis last week and he screamed, I’d have to take him out, right? In a recent episode of Super Nanny, a mom took her four kids out to eat. They sat in the outdoor section of this restaurant. The youngest (who is the same age as my youngest) screamed in his high chair. Jo Frost, aka Super Nanny, told the mom to just let him sit there in his high chair and to not remove him. 26 minutes went by before the mom had enough and took the toddler out of the high chair. That sounds like 26 minutes of hell. Jo said the mom shouldn’t have taken him out because now the baby knows if he screams enough, he’ll get his way. Her solution? Distract him. That doesn’t sound like an enjoyable dining out experience to me.

What do you think? Should we keep the kids at home while dining out? Should we create some sort of child muzzle and taser system to keep our kids quiet and inline at a restaurant. (I’m joking!) What works best? What do you do? Oh, and be sure to share your horrid dining out experiences.



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amy
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 22:23:47

    My friend wanted to have sushi for her birthday, so we met at a local spot for lunch. She brought her baby, who was probably somewhere around a year old. The baby had just disovered her voice, and was letting out random (happy) shrieks, testing her newfound skill. We were pretty much finished eating by that point, and my friend was getting ready to open her gift that had been sitting on the table. The manager arrived and told her in broken english that her baby was bothering customers and we needed to leave. She was absolutely mortified. 😦


  2. MJ
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 22:34:37

    I could go either direction on this topic. I agree with your point that it should be an individuals (Parents) responsibility, but the reason these establishments are making these choices is because there are parents that are not doing the responsible thing. I have 3 kids myself, but I also agree with being able to have a quiet dining experience without listening to someones screaming child. I think if you can afford an upscale resteraunt like that, you can afford a babysitter.


  3. KalleyC
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 13:36:13

    I used to avoid taking my 2 year old out, but now I take her with me to restaurants. She doesn’t scream as opposed to talk loud sometimes, most of the time, she’s making the owners laugh.

    It’s not easy going out with a child under 6, but I think that it should be the parent’s choice. With my family, I choose to eat dinner early (like 5) because that’s what I do at home. Going out is okay because by the time the evening crows comes in, we’re done.


  4. Domestiç Reclusë
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 23:16:28

    Actually, we’ve been to a few expensive/fancy restaurants with my 6yr old. We’ve never had a prob with our kids acting up; usually Hubby’s the one who notices other kids who act up, and he comments on why don’t the parents take the child out to the car or the bathroom or someplace and quiet them down. (I’m thinking, “no witnesses!” for the disciplinary action you’re about to take. LOL)

    And hey, if restaurants can afford to discriminate — so can we. You can bet that even after my rugrat’s passed their age restriction, we still wouldn’t go there to eat. It’s a pretty harsh assumption to make of all kids who appear to be 6yrs and under.

    If they want to upgrade their clientele, so to speak, then they can impose a manner of dress (such as must wear bow ties for boys, dress for girls, etc), thus setting high standards and expectations of their customers. They can even choose to use their old smoking/non-smoking sections and convert them to “family” vs “no children” sections. However, they need to realize that being in the service industry, they can’t survive without customers and so discriminating against them can essentially kill business.

    Lastly, if restaurants plan on imposing such age restrictions, then they had better change their restaurant name so as to not include the words, “family” or “family-friendly” in the name or on any of their ads, otherwise — those discriminated against could claim it as a form of false advertising, and that’s a whole new can of worms to open. 😉


  5. Trackback: Creating Good Restaurant Behavior | Katherine Simms

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