Kids in Restaurants
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July 8, 2010 2:38 pm at 2:38 pm #82476
Thought we could use a thread for this as I could not find another one specifically about this topic.
I’m a mom and have been taking my daughter to restaurants with me since she was a baby and here are some of my thoughts on what worked for me and what didn’t. Disclaimer: I was blessed with a super laid back, amiable child so your mileage may vary. I know all kids are different, I’m not telling you what to do.
I’m really happy I took my daughter (B) out as much as I did. By the time she was a toddler, she was able to eat just about anywhere. She was a regular at Bexley’s Monk (tavern side – my brother bartended there) and has been going to the Thurman her whole life, back before the remodel and the Travel Channel. It still makes her happy as a teenager to be friendly with the staff, who remember her when from when she was really little (we only went with her during the day, not later at night when it turned more bar than restaurant).
Things that worked for me:
I never assumed that places that don’t cater to kids will have things like coloring books or sippy cups – I brought my own so that I was prepared. I always had a booster seat with me too, just in case. Granted, it’s been a long time and maybe more restaurants have them now.
I never scheduled a meal during nap time. That was asking for trouble.
I was always prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. I only had to do it a couple of times, but I always knew the meal might end up being take out.
I always cleaned up after my kid and always tipped very well. I found that once the servers figured out B was a pro, they were always more than accommodating and almost always friendly. I can’t count the number of special little desserts she got. I figured they had been burned by a lot of parents who let their kids make an awful mess and just left it.
Often, places were fine making small adjustments to regular menu items to accommodate B. I always tried to know what the place offered versus what she would eat.
I wish I would have exposed her to a wider variety of cuisines and not been nervous that she wouldn’t like it. Personally, I’m glad I took her out as much as I did. She is comfortable with adults and I never have to worry that some stupid boy will be able to knock her socks off with a cheesy surf and turf dinner :)
I think what most people object to are *poorly* behaved kids and parents who are not willing to be flexible and compromise. I’m thinking most of the posters on this board do not fall into that category and the people who don’t like dining with kids have been burned by bad experiences.
EDIT: By compromise I mean allowing kids to scream, throw things or run around without disciplining them or leaving.July 8, 2010 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #385627
KSquared wrote >>
I think what most people object to are *poorly* behaved kids and parents who are not willing to be flexible and compromise.
A well behaved kid ( i.e. the absence of screaming meltdowns, throwing food, running from table to table, etc. ) isn’t a problem.July 8, 2010 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #385628
if you can’t keep your kid at the table they shouldn’t be there. And yes, once they start screaming or crying get them out of there. Your kid sounds like a dream though!July 8, 2010 2:59 pm at 2:59 pm #385629
I’m always sort of conflicted on this topic. I live in a neighborhood pretty much devoid of the little folks, or they move to a better school system around age 5. If I pass a restaurant and see a bunch of kids, I probably won’t go in, and I tend to frequent restaurants/bars that normally don’t have many children.
That being said, my mother did a fabulous job of taking me to all types of restaurants when I was a kid, and I was exposed to many types of cuisines and foods. Those are some of my fondest memories of my childhood. I’d hate to see any child cheated out of a good “food education”.July 8, 2010 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #385630
My dad took me to all sorts of places from a pretty young age. If you teach kids how to behave in a restaurant, they will. I was never given any special treatment, and I had to try at least one bite of everything people ordered. I was chowing escargot, sweetbreads, and sushi before I was out of elementary school. My dad was always amused to see the disgust on my face when a server would offer me a children’s menu. I was always super offended at the thought that someone would expect me to eat chicken fingers and fries when everyone else was having steaks. :)July 8, 2010 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #385631
We did have a similar thread on this a few months ago. Then the topic was “Babies In Bars” but it kind of spread over to kids in restaurants as well.July 8, 2010 3:11 pm at 3:11 pm #385632
ChrisSunami wrote >>
We did have a similar thread on this a few months ago. Then the topic was “Babies In Bars” but it kind of spread over to kids in restaurants as well.
Thanks Chris, I posted this in the Knead thread and meant to post it here too.July 8, 2010 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm #385633
Chris and April brought their little boy to a CU dim sum meetup and he was a total joy! Cute, tried everything, and extremely well behaved. And I usually don’t like kids, especially in restaurants for all of the already mentioned antics. Just goes to show ya that it’s not the kids at fault, but the parents.July 8, 2010 3:16 pm at 3:16 pm #385634
+1 lew! I hated those children’s menus as a kid, I didn’t want no stinkin’ hot dog when I could have coq au vin!July 8, 2010 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #385635
CheeseFoodie wrote >>
+1 lew! I hated those children’s menus as a kid, I didn’t want no stinkin’ hot dog when I could have coq au vin!
Funny that now as an adult, I totally dig a good hot dog! :)July 8, 2010 3:21 pm at 3:21 pm #385636
You know, it’s definitely a discipline issue. Growing up, my mom had no qualms about hauling me out of any business establishment (restaurants, grocery stores, fun kid places, etc..) if I couldn’t behave appropriately – even if it meant the situation would cause her an inconvenience. I think the big problem with misbehaving kids in public environments is more of a problem of parents not wanting to be inconvenienced by the behavior and therefore, not immediately addressing it and stopping it.July 8, 2010 3:21 pm at 3:21 pm #385637
SusanB wrote >>
And I usually don’t like kids, especially in restaurants for all of the already mentioned antics.
What?July 8, 2010 3:24 pm at 3:24 pm #385638
Speaking of kids and food. I wonder if these proposed regs will affect restaurant menu marketing to kids.
Junk Food CrackdownJuly 8, 2010 3:24 pm at 3:24 pm #385639
I like kids. I like kids in restaurants. If they want to come over to my table and talk to me, awesome. If they’re crying or being obnoxious, it makes me happy that I don’t have any and can order another drink.July 8, 2010 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #385640
i think the original comment on the Knead thread was not about taking children to restaurants/bars nor their subsequent behavior once inside; but @roy asking why people with children think every restaurant/bar should cater to those with kids by having highchairs and changing tables and should profusely apologize if they don’t. it got derailed by the @slayerfaith who then chose to send all people with children to a suburban Applebee’s.
i do tend to find myself agreeing with @roy about the expectation. i would agree that the expectation that every restaurant/bar will have those accommodations is presumptuous. i would also agree that restaurants/bars are losing potential customers by not making those accommodations.
one of my worst dining experiences in Columbus was not ruined by the child, but by the parents who spent over an hour at the table next to ours at Spagio loudly bemoaning the lack of child friendly restrooms at a wine bar.
on the other hand during my most recent visit there 2 women came in and one had a small baby in a carrier. she set the carrier down next to her, they each had a glass of wine and a dessert and then the went along. no expectation of Spagio needing x or y for their patronage.
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