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Kids Behaving in Restaurants

Does Your Tot Behave in Restaurants?

Going to a restaurant with the tots in tow can leave parents feeling fretful. Nobody wants to be that mom with the screaming child running around the eatery. Crayons, snacks, books, and toys can be distraction tools, but they aren't a sure bet.

Thankfully pizzerias and family-friendly restaurants are places where shrieks and flying food are not only acceptable, but expected. How does your child do dining out?


milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
My son is only 9mos so it's still kinda easy. As long as we bring him toys and snacks he's great. We also make sure it's in the earlier dinner hour so it doesn't end up running too close to bed time and end in a meltdown. Oh and I kinda feel Sugasuga that if you dislike kids as much as you seem, why do you feel it necessary to read/post in a blog about kids??? Doesn't really make sense to me.
radmama27 radmama27 9 years
My 2 year old has always been fantastic when out to eat. He is so polite, now orders his own food, waits patiently, and says please and thank you.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
it's not just children that violate the peace of other diners. last week we went to dinner at a steak house and there was a table of adults that were SO loud we complained "oh it's never like this". uh huh, time before last it was the same thing. people get so into their own table happenings they forget anyone else is in the room. we paid $100 for an irritating meal experience.
macneil macneil 9 years
She's 20 months, she's usually on the fractious side of okay. The toys and books and crayons I bring or they provide never do much, but I can usually bustle her in and out before the crying gets noticeable to anyone else. But I don't have a little angel who will do her own thing and let me linger over 2 courses.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Of course it's because children don't learn rules in the home. Most children will misbehave in certain situations, and sometimes even when they behave fine at the home dinner table. But still, if it doesn't start at home it's not going to happen elsewhere either. The same applies to movie theatres. I call it The Living Room Syndrome - people are so used to chatting through their DVDs that they think nothing of chatting through a movie at the theatre.
sofi sofi 9 years
Trust me, as a parent who really tries hard to keep my kids under control and always worries about bothering other people, it irks me as well when parents let their children do whatever- that's what gives everyone else the bad rap. I don't think that is as common as you might think and the vast majority of parents I know dread the breakdown or rambunctiousness. If a restaurant is ok with me bringing my child in, I think it is ok to be there and shouldn't be looked at like I am out of place-because I am not in a kid's joint or fast food. Kids need to learn from first hand experience. For those wild children with out-of- touch parents, someone needs to tactfully remind them to keep their kids seated not to hurt themselves or someone else. I agree that the folks need etiquette lessons as well as the kids sometimes :)
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I'm not a parent, and I agree with Sugasuga29 to a certain extent. My issue is when parents make no effort to console their wailing children, or let their children run amuck in the restaurant. I think they are used to their children's behavior. They've grown callous to it. But many strangers, like myself, are not. Their children's behavior is disturbing and unsettling. Their children are violating the boundaries of others. The parents don't care. However, when parents DO make efforts to calm their children, or try to teach the children proper, social behavior, I'm much more forgiving. I just don't like it when parents do nothing.
Pallas-Athena Pallas-Athena 9 years
Children will be children and unless they have parents who make them fear misbehaving then sometimes they're good and sometimes they're bad...well behave well or bad. Kids get curious and excited when they go out especially if there is many of them. I see that the more you take them out, the more the excitement wears off. It also depends on how you raise them.
sofi sofi 9 years
yayaozo- we've all gone through that phase and it can be very difficult. You do need to expose children to these situations or they won't learn. This is a good age for you to start some discipline techniques in such situations. If she doesn't listen or stay put after telling her say three times, I would take her to a quiet hallway or out to the car for a time-out and to cool off. Explain that she has to behave or you will leave. You'll probably have to do this several times, but she'll soon learn. Talk to her before you go in and maybe offer a sticker as reward if she sits and eats nicely! Nothing ever worked perfectly and it is a lot of trial and error for a bit, but nows a good time to instill some good table manners. Good luck :)
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
CaterpillarGrl... i think you've definitely hit on something & completely agree w/sofi & yayaozo... how can you expect them to know what to do... if they dont do it. and of course you're going to do snacks & sometimes dinner in front of the tv... we're all human BUT... i think it's soooo important to have dinner together as a family . YayaOzo it sounds like you're doing everything you can... the 2's i've heard (and from what i've witnessed w/friends) are TOUGH good luck!
YayaOzoHead YayaOzoHead 9 years
My daughter is in her terrible two's and loves to jump, sing, and yell. She crawls under the table and out. She won't run around but she will wander and say hello to everyone. We try to distract her with crayons but she just decides to color the table and chairs. We don't go out to eat too often but since we're moving this week, it's been take-out or family diner visits. On the other hand, if we don't put her in these settings, how will she learn how to act? Most of the meal is spent saying "no" and "sit down". We give her boundaries but she keeps pushing and pushing. So it's either let her have her tantrum (and bother everyone else) or give in to what she wants which then also feeds the beast. If parents have any tips, I'd love to hear them!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
That is a good theory.
sofi sofi 9 years
CaterpillarGrl- totally agree with you and see it in friend's kids. They never sit down at the table for a family meal, so how would they know how to behave in public? Last night my darling six year old was making silly noises at home at dinner and I found myself giving a mini-lecture about how we can't do that at home and especially out because others will not appreciate it or find it funny. I think it is a big issue today that families aren't sitting together at dinner- eating on the run or in front of the tv.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Caterpillar, I think you may be on to something with that. While I do allow my son to eat in front of the tv on occasion, most of our meals are everyone sitting at the table.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I dont have kids, but do you think the reason that some people kids have problems at "sit down" restaurants is because they dont "sit down" at a table at home? maybe they are just used to plopping down in front of the TV on the couch and now that they are asked to be at a table they have no clue what those manners are? because they run around and make noise as if they were in thier own homes!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
You may be right, Jude! It definately wasn't our usual joints, that's for sure! Just goes to show you that our tots are more observant than we give them credit for sometimes!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
That's so cute, MartiniLush! I wonder if he was extra well-behaved because he picked up on something in the atmosphere of the restaurant that told him he should be, more so than at a pizza joint or whatever?
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Why wouldn't I take my kids to "sit down" restaurants? Is McDonald's our only option until they're 15? And how will they learn to behave in a restaurant without experience? My kids do pretty well. If they don't, we leave or at least take the rambunctious one out to the car to settle down. I'd never ask or expect a server to entertain them at all. In fact, I'd be kind of put out if a server tried, that's my job. A server tends to get more when the kids are with us, though, simply because there's usually more food bits and stuff. I clean the table as much as I can myself, but I'm not going to get on the floor. We do nice restaurants with them quite a bit. Never had a dirty look or complaint from a fellow diner. Oddly, the once place someone said something was at Denny's, when the woman next to us yelled that little kids didn't belong there. My son was a year and sitting quietly in his high chair.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
My son loves to go out to eat (he's 4) - when we took a trip to Hawaii last year, it coincided with our wedding anniversary. We thought, no problem, the hotel has a baby-sitting service, we can enjoy dinner and drinks out on our own! But, when it came down to it, I couldn't leave him with someone I didn't know in a strange place. We had reservations at a swanky restaurant - white cloth dinner tables, the whole bit. We took him with us and he was amazing - he is usually really good in restaurants, but I was even shocked! We took a few of his toy dinosaurs and figured we would order quick and jet out if he got antsy. Not a problem - he sat and quietly played and ate for 2 1/2 hours!! (That is definately a record for him!) The restaurant staff was awesome too - the bartender sent him over a pinapple juice with an umbrella in it like a mai tai - he thought he was such a big boy! LOL!
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
We can take our daughter out without major incident - so we do. I have had totake her for a walk and what not - but for teh most part crayons and books keep her entertained. I take her to church every week - which is an hour long and sinc eshe can sit through that without freaking out - I figure dinner is just old hat for her, One thing that a pizza shop we go to does is give the kids a ball of dough to play with while we wait - it is perfect and keep my daughter really entertained.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
We don't really go to many "stand-up" restaurants, but when we do go out, our lil guy gets excited and loves watching the action... I hope that exposing him to restaurants from an early age (he's 8 months) will be good experience so that he'll know how to behave as he gets older. We also only take him to establishments that have high chairs and customers that are as considerate of diners w/children as they are of diners w/out.
sofi sofi 9 years
There is a wide range of 'sit-down' restaurants and many are appropriate for children. I'm not sticking to fast food. Children don't need to go to fancy places, but learning to sit down nicely is important. I often ask ahead of time if the restaurant has kid's menus or child-friendly. This doesn't mean the kids are let loose, but we learn how to sit nicely in public- if we don't, we get taken out of the situation quickly. No one is trying to ruin anyone's dining experience- just have a pleasant time out with the family :oy: Like I said earlier, this is going to turn into another 'airport' post.
Sugasuga29 Sugasuga29 9 years
My question is this: Why are these parents taking their children into "sit-down" restaurants in the first place? Are they hellbent on ruining the dining experiences of others around them? The problem is not the children--they are the way they are. The problem is parents not having any boundaries with their children and taking them to places that are inappropriate. Not everyone is going to think your child is "precious"--keep that, and being considerate of others in mind.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
mine are fine, no issues usually and if there are i can cut them off with "the look". but we couldn't go to a rstaurant until my oldest was 8 because she has severe autism. when we finally went it was on vacation and we sat on the pation at a mexican restaurant where there was music and it was casual. we made it quick :)
sofi sofi 9 years
It's so nice to see that so many restaurants cater to children these days- not just pizza and diners, but even nicer places have kid's menus and activities. I remember with my first we went up and down a popular, restaurant-filled street here in DC about 5 years ago, and there was only ONE (the last one on the strip) that had a high chair. We are actually grateful we found it because it is one of our favorites now, and they are great with our kids! My in-laws always insist on a nicer restaurant when we go visit that just isn't appropriate for kids. I am completely prepared but when the place just doesn't know how to serve children and have us waiting through several courses, I can't do it- to me, others, or the kids. I end up having someone break down and taking them home early.
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