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Francis Lam, Salon.com: "Is it possible to dine out politely with kids?"

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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:38 AM
Original message
Francis Lam, Salon.com: "Is it possible to dine out politely with kids?"
Is it possible to dine out politely with kids?

Is there any hatred more vile and seething than that reserved for parents and young children by people not in the mood? In cities, particularly, it becomes turf war: small spaces and bulky bourgie baby-care accoutrements really don't mix. I love kids (Hi, Peanut!), but there is a dark chamber of even my heart that opens up when I'm in a hurry and the entire sidewalk is taken up by a double-wide stroller. And nowhere are the battle lines more drawn than in restaurants.

"The first warning is when you see the parents enter the restaurant with a stroller the size of a KIA. From there they will ensure that no one enjoys their dinner until after they're gone. I sincerely think it's intentional," a commenter on Serious Eats replied to a poll on whether children should be allowed in high-end restaurants. Granted, this commenter calls him/herself "Leper," so there may be something else going on psychologically there, but that level of animosity, resentment and contempt is not out of range for what I hear uttered about parents with kids at tables.

And then I heard recently of a stylish cafe in a particularly baby-happy part of town that instituted a no-stroller policy. Not a particularly welcoming gesture, but hearing young parents in the neighborhood talk about it, it wasn't just an annoyance, it was a declaration of class, race and gender war all rolled into one, almost as evil as anything to do with Dick Cheney. (Welcome to Brooklyn: now featuring nearly as many babies as writers named Jonathan!)

But, happily, there are peaceable ways of dealing with the dining tension of the have-babies and have-nots. Writing yesterday in Fat City, Jonathan Bender details his ground rules for taking kids to restaurants. Adapted from the rules you see around swimming pools, they're a strong way to declare a truce with baby-haters and still get to enjoy himself at dinner with his children: http://www.salon.com/food/francis_lam/2010/05/13/how_to...
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. 3 words - Chuck E. Cheese
If you are going there to "dine out", you're not understanding the premise.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:49 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. I spoke with a restaurant owner several years ago...
...this was one of four new owners of a long-standing Italian restaurant (purchased by two married couples...one participated in the day-to-day operations, the other just kicked in the cash).

The new owners were having an extreme identity crisis. They wanted to position themselves as a "traditional" and "romantic" Italian restaurant, but:

1). Every table had a little metal cup filled with crayons so kids could color their placemats. I said "You realize that "kid-friendly" and "romantic night out" cancel each other out, right? She said "yes," but they did it anyway.

2). They made a major push for the "wi fi hotspot" crowd. I told her "If I think that I'm going into a restaurant filled with loud-mouthed yuppies on cell phones, hammering away at their laptops, I'm not going. You've attracted me and repelled them."

As the result of these inconsistencies (and many others) the new owners failed, sold the place, and now it's a place where you can go to grill your own steaks.

:rofl:
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. That's too bad...
They didn't know what the restaurant was---so no one else did either.

What a tragedy from a PR/marketing perspective. As a former PR exec--I see
a senseless death that didn't have to happen.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #15
27. Several colleagues have referred to the woman I spoke with as "arrogant"
My business is strategic marketing...I spoke with her, as a courtesy to a fellow Chamber of Commerce member, to help her resolve some of these issues. But it was a my way or the highway thing. She did what she wanted to do, didn't want to listen to anyone else, and as a result took a restaurant that had been a Silicon Valley tradition for something like 35 years and killed it in 2.

I'm not saying I had all the answers...that would be arrogant too...but the court of public opinion ruled on her efforts, and the verdict was "see ya."

:toast:
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #27
46. Why does everything think they can do...
...marketing and public relations? There is sort of a method to the madness. Like you
said, I don't have all of the answers either, but there are formulas for success. And
clearly, there are formulas that almost guarantee failure.

As a PR person, I wouldn't try to do my own accounting or act as my own attorney. Why
do these people think they can "guess" about some of the most critical aspects of their
business; such as public awareness of your business and your public image?

Her arrogance did her in, obviously.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
23. Probably will fail
As a person who spent many years in restaurant management, I'd say failure to hire good staff and failure to set an identity are the top two reasons for failure.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. They didn't hire good staff either.
If I could use two words to describe the wait staff, it would be "aloof" and "disinterested."

I grew up in restaurants...my mom was a waitress, my dad wooed her when she worked in a donut shop. Unless a waiter / waitress is an outright jerk, I tip a minimum of 20%, and I always try to be friendly and courteous.

The first time I ate at this place, the waiter had one expression...blank. He brought the meal and stayed away after that...no water refills, no "how's your meal," none of that.

The second time, I got stuck going there, because the Chamber of Commerce had a rule that if any member had a hotel / restaurant that could accommodate the weekly lunch meetings, they HAD to be put into the rotation.

So they brought little white coffee cup saucer-sized plates for the antipasto...salami, cheese, olives, etc. in olive oil...and the second course was ravioli in marinara sauce.

We had about 12 tables. Everyone, at every table, was looking for plates for the ravioli. I had to flag down a waitress...they were not attentive at all, doing everything possible to whisk on by and avoid eye contact with the customers. I said "We don't have plates for the ravioli...you're not expecting us to use these same plates, are you?" And she did a little huff and puff and said "Well, yeah..."

I said "Please bring us clean plates."

After the ravioli, the main course was this heavy, squirm-inducing penne Alfredo with little pieces of what I assumed was chicken. One of the attendees said "What a novel idea...pasta, and pasta."

They just didn't get it. It's a shame their dream went up in smoke but they lit the match. They had nothing but bad ideas and wouldn't listen to anyone else.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Wouldn't Listen To Anyone
This is a trend (long one) in restaurant ownership...failure to take good advice. I have no idea what attracts this sort of person to restaurant ownership. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn...and then they sit there, six figures in debt, wondering why their place is a failure and generally blaming everyone except themselves.

It all starts at the GM level. Hire a good GM and you can, for the most part, stand back and collect money. Hire a bad GM and you have almost no chance of success.

When I see staff like what you described I'd never go back no matter how good the food was, mostly because I'd be suspect of all other conditions in the restaurant, including cleanliness. If the GM doesn't care that the wait staff is crap, they probably don't care that the kitchen staff is crap either.

That's pretty funny though...after the salad and pasta course, we're having...pasta.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #7
30. Too bad they didn't think to partition off a section
either for families with kids, or for couples.


There was a local restaurant in an old railroad depot that took advantage of the dual purpose thing...downstairs and in the middle of the place they had the "general" (family) customer space. Around the perimeter they had cute little rooms with booths with heavy curtains on the entrance of each one. Customers could feel like part of the general restaurant atmosphere if they wanted...or not.

Another place was built in a renovated barn and had three levels. Nice rustic/family/romantic atmosphere. It was always full.

A little bit of creativity on the part of entrepreneurs can go a long way.

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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #30
56. The interior was terrible...
...it was a ring of tables around the dining area and a bunch of tables in the middle and if you were sitting on the outside edge, the people at the edge of the middle tables were right...in...your...face. It was like sitting in the middle of one big sandbox. The kids weren't the only thing that killed any "romantic evening out" potential here.

I have another client in San Jose who owns a restaurant...he's been a successful restaurateur throughout his entire career. He told me that before these two couples purchased the place, he had the opportunity to do so...and had actually started negotiations. What killed the deal is that he said the kitchen would have had to have been completely gutted in order to bring it up to current code.

So in addition to the aforementioned bad decisions regarding the restaurant on a daily basis, the new owners also failed on every tactical level possible.

And you nailed it..."A little bit of creativity on the part of entrepreneurs can go a long way..." but these folks simply lacked creativity, and were too arrogant to allow creative people to be of service to them.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
72. The crayon cups may not have been for kids at one time.
It was a trend a couple decades back for late-night places to have patrons color. Some of the best were then hung on the walls.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #72
76. No, I asked, they were most definitely there for kids
This woman did the math.

"Kids coloring their placemats + Couples seeking a romantic dinner date = This ain't gonna work."

She knew it, but refused to do anything about it. They tried to be "something to everyone" and ended up being nothing to no one.
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Liberal_in_LA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #7
73. people bring their kids to coffee shops. i don't get it. the buy them frappe type drinks
and let them raise hell
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #73
77. I walked out of Cardinal Coffee Shop one time without ordering
Went in at lunchtime.

It was EMPTY.

And they seated me right next to two soccer moms who were there with their kids, maybe age 4 to 5. Two boys, one girl, both completely unhinged and yelling and running around, 6 inches away from where I planned to enjoy a meal.

The kids were running around in full "too much sugar / cowboys & Indians" mode.

The soccer moms had finished eating...they were just hanging out and letting the kids run wild.

The waitress came to take my order and I said "I changed my mind. Thanks." And I left.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #1
10. Who the hell would go to Chuck E's just to dine out?
There are other issues to be dealt with. :crazy:
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:43 AM
Response to Reply #10
48. Chuck E. Cheese HELL!
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:42 AM
Response to Original message
2. I don't mind people bringing their kids to restaurants.
Edited on Fri May-14-10 08:43 AM by hobbit709
What I do mind is people bringing their kids to a sit down restaurant and letting their kids act like they're at Chuck E. Cheese's.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #2
39. + 1 000 000 000 000
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carlyhippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
3. We always took our kids to higher end restaurants.
Edited on Fri May-14-10 08:48 AM by carlyhippy
They didn't run around the restaurant, screamed, cried or threw things. They didn't need crayons and coloring pages. They knew restaurant manners. We took them from the time they were babies.

*edit-chuck e cheese was another story, they could play games and play and eat cardboard tasting pizza and enjoyed themselves.
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RobinA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #3
50. My Siblings and I
were taken to high end restaurants from a very young age. We weren't allowed to act like we were at Chuck E Cheese at home, so we didn't when we were out. Also, my parents used some sense when taking into account our limitations as kids and didn't indulge in the 2+ hour dinner affair as they would with friends. There's no reason kids can't be taught to act civilized while out as long as they aren't asked to do so for longer or later then is reasonable. No kid is going to be on his best behavior at 10:00pm during the third hour of a protracted, multi-course dinner.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #50
55. My kids have eaten at some of the finest restaurants in the world
and have been doing so since they were small children. They have been taught impeccable manners and use them when we are out at a nice dinner. When you see children who are misbehaving in restaurants, it is not the children who are at fault, it is the parents.
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carlyhippy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #50
65. that is how we did it, we were not into the multi-course 2 hour dinners anyway
Even when they were young, if we were at a restaurant and there were kids running around the tables and screaming, my kids gave them dirty looks ha. Actually even at Chuck E Cheese, we went as a family, we would all go play the same games as a family, even there they never did run wild screaming and yelling.
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SidDithers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:46 AM
Response to Original message
4. I don't really have a comment...
but thought this thread needed a 3rd response to mention Chuck E. Cheese :)

Sid
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
5. I don't hate kids and I don't mind sharing restaurant space with them...
as long as they're relatively civilized...i.e. the parents don't allow them to run around and yell like they're wild animals.

I've seen plenty of families with young kids be able to dine out politely, so parents who say they just can't control their kids in public are full of shit. Or pathetically lazy about teaching their kids proper "going out" manners.

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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:48 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. That is the correct answer.
"pathetically lazy about teaching their kids proper "going out" manners."
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
41. I've been in Los Angeles for 27 years and honestly can't remember the last time
I saw children sit quietly and eat their meal with family. It's ALWAYS varying degrees of disruptive behavior around here - yelling, running around playing, crying, pounding and kicking furniture. And I don't go to Chucky Cheese, either. I'm talking decent and sometimes expensive restaurants. Parents seem universally disinterested in teaching their children table manners in this town.

Of course, those same parents are usually too busy yelling on their cell phones at someone elsewhere to notice their children's behavior.
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geardaddy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #41
47. Bingo on your second point.
Parents are too busy talking on their phones or playing on their crackberries or I-phones and expect others to watch their kids for them.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #47
61. adult talking on cell phone in restaurant = that unruly kid. saying seems like not a kid issue
but a rude issue
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LibDemAlways Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #41
57. I posted a few years ago about a horrific restaurant experience I
had in LA when a kid at the next table screamed and threw food and plates for a good 20 minutes while his mother ignored the situation. I was surprised to find out that there were DUers who suggested if I didn't like it, I should have stayed home and that I had no right to enjoy my meal.

I know DUers can be contrary, but that set the standard.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #57
62. i have yet to see a kid behave like that at home, let alone a restaurant
maybe it was an amazement that something like that actually happened, not an ok to the behavior
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 02:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
68. Exactly
And that's coming from someone who often brought her kids to restaurants - even as infants.

They don't leave their seats (unless accompanied by an adult - like to the bathroom, or outside, if necessary). And while they're seated, they behave, or they take a trip outside so as not to disturb other people.

I've witnessed kids running underfoot and it bugs the crap out of me, too. Not only really, really rude, but really really dangerous for kids and others as well.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #68
80. Yep...the danger factor...
something I don't think uncaring parents even think about as they allow their kids to run around loose...

How many times have we seen wait staff trying to balance a huge tray full of food/drinks and it's so big they can't see the floor in front of them.

All they need is to have a small child underfoot and crash!!!

A guaranteed accident, perhaps with serious injuries to someone. Kid...wait staff. Maybe even innocent bystanders (or sitters).
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #80
84. And I can't help thinking, as I watch it, that the parents
would also be the first ones to sue should their little precious (who isn't precious enough to pay attention to) got hurt.
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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
8. These threads are always fun!
My bottom line?

If you teach your children how to behave while they are at home, then they will know how to behave in public.
It seems like a lot of parents in my circle of friends only expect their kids to behave while in public, but since they are allowed to be hellions at home, the kids have no idea what "behaving" is.

So I've just adopted a policy of "if you don't have a babysitter, we can't hang out." It's worked pretty well for me.

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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
9. Those ground rules are spot-on. All great, bbut I especially like the iced-coffee rule
Edited on Fri May-14-10 08:52 AM by blondeatlast
and the check has to be ready. I remember my own mom and dad lingering over coffee waaaaaay too long for my considerably older sister' and my tolerance level.

A little cooperation among adults is good for all involved.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
11. "strong way to declare a truce with baby-haters"
I hate that language. I am not a baby/kid hater. Sometimes I do like to enjoy a quiet night out with my friends and/or girlfriend without children running around or babies crying but that doesn't make me a baby hater. This US vs THEM mentality is why the battle lines get drawn. I have no problem with children in fine dining estabishments as long as they're not running amok and causing a scene and most parents I know have the courtesy to take their kids outside for a break if they're getting bored at a restaurant.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #11
14. Common sense? Tolerance? Wha....
you're on the wrong board, buddy ;-)
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Dappleganger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
12. When they were little we only went to very child-friendly places.
They were never allowed to run around, scream and make demands, etc. We always asked for a corner in the back of the restaurant so we wouldn't bother anyone.

Now that they are older we can take them anywhere as they know how to act. We can go to the symphony, the movies, a funeral...you name it, they've done it and know what is expected. We began taking them to the National Gallery of Art when they were in kindergarten/1st/2nd grade and knew to not touch or get to close to anything (we called it 'sneezing distance'). We never spanked them, just had high expectations and immediately consequences for misbehavior (removal from the scene). Only one boy had a problem which he was very small, we had to leave twice with him and he got the message. Now he's nearly 17 and a perfect gentleman.

BTW, we've never taken any of them to Chuck E. Cheese.
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Walk away Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
13. My brother and I were raised going out to dinner every Friday night.
We all dressed and my parents had conversation with us. Because both my folks worked this was the official kick off to the weekend. We spent the evening talking about our week and planning the next two days. Even when we were very little we were expected to listen and contribute. My brother raised his kids the same way.

Whenever I see some poor kid acting out in a restaurant, there is always some parent trying to get them to shut up. Maybe if people made the evening about communicating with their children, everyone would hve a better time.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #13
36. Oh, sometimes I don't even see that...
parents trying to shut up a kid who's acting out, I mean.

I've seen parents just sit there and allow the kid(s) to scream and be a horrible annoyance to other patrons.

One local family restaurant I went to, if looks could kill, the parents would have been dead a hundred times over for all the nasty glares they were getting from a whole room full of customers for allowing their three children to act like savages.

When they finally finished and left, I think it took every bit of willpower for people NOT to cheer. In any case, there was a palpable lessening of tension. Even the wait staff looked relieved.

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Walk away Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:18 AM
Response to Reply #36
52. I am guessing that these families don't have dinner together at home...
very much. It is inconceivable that my nieces would ever act that way. It has simply never happened and no one in our family ever gets hit, yelled at or intimidated into being quiet.

The kids in my family are not angels. We are all a little rough and ready and tend to question authority but we still were required to observe basic manners at home and in public. There isn't anything special about us except that we don't ever ignore children.



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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
16. This article is full of common sense
which, sadly, seems to be rare these days. He is right, kids generally reflect their parents. If you have parents who are loud, talk on their cell phones, text (generally ignore their dinner companions), well then, the kids will too.

Namely, if you're going out with your kid:

1) Take them early, preferably in the 5-6 hour. And don't stay longer than their attention span can tolerate.

2) Be prepared to take the kid outside if they get too loud or antsy.

3) Leave the safari equipment at home. Overly large strollers and such in tiny restaurants with tiny aisles are not appropriate. Anything you can fold up out of the way, or under the table is fine.

4) Don't let your kid wander about the place as if he or she is an orphan. Ditto kicking the back of the adjoining booth.

5) Make sure they taste something different and unusual from their normal fare. Except for pint-sized milks, forget the kids' menu. They can get chicken nuggets and burgers anytime.

I would also add:

6) Make sure you practice with your kid at home about what happens in a restaurant so that they can know what to expect and what you expect. *whispers* Use your INDOOR VOICE!

7) Make sure they understand that saying "please" and "thank you" are not optional. Good table manners go everywhere.

A fun place for kids to practice their finer manners is a place that serves afternoon tea. Tea, punch and finger food with silverware.


I go to restaurants all the time with kids who have these behaviors, as well as their parents. And I'm happy to share the place with them, even if I am a childfree person. My niece is eight and is just fine in any restaurant in town. Her 5 yo brother, well, He's still stuck in Chuck E Cheese Land. :rofl: But he's working on it. :-)


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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
17. Is it possible to dine out politely with loud Republicans?
As long as the share my definition of "polite", and understand my steak knife is honed to a razor-sharp edge...
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CoffeeCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
18. I think we're really lucky...
Edited on Fri May-14-10 09:15 AM by CoffeeCat
We take out kids to restaurants and they're angels and have been so since
they were very young. We've always told them that other people are trying
to enjoy their meal and have conversation and that it's not polite to be
loud and obnoxious. We've taken them to restaurants since they were babies.
I remember having their car seats on top of the table.

Our kids are so good. They're also a lot of fun. Threads like this make
me proud of them.

I will say, that my 93-year old grandmother has said that the wildest little
kids---the ones tearing through the clothing stores and screaming in restaurants--are
the ones who grow up to be the successful scientists, artists and entrepreneurs.

Maybe being a spirited little kid isn't all bad, no? ;)
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Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:17 AM
Response to Original message
19. "with a stroller the size of a KIA"
Yeah, sure...its a sin. And most of the time the most angry people are simply upset they can't swiftly get by in their Rascal Scooters. There is a double standard here as far as transportation is concerned.
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Amerigo Vespucci Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #19
51. I have a client in San Jose...
...and they are located along a main drag, and other than the on-street parking, they have a shared parking lot with Jamba Juice and a few other businesses. That's where I park when I visit. The Jamba Juice has outside chairs / tables right out to the edge of the sidewalk. There is also a row of newspaper vending machines, so you've got to walk on the sidewalk...you're boxed in, nowhere to go on the right or left.

Every time...every single solitary time...I have visited this client, there has been a minimum of three, sometimes more, of the local trust fund / soccer mom types with double-wides. They move real slow and the stop...right in the middle of the sidewalk...and carry on conversations, or go into a deep, personal trance about what kind of juice they're going to order.

They know they have a double-wide, they know they've parked it smack dab in the middle of the narrow sidewalk, and they do...not...care.

So I hear what you're saying about the Rascal Scooters...it's the same as the mothers who put their full-grown kids in those giant, idiot "scooter" shopping carts at Safeway and park THEM In the middle of the aisle while they carefully inspect the canned corn.

I just need a cattle catcher, that's all. Instead of giving people a polite and hopeful look, like they might move a little to the left or right, or saying "excuse me," I need to be riding that train, high on cocaine. Watch that speed, Casey.



:rofl:



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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #51
58. Hey I hear ya
I find myself wondering how we ever managed to raise 2 kids without a stroller the size of a Kia.
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Demoiselle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:18 AM
Response to Original message
20. I've lived a long time. I've eaten out in "nice" restaurants a lot.
I have NEVER been bothered, distracted, annoyed, whatever you want to call it by a family with young children while eating out.
NEVER. And yet I see articles like this on a regular basis. Am I living in another dimension and don't know it?
I don't mean to be unsympathetic...I'd hate to have to deal with such unpleasantness, I just haven't seen it firsthand.

Our children are grown now. When they were little, we took often took them out to eat with us. Never a moment's problem, and I'm not bragging. I didn't exercise some magic methods. I don't remember ever having to tell them to mind their manners. They just did.

Then again, we never took a stroller into a restaurant. By the time we started taking the kids along to Restaurante Splendido and its ilk, they had outgrown strollers. (Age 3-4 or so?)
That might be a point worth remembering.
And at home we sat down together to dinner every night and everyone (adults and children) was expected to be courteous and attentive. So they were. And so were we.
Courteous and attentive whether it was a holiday dinner or mac and cheese night.
Oh jeez....rereading this I realize I have finally, and probably permanently, entered Old Fart Country.
I apologize if I've offended anyone...

And I do agree about those enormous strollers. I've been shoved out of the way by one on the street. (Well, by the daddy who was driving it, actually, and he was annoyed with ME!)

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madmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #20
31. I think you may have hit on another important point...
"at home we sat down together to dinner every night and everyone" How often do people actually sit down at a table and enjoy a meal together anymore? When my daughter first went out on her own, she and her roommate didn't have regular hours. She told me the thing she missed the most was sit down family meals. They mean a lot!
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #31
34. at the least, five nights a week. weekends i am off the clock cooking.
it is a free for all, or we bring something in, or hubby cooks.

my favorite time of the day is dinner. we gather, we eat adn we talk and talk and talk. i have gotten to the point of eating so slow. and everyone has to sit at table until i am done. it has gotten to the point where i am done, and we still are at table talking and i say... enough, yawl go away, lol

ya

it is the single most best thing we do in this house as a family. everyone touches base
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #20
43. Here in L.A. the trend is those double-wide two-seater strollers with
ONLY ONE CHILD in attendance.
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smirkymonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #43
64. New Yorkers are the fastest walkers in the country, so if most
parents know what's good for them, instead of the double-wide they get the strollers that can fit two kids, one right behind the other. Whoever invented that was a genius. There is nobody more hostile than a New Yorker in a hurry who is stuck behind a slow moving double-wide.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
21. other than more family oriented diner and babies... i have yet to see out of control children
Edited on Fri May-14-10 09:43 AM by seabeyond
running around and screaming or causing any other kinds of problems. we dont go out often when at home, but we have taken two cross country trips recently and often are out of town, so we eat out a lot then. i have yet to see the mass quantity of rude, screaming, running all over the restaurant kids.

for years, our family have gone into restaurants, sat down and ate, and left. bothering no one.

i wonder about the people that always have their life disrupted by that out of control kid and useless parent.
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #21
24. You've been very lucky then.
There was a time when Donna and I would run into one about once a month. And in the majority of the cases the parents did nothing whatsoever to control them. It became a point of remarking about it when a parent actually made their kid sit and behave.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #21
44. Come to Los Angeles and try eating out in just about any mid-priced sit-down restaurant.
There WILL be a screaming infant or toddler, a trio of hooligans playing tag among the tables, or shouting ten-year-olds with potty mouths.
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:21 AM
Response to Original message
22. Yes. We did when I was a kid...
...and my siblings have done it with my nieces and nephews (who now range from 18 to 3).

But the work on that begins at home, with firm rules about how to behave in public and at the dinner table. And a willingness to pay the check and walk out half-done if the kids act up.
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hobbit709 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. If we acted up up, we got to sit in the car while everyone else ate.
Then we got nothing to eat after getting home.
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #26
40. I'll bet it didn't take more than one or two times for that lesson to sink in...
Although I hope there was a "fair warning" before it actually happened.


But yeah...there have to be consequences for unacceptable behavior besides just hearing over and over again, "Stop that or else!!!" Or, worse, nothing at all.

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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
25. Always took my kids to restaurants, from babies on upwards.
I don't notice kids in restaurants, unless they're shriekers--and that doesn't happen often enough for me to think that kids don't belong there.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #25
71. +1
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proteus_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
32. Yes, it is.
I take my nephew and niece out out for food often and they're always well-behaved. Give them manners and it will serve them a lifetime.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
33. hahahaha my 2 yr old grandson is notorious
try telling a 2 yr old to settle down.

anyway, he is pretty good, but if he does start up my son whispers into his ear, like the dog whisperer, and he settles down. Its not natural for a 2 yr old to sit for prolonged periods of adult chit chat.

bringing a Dora the Explorer tape helps a lot
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pipi_k Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #33
42. Two year olds in general are notorious, but yes...
if I see a parent at least making a real effort to correct behavior, I'm not so annoyed.


:)

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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #33
78. Two-year-olds can meet more expectations than many people give them credit for...
... I'm not sure if passive entertainment is helpful in getting to that end, however.
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FarCenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
35. Kids should be kept in their pods until they are 21
Generally, they are not sufficiently repressed to be tolerable in public.
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
37. Yes


we ate out with our kids from the time they were infants and they did not bother anyone.

manners are taught from day one.

parents that let there little ones talk loudly in public drive me nuts.
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SocialistLez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:17 AM
Response to Original message
38. It's possible depending on the age
I remember one night my friend and I went out for pizza.
We had the horrible misfortune of having some young girls sit behind us. They were screaming over the dumbest things, "OH MY GOD!! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THAT!!" These were little pre-teen girls.

VERY annoying to say the least.

In any case, I think some kids can handle going out to a restaurant.

I can't stand hearing babies cry and the parents just sitting there not doing a thing to stop the child from crying.
At least take them outside or to the bathroom.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
45. My sister and I ware always expected to sit politely, converse, and eat
at the table, whether at home or going out. Our training in restaurant behavior was probably helped by the fact that my dad was an AF officer and so "eating out" usually meant going to the Officer's Club on base for dinner. This was candle-lit fine dining, and excellent table manners were expected.

Even if we went out casual, like for pizza, we were expected to act civilized and not do anything that would disturb others.
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Fleshdancer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 10:46 AM
Response to Original message
49. My daughter went through a phase where I couldn't take her to restaurants
So I didn't. Problem solved!

Once she grew out of her crazy toddler phase, I've had no issues with taking her to nice restaurants. In fact, there have been moments where I was more embarrassed by my husband than my kid, but that's a whole different thread.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #49
60. Same here
My son was not well behaved enough to go to adult events so we didn't take him. These young parents today don't seem willing to sacrifice their social life while their kids are young. It was part of being a parent 30 years ago.
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The Damned Donating Member (284 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
53. No
Not a chance in Hell.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
54. I don't hate kids, but they'd better not act up when I'm in any restaurant
with white tablecloths and a wine list.

If I'm in their territory (family-friendly places like Red Robin or anywhere with high chairs and a kiddie menu,) it's up to me to endure the misbehavior.

When they're in adult territory, if their parents can't handle it, I'm summoning the server and asking them to deal with the situation.

Adults will be booted from an upscale restaurant if they are causing a disturbance. I see no reason why kids shouldn't be subject to the same rule. Everyone there is paying for a nice experience; why should their evening out be ruined by people who think they're more important than every other person there?
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #54
63. how many times have you had to put your foot down missy, by gosh? nt
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #63
66. More than once
I'm not dumb enough to post dinner check amounts on this board, but prior to the Big Layoff of 2009 at our house, part of my husband's job entailed entertaining company clients when they visited on business. All of those dinners featured business discussions. It's tough to have any conversation at all when (for example) a family evidently decided that Daniel's Broiler in Bellevue, WA (feel free to look it up,) was a great place to have a five-year-old's birthday party.

If the restaurant does not have high chairs and a kiddie menu, there's a reason for that. It's not a playground for free-ranging preschoolers. If I ran around smacking into servers with platters of food, screamed and threw food, I'd be asked to leave any establishment. I can't understand why some parents don't seem to get that if the child is unable or unwilling to sit at the table and dine, it might be best to either leave them with a sitter till they're older, or perhaps, take them to a restaurant that's a little better equipped to entertain kids.
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
59. I'll tell you a venue where stroller-pushers DO annoy me...R-rated movies
Loud, violent action and gory horror flicks: what the hell are they thinking bringing a toddler to a movie like that?



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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #59
67. I've seen that, too
Don't the kids have bad dreams?

Why would anyone want to bring a child to something like that? I don't watch horror movies as an adult.

IMHO, YMMV.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
69. Fuck it. If I gotta put up with 'em, so does everyone else
It's not as if I don't have to put up with cigarette smoke, airheads' cell phone conversations, drunk assholes, farting rednecks, fucksticks' arguments, and all the other shit inconsiderate people do in public. People forget that they were young once too and someone had to put up with their shit. I'd rather sit next to a squallin' youngin than a fucken teabagger going off about his dick-brain conspiracy theories. There's a lot worse shit you can get wrapped around the axle over as opposed to this.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #69
74. Amen. I've never been seriously bothered by kids in restaurants--
I have, however, had my meal ruined by a disgusting woman at the next table who OPEN-MOUTH COUGHED through her entire meal. I love the sound of phlegm being horked up from the depths while I'm eating--plus I got to see everything that was chewed up in her mouth come flying out whenever I dared glance in that direction. Adults who are obnoxious are far worse than kids being kids.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 07:11 PM
Response to Reply #74
85. At least the kids have the excuse of immaturity
Kids I can handle. Adults that should know better...not so much.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
70. This parent is tired of the massive strollers that seem to be everywhere!
And I am tired of seeing four, five and six-year-old kids in those strollers.

However, we do take our youngin' out to eat, and it usually goes well.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
75. Kids are part of society. If the child-haters don't like it, too dang bad!
Edited on Fri May-14-10 03:38 PM by Odin2005
This crap is basically saying "moms are supposed to be at home with the kids and not doing stuff in the community".

I don't have kids, but I adore them. I don't get how people don't like them.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
79. Fire codes dictate that businesses have uncluttered/easy-access
to escape aisles.

It's a simple fix to just post a notice from the fire department, and no more stroller issues.

Most restaurants have pretty narrow walkways. They are in the business to put as many tables as possible..not large spaces for stroller-parking.
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dorkulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
81. I guess it's all right, if you don't my boat-horn.
Seriously, a crying child is the most irritating sound in existence, for the obvious reason that we're genetically programmed to be bothered by it. No, it's not the kid's fault, or his parents, but it is kind of inconsiderate to bring a wailing ambience-destroyer into a fine dining restaurant. Get a sitter; it's not your infant is going to miss the caviar.
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guardian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
82. Depends on your kid's manners. n/t
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-14-10 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
83. It is easy to take kids to nice restaurants - we had 3, born in a span of 5 years - and did so with
all of them. We made sure we had enough "entertainment" - books to read softly, paper and crayons so they could color (their paternal Grandmother, an artist, discouraged getting coloring books) etc. We also went to places where they would like some of the things to eat. As they ate a huge range of things, this was no problem.

It helped that all three were pretty, nicely dressed, and well behaved. This led to compliments - which encouraged them to continue that way. There were a few times when my husband and I briefly took a baby or cranky toddler out - but it was rare. I honestly can't believe that a large stroller would be taken into the seating area. We took car seats for babies and snap on seats for toddlers.

We also took care to go to places where there was some noise level. There are some restaurants that are very quiet and fancy - we avoided them until the girls were older. Also, some places end up being more than 2 hour commitments - not good with little kids. That still left us many many nice restaurants to go to.

We did try to investigate what was expected when we traveled. Back in the early 1990s, I asked on Usenet about kids in restaurants in France and Spain. We ended up getting excellent suggestions - having the first child/parent pair walk to get milk, pastry, bread and fruit for breakfast and having lunches as picnic lunches in parks. (Even the 4 year old learned what "glace de chocolat" meant as we let them get dessert from the ice cream venders.)






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