In Life

Should babies and children be allowed in restaurants?

This is obviously a controversial issue for a lot of parents. Some say “NO!”, others say “Why not?”

Personally, I’d err on the side of “No”, but it all depends on the child.

Some children are very well behaved and can easily sit pretty calmly for the entire meal without screaming or throwing a tantrum. Other children, simply cannot.

Children in general, get restless, and babies cry.

Unless of course, you are in France and the children are unusually well-behaved and attentive at dinner because food and eating is a central component to the way they live.

 

That’s just how it is and I get it… but I don’t want to be subjected to it, particularly not if it is my child doing the screaming.

When I was a singleton, I loathed having loud babies or rambunctious children sit next to me in a restaurant. I can’t hold a conversation or enjoy my meal if your toddler is shrieking at the top of her lungs for a toy and attention.

Photograph-Cheesecake-Dessert-Caramel-Food-Individual

That said, there are establishments that are MEANT for families, and those are the ones I’d go to if I had to bring Baby Bun with me.

Otherwise, Baby Bun stays at home or we don’t go out.

I would never in a bajillion years, bring a child or a baby to a fine dining restaurant unless he is naturally calm and has proven to be well-behaved in private settings or at others’ homes we have visited.

You kind of have to test drive a baby’s personality first before bringing them out, otherwise it will just cause you stress and a headache to have to calm down your screaming child because you didn’t plan for them to not be cool with sitting in their chair for 3 hours while you gab with your friends over wine.

Just hire a darn babysitter already!

It is for this reason that I do not want to really travel with Baby Bun yet until I am sure he is going to be calm and relatively easy to take care of. I have been on the plane many times with horrible, HORRIBLE children who have never been disciplined in their lives because their parents think they’ll “work it all out when they get older and become more mature”.

I always think: OH really?

You think by letting your 3-year old throw temper tantrums, grab other peoples’ stuff, kick their chairs and be a general nuisance now without any discipline, they’re going to get older and magically turn into a polite, decent, well-mannered person ALL ON THEIR OWN?

Riiiiight. 

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8 Comments

  1. Xin

    I actually rarely see people bringing toddlers or infants to restaurants in NYC, and now that I think of it, what few very young children I see at restaurants are always extremely quiet and well-behaved.

    My parents were definitely good about making sure my sister and I behaved when they brought us out. They certainly made good on any promise to leave if we really misbehaved, and we learned very early to behave ourselves at restaurants and the like!

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      This is what I learned too, and Baby Bun will learn the same. He had a few rough patches with the playground and stores, and I just picked him up, went to the car and left.

      Reply
  2. cantaloupe

    Why would anyone bring a child to a fine dining establishment? They’re not going to appreciate the food and they can’t drink the wine, so what’s the point? If it’s an expensive meal, I honestly wouldn’t understand the point of bringing a child along….

    Restaurants in general, I don’t see a problem, really. But again, I think as a parent it would possibly be more of a hassle to bring the child with me than to just feed him/her at home. Especially if they’re at an age where they’re throwing tantrums. I would be way too mortified to endure that…. so basically, if it was in my self-interest to bring a child (i.e. they would behave and it was easier than ordering in somehow) then sure why not. But if it was going to inconvenience me, then no way.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Absolutely. I personally would not want to ever bring my toddler to a restaurant if I can help it, unless it is super low key and we’re all out with family who can entertain or at least distract…

      Reply
  3. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial

    My folks took us out in public to restaurants and on planes at a very young age (toddlerhood). We were constantly complimented for being such “quiet” and “good” kids by waitstaff and other patrons. If while we were surly (god forbid if we actually started crying or threw a tantrum), my mother would scream at us and threaten to take us home. And sometimes she actually did. So, we fell in line pretty quickly.

    I’d like to take my kids out to restaurants (and maybe even to fine dining once they turn 10+), but I know getting to that point might be a bit of touch and go while they are very young.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Yes, my toddler definitely doesn’t always behave well in places he doesn’t want to be in, but can be quieted with food. He is pretty well behaved but.. again, a TODDLER. Can’t sit still, wants to explore everything.

      Reply
  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    We rarely go out but if we do, we always bring JuggerBaby because we can’t get a sitter. That said, we eat super early when the restaurant first opens for dinner if it’s a fancy place and we take turns taking hir out for a walk when ze gets antsy. We never let it get to the point of screeching or hollering because who the hell wants to hear that? I think it’s important to take them places so they learn how to behave in public but some people act like that happens magically: just bring a child and manners happen. Uh no.

    Then again there are people who are disturbed by the knowledge of children existing, like one family who acted like we had the plague because we had a baby who was, even by our picky standards, being a decent dinner companion. Ze was having charming interactions with other dining neighbors (they initiated) and these people acted like they were mortally offended. Oh please. As if you sprang to life fully adult and totally trained.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I can understand adults who do not have children, not realizing how hard parents have it sometimes to just keep a kid under wraps.

      That said, there are some children who really should not be in public until better informed and others who are fine.

      Mine is in the middle depending on sleeping habits and fullness of belly.

      He is GENERALLY a quiet, good toddler but there are times where I have had to haul him up like a sack of potatoes and scram.

      Reply

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