Should kids be banned from restaurants?

It's normally pretty warm and fuzzy in the iVillage office ... but every now and then we disagree on a hot topic. Last week it was about how kids behave in restaurants. And so we figured, why not share our views and see where YOU stand?  (PS. We're a bit nervous about the "Mummy wars" title, as it's such an inflammatory term - make sure to let us know if you think another title would be more appropriate.)

Jo says...

I was so angry when I read about a new system designed to highlight restaurants that are child friendly. Apparently these restaurants will have special stickers on their exterior so families know that they are welcome.

Are you kidding me?

ALL restaurants should be child friendly and I reserve the right to take my children wherever I want. They are my children. They aren’t diseased rodents. I find it offensive that people say children put them off their dinner. In response to that I’d say, the food can’t be that great then.

It’s so hard to find the time to eat out with my family. When we do go out, we like to eat somewhere special. I shouldn’t have to stick to cheap restaurants and fast food franchises. I want my children to experience fine dining too and I want to experience it with them.

When my children and I dine out together I do my best to keep them happy, but if restaurant staff make us wait more than 30 minutes for our meals then they might start to become a little rowdy. By then they are hungry and no longer want to do their colouring-in or whatever activity we’ve brought along to entertain them.


We also don’t want to be seated in one specific section of the restaurant. We should be able to sit wherever we want.

If other diners have a problem with my children being there, THEY can leave.


Alana says...

Since they've been little, I've taken my kids to restaurants and cafes. And I've taught them the way I expect them to behave in public. After all, people are there to enjoy themselves, not to struggle to be heard over wailing kids or being bumped by hype toddlers as they career through the room.

So it makes me REALLY cross when other parents don't show the same courtesy.

I seethe when I see little kids running around, getting under the feet of waiters carrying hot food and drinks. It's so dangerous. Not to mention hugely annoying for the other diners.

Sure, kids should be allowed to eat out, but only if they stay in their seats and keep the noise down.

As for restaurants making kids waiting too long for their meals, that's where I think stickers highlighting that a place is "child-friendly" are a brilliant idea. You'd expect a restaurant displaying that message to get the food out fast.


Otherwise, parents need to be more realistic about where they take their kids - don't drag them somewhere that requires them to sit still for too long. Pick somewhere with a play area or a fast turnover. That's why I often head to yum cha with my kids - within seconds of sitting down there's a steamer basket of prawn dumplings sitting in front of our seven-year-old.

And less than an hour later we're out the door again. Perfect.


Kahla (child-free former waitress) says...

If I had a dollar for every time I almost spilled a pot of boiling hot tea on a child running through my legs, I'd have more money than I ever earned during my waitressing career. I don't have a problem with kids in restaurants - but I do have a problem when kids are allowed to treat the cafe like their playground by frolicking/climbing/crawling as they please. It's not only frustrating for the wait staff who are trying to run a business and deliver meals in a timely fashion, but it's also incredibly risky. I shouldn't have to spell this out, but please note: hot coffees, sharp cutlery, ceramic plates, etc. do not mix with running children.

Oh, and to the parents who pour sachets of sugar onto cafe tables for their bubs to draw pictures in: please stop doing that.

Over to you - Team Jo or Team Alana on the topic of kids in restaurants?