27 July 2011

Child-Free Restaurants

I was just reading about some restaurants that have child-free policies.  I understand getting irritated if a child is misbehaving and the parents are doing nothing to redirect or discipline them, but banning all children under 6?  My siblings, cousins and I grew up going to nice restaurants and a country club with my grandparents.  I knew that when we were there, we were expected to be quiet and not run around and to use good manners.  I know I was able to do that before the age of 6.  Sure, sometimes there were incidents, like when one of my cousins set a straw (I think) on fire with the candle, but we were in a private room that time, so we weren't disturbing anyone.

I have similar high expectations of my children when we're out.  I don't expect them to be perfect, but I do expect that they'll be quiet and not run about.  When we went to London last year, my parents took Kieran out to eat without me, and they raved about how well he did.

I think it comes down to being considerate.  I try to make sure that my children and I are considerate of those around us, and so I teach my children what is appropriate at restaurants or cinemas or wherever else we are.  I do think others also need to be understanding of the fact that sometimes a child might be a little noisy, but that doesn't mean the parents are ignoring the child.  Really, I think it's sad if we don't see and hear children, for how will our society continue without children?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. High five for banning kids! I am a pediatric nurse and a mom, NOT A MONSTER. It seems that Because parents are selfish and refuse to go without, the rest of us all have to suffer. Employ a babysitter. If you have a noisy kid - train him to be still or do not take him out. It's just rude to expect adults to put up with your child's shortcomings! Remember, we are paying money for a relaxing experience, not to hear your kid whine, fidget or just plain misbehave. LEAVE THEM AT HOME!!!

  3. I'm absolutely not saying that kids should be able to act wild or be disrespectful when out. Believe me, I also can get irritated if parents aren't addressing a screaming child, though I try to give the benefit of the doubt if I can.

    As I said, I grew up going to nice restaurants and the symphony from a very young age, and I knew how to act. I expect the same from my kids. It's rare that I go out, but when I do, at least one child comes along because I'm breastfeeding. My children know my expectations, and we review those expectations before we arrive at our destination. They know there will be consequences if they misbehave, and they also know they have the option of not going if they don't want (if this is a possibility). If they couldn't behave, I wouldn't take them to that location. I see no point in banning them when they can follow these expectations.

    At the same time, I do not subscribe to the "children shouldn't be heard" mentality that many seem to do (not saying you are one of those). I do think that a lot of the child-free things are rather selfish, to be honest. And yes, it can be selfish to take the child along if you know the child cannot behave appropriately, but banning isn't the answer because the child himself isn't the problem.