Let me be the first to say – I love going out for dinner. Who doesn’t? I don’t have to cook or clean up afterwards. Not to mention I can order what I want to eat, and my husband and children can do the same.
Yes. I take my kids out to eat.
I feel it is important for them to learn at an early age how to eat in public. I previously wrote a post on this very subject: How Children Should Behave in a Restaurant. But today in the news, there was a story about parents taking a baby to a fine dining establishment. My first thought was – why would you even think to bring your child to a fancy restaurant?
Yes, my kids have been to Swiss Chalet, East Side Marios, Pizza Hut, and other similar restaurants. But they are considered family friendly. My rule of thumb is that if there are booster seats, high chairs and kids menus available – then children are welcome.
But a fine dining establishment? No.
Going out to dinner (especially a fancy, high priced restaurant) is a special occasion for many. What right do you have to disturb/destory that experience for others? If your child is going to disturb others around you in any way (no matter what kind of restaurant you are at) – it is your responsibility as the parent to remove them from the restaurant. No one wants to hear your child’s tantrum/crying.
When I go out to a fancy restaurant, I pay a babysitter to watch my four young children. Because I want to enjoy my evening without the tantrums and crying. If I want to hear that noise – I can eat at home (and it would be a lot cheaper!)
So please, feel free to bring your children to family friendly restaurants. It is a great learning experience and parenting opportunity. Children need to be taught how to eat in public. But also know that the responsibility lies on your shoulders to ensure that they behave properly. If they cannot, you need to be prepared to pack up, take your dinner to go, and leave. And yes – I’ve had to do exactly that!
Don’t destroy someone else’s dinner experience!