What are five rules of etiquette that parents bringing children into restaurants should follow?
The price of dining out has risen dramatically in recent years. Many parents bring young children and infants into restaurants and some young children behave well when eating out but others scream, cry or run around while their parents ignore unruly and sometimes potentially dangerous behavior (i.e. child is running in aisle between tables and bumps into server who is carrying hot food). What five rules of etiquette should parents of young children follow to ensure that their children are not causing a disturbance?
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This seems to be a problem that's getting worse. Some parents are very respectful of others when their children are with them at restaurants, and other parents act clueless and entitled. So, a heartfelt thank-you to those parents who are polite and considerate and train your children how to behave in public. For the rest, please keep an open mind when you're reading my answer.
If your child screams or cries, take him or her to the bathroom or outside immediately.
If you and your party are seated in a booth, please be respectful of the patrons seated on the other side of the booth. Allowing your child to lean over and chat up or touch strangers is just rude. I've had my fair share of sticky hands in my hair, and it's gross.
Don't let your younger children play with toys that aren't attached to them. Kids just love to throw things. I hate having to hand you back your kid's germy toy after it landed on my table.
Don't let your child incessantly bang hard plastic toys on his or her tray. It's loud.
Please, please don't allow your child to walk or run through the restaurant. If your child needs to let off some energy, take the child outside for a few minutes.
Hey, it's tough raising kids, and I know parents get overwhelmed, but it's just basic good manners to respect the folks around you no matter where you are.
I have really young ones (2.5, 5 mths), so this is my perspective...
1. Have them sit down...standing up in their chair/booth is not only dangerous, it's distracting.
2. Bring utensils for them or ask the server nicely for plastic/appropriate utensils if needed, or to take away knives from the table.
3. Ask for a kid's cup of water, which usually comes with a lid. This will minimize on the chance for spills. Better yet, bring your own cup.
4. If your kid makes an extra big mess while eating, try to wipe up a little, unless it's all on the floor, in which case...
5. TIP BIG! This is a no-brainer...if you had the restaurant do ANY of the above, or your kid, though well behaved, made a giant mess, it's nice to leave a little extra on top of the normal gratuity you would have paid.
I agree with taking them out if they start to scream or cry. Sometimes it's very hard to be very good all of the time. We shouldn't expect that of them, at least not until they're a little older in my case. That said, we still can make it through a buffet and many other restaurants with them!
Well, my #1 "rule of etiquette" in virtually any setting (not just restaurants) is many children are simply naturally active-- and what bugs me to no end are parents who expect/demand the kids sit silently, and make a big deal of it. While I don't think kids should be running around wreaking havoc, to me it's not nearly as bothersome as parents yelling/screaming at the kids, threatening them, etc.
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