This article was posted on the BBC website, but I know it’s a discussion that is happening all over the place. Should parents take toddlers and babies into restaurants?
My feeling on this is, generally, no. And this is an opinion I formed while I was still planning on having little ones of my own.
Kids get hungry, cranky, and whiny. They scream at inappropriate times and they don’t like to sit still. They’re children, after all, not small adults. Taking them into a restaurant (and by restaurant, I mean somewhere that doesn’t specifically cater to kids and families) isn’t appropriate, unless you can be absolutely certain your little one knows how to behave (and I think that’s too much to ask of a three-year old) or you’re willing to interrupt your own dinner to take your child outside until he or she blows through the tantrum. I’ve seen many parents bring children to resturants and deal with them appropriately. And I’ve seen plenty who haven’t. For example, letting your antsy toddler loose to run around the tables is not only rude, it’s dangerous. Having waited tables for a living at one time, I know that it’s hard enough to keep hot food and sloshy drinks upright, without having to keep an eye open for errant toddlers.
I understand that parents want a social life, need to get out, deserve a night out even, but that’s what babysitters are for. And if you’re not comfortable hiring someone to take care of your child, then really, you need to stay home.
Having children is a big, responsible job and it comes with lots of sacrifices, not least of which is having to give up on dinner-for-two in a romantic bistro. And if you were a parent who hired a sitter so you could enjoy a quiet night out, would you appreciate having to listen to the cries of someone else’s offspring?
It all comes down to basic respect and consideration – something parents should be teaching their children by example.