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No Kids Allowed October 23, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, People.

In elegant, upscale restaurants, hushed tones and serenity are part and parcel of the package.  Children should be excluded from venues like this until they are old enough to appreciate the ambiance.

Some will argue for inclusion via rhetorical question, “if they don’t have places to practice, how will they learn what is expected in public places?”

That’s a specious argument. 

Kids can learn to eat, behave, and interact in all sorts of venues ~ church, school, museums, family friendly restaurants, shopping malls, barns, on picnics, at grandma’s house, etc.  

Children lacking in table manners need not be admitted to fine dining establishments to learn not to chew with their mouths open.  ;)

Informal, family friendly restaurants cater to kids.  They are the perfect training ground for children learning not to blow bubbles into their milk ~ just as kindergarten is a good training ground for first grade. 

When kids are well-behaved enough not to detract from the ambiance of a particular venue, they are old enough to be admitted.  Until then, they should be denied access.

Of course, using behavior as a benchmark means that some adults will, of necessity, be excluded too! 

I can live with that!  :lol:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  WP Weekly Writing Challenge ~ Mind the Gap * What do you think about kids in adult-oriented places? (Aawwa) * “There are children here somewhere . . . I can smell them. . .” (Cultural Muse) * Kids in Restaurants ~ A Server’s Point of View (Good Morning Joe) * Are Weddings a Child Free Zone (Talk About Cheesecake) * Freedom v. Safety (Resident Alien ~ Being Dutch in America) * These Are My People (Imperfect Happiness) * Mind the Gap ~ Who Sets The Table? (iRuniBreathe) * I Blame The Parents (Talk About Cheesecake)


1. Katie - October 23, 2012

Love this! I couldn’t agree more. We need to start a movement. 😉

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Consider it started, Katie! 😉

nrhatch - November 7, 2012

I knew you looked familiar when I read your FP post . . . I’m glad I now know how and where we first met! 😀

Katie - November 7, 2012

Aha! That’s who you are!

nrhatch - November 7, 2012

Yup . . . here I is. 😀

And YOU are the star of my latest post. It is so nice to see someone who is as RIGHT as me! 😉

2. colonialist - October 23, 2012

I do so agree! Also, if people take small kids to movies or live shows (not aimed at kids) they should be prepared to evacuate as soon as kid misbehaves. Even such evacuation is an inconvenience the audience (and cast in live shows) can do without, but it is better than these inconsiderate oafs who try and calm the kids for half the duration of the show.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Yes!!! The more parents have paid to attend whatever it is they are attending, the more committed they may be to staying put even with a squalling infant.

BUT others have also paid a pretty penny to be there and it should be the disruptive element that leaves, not vice versa.

3. suzicate - October 23, 2012

Yes, yes, yes! I encountered a gentleman carrying a screaming child out of the grocery store (i’d been hearing the shrieking for about five minutes and the tension in my neck was rapidly growing!) and I overheard him tell her that they were leaving because she was not behaving. I wanted to go up and thank him…so many times I hear the scream throughout the grocery store until the parent gives in to what the child request…

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Good for him for vacating the premises AND using it as a “teaching moment.” I do commisserate with parents who are stuck buying essentials with a screaming toddler in tow.

I often try to distract the tiny tot so mom or dad can get what they need and leave. Sometimes I make them laugh (which stops their belly~aching). Sometimes my efforts to amuse just scare them into silence. 😯

4. katecrimmins - October 23, 2012

Couldn’t agree more! There is nothing more annoying than spending $$$ on a nice dinner to have it ruined by an undisciplined child at the next table. I have asked to be moved because of this.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

We tend toward family friendly restaurants because they’re often more relaxed and fun for us . . . we like kids, in small doses. 😉

BUT, if we get dressed up to go out to a fancy restaurant, I don’t want an unruly child throwing peas (or worse) at me in the throes of a tantrum. 🙄

5. 2e0mca - October 23, 2012

Children lacking in table manners need not be admitted to fine dining establishments to learn not to chew with their mouths open… Love that Nancy 😉

My son has been enjoying (I use the word a bit loosely) fine restauants since he was 5! He loves going ot our local Indian restaurant – plug coming – Rani in Finchley Central. He enjoys pizza at – another Plug – L’Artista in Golders Green. These are restaurants that understand that families are an important part of dining… We’ve also eaten in very posh restaurants where the mode of Dad’s dress was probably more concerning for the restaurant than the small person present 😉

I find people who complain about the noise that a child is making very churlish – presumably they were never children themselves 😦 Or did they never get upset and have tantrums? It’s amazing how intolerant we can be once we become adults 😦 No Ball Games Allowed…

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Ha ha! The day will arrive when your well-behaved son gets seated and you get turned away for not being properly attired. That’ll teach ya! 😉

As an only child with two parents, your son probably has better table manners than the four kids in the cartoon. When there are more kids than parents, parents often miss the misbehavior. In contrast, an only child often has not just one but two sets of eyes on him . . . and no other kids to egg him on.

2e0mca - October 23, 2012

Cool answer Nancy but the real issue is the persons who decide that a restaurant is their own and should therefore be free of annoying kids – so please, not the ‘only child with 2 parents’ excuse, that’s a cop out to excuse those who think they have a personal right to a restaurant.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Depends on the restaurant and the extent of the disruption, Martin. It’s not unfair for patrons of an upscale establishment to expect some decorum from everybody in attendance.

If a child is misbehaving and detracting from everyone else’s enjoyment of the meal, the parent should remove the child from the premises. Pronto.

2e0mca - October 23, 2012

The issue for me was that you chose the ‘only child with two parents route’ to put down what I had to say about the family situation. I find the behaviour of many people who go to ‘smart’ restauants offensive. They feel that they have a personal right to exclude others who aren’t quite of the right class. I don’t know if this is the same in the US but that’s the way it is here.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

I wasn’t trying to “put down” what you had to say about the family situation, Martin.

I was merely trying to differentiate between the KIDS in the cartoon (who clearly do NOT belong in an upscale dining establishment) and your, presumably, much better behaved son.

I’ll leave class issues and elitism for another day. 😉

ericjbaker - October 23, 2012

Jeez, Hatch. You have a way of p—ing people off sometimes.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

It’s a not-so-hidden talent. 😉

But I believe, in this instance, it was an innocent miscommunication between what I thought I said and what Martin thought he heard.

2e0mca - October 24, 2012

I’d agree with the Innocent Miscommunication 🙂 Sorry Nancy, you picked a ‘raw nerve subject 😉

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

Gotcha! I caught a hint of “raw nerve” in your third comment and realized we were looking at the issue from different angles ~ which precipitated the unexpected “derailment.” 😉

Glad we’re “back on track.” Thanks, Martin.

6. Andra Watkins - October 23, 2012

I don’t get so upset about the kids making noise in places like that. What drives me insane is the parents who don’t do anything about it, who then look at me like I’m a witch for expecting them to leave.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

I agree. I don’t blame the kids at all. Ever. Having been a child myself, I’m certain they had NO CHOICE in selecting the restaurant. If they picked it, they would be behaving.

Nope. It’s the parents responsibility to select appropriate venues for their children. And, if they don’t, they should be asked to leave.

Marie - October 23, 2012

You’re right. You can’t be mad at kids for being kids. They are young and have not developed. Some people seem to blame the kids, like they’re out of control! That’s pretty harsh..

7. Hudson Howl - October 23, 2012

Don’t dine out much. For the most most children in the swanky establishments seem obie kaybie -but it is different in Canada then other countries. Besides, I actually prefer cooking at home.

There is the sign you see hanging in sea food restaurants, ‘UNRULY CHILDREN SHALL BE USED AS SHARK BAIT’, if only.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

This isn’t an issue that impacts us much these days. I prefer relaxed and casual eateries over swanky establishments . . . and we eat at home more often than we eat out.

BUT if we were celebrating a milestone anniversary or birthday in an upscale restaurant . . . I don’t want unruly patrons (of any age) at the adjoining table.

I ADORE signs like that! A few others I’ve seen:

* Unattended children will be sold.
* Unattended children will be given espresso and FREE kitten.

8. Don - October 23, 2012

Agree with you Nancy. There’s nothing more annoying than sitting in a restaurant with great ambience and having children run around and generally making a noise.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

I keep picturing someone about to propose marriage . . . the waiter is on the way over with a bottle of bubbly . . . the candlelight is just so . . . the intended’s eyes are aglow . . . the music is playing soft and low . . .


Don - October 24, 2012

I have seen a similar thing actually happen. It was rather tragic although people tried to cover it up with a bit of hesitant laughter.

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

The after-glow went like this:

He: “So . . . you’ll marry me?”
She: “Yes. But no kids. Agreed?”

They both glance over at the purple-faced being still spewing tears from a booster seat 10 feet away.

He: AGREED! :mrgreen:

9. Children in adult-oriented places: a collection of [random] thoughts! « 3rdculturechildren - October 23, 2012

[…] Idiots are Ageless « No Kids Allowed « Spirit Lights The Way […]

10. Tom (Aquatom1968) - October 23, 2012

Have you noticed that the unruly ones are nearly always on the table next to yours? Or is that just me?

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Bwahaha . . . it’s a conspiracy, Tom!
Tag! You’re IT!

We walked into a relatively uncrowded restaurant once and the hostess started to seat us next to a table with 6-8 kids, one crying.

I smiled and said, “We’d prefer another table . . . way over there.” 😀

Tom (Aquatom1968) - October 23, 2012

“Do you have another table next door?” 😉

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Excellent! I’ll try that one next time. 😀

11. kateshrewsday - October 23, 2012

Good call, Nancy. We and the kids wouldn’t want to be anywhere we did not feel comfortable and relaxed, anyway.

Though Maddie did come to the Palm Room at the Langham Hotel for afternoon tea when she was two…..she kept her mouth closed, when she chewed her scone, though 😀

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Maddie is an “old soul,” Kate ~ ahead of her contemporaries in decorum and manners. I would never suspect her of blowing bubbles into her milk . . . or giggling into her tea. 😉

Most “posh places” are relaxed enough at lunch, brunch, or tea (if they are open) to allow for families to pop in and dine without hostile stares and daggers keeping them company.

One very nice restaurant on the island covers its tablecloths with butcher paper at lunch . . . so wee ones can color while waiting for their food to arrive. They wait until dinner to dim the lights and light the candles to create “atmosphere.”

12. Maggie - October 23, 2012

I agree. There are tons of family-friendly restaurants you can take your kids to. If you want to go to a fancy restaurant, get a babysitter.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

In the highly scientific poll conducted by WP, more than 60% of those casting votes agreed with the statement:

“Part of why I go to a nice restaurant is for the ambiance and to spend time with other adults. Get a baby-sitter.” 61.92% (200 votes)

Less than 40% voted for the other option:

“Kids are people too. They should be welcome where an adult is welcome.” 38.08% (123 votes)

Of course, conspiracy theorists contend that babysitters stuffed the ballot box, skewing the vote! 😀

13. ericjbaker - October 23, 2012

Kids behave when they are having fun or are focused on something… at the beach, at a child-friendly museum, etc. Kids misbehave at restaurants because they are bored. It’s a place for adults. Leave them at home.

Even if you don’t care about the other diners, why would you want to ruin your own evening by arguing with your children and begging them to behave???

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Yes! Exactly. Clearly the parents on the right (who hired a babysitter) are happier and less frazzled than the parents on the left (who should have left their kids at home). 😀

14. Marie - October 23, 2012

Good post! You’re right, fine dining establishments are not the best place to introduce your children to table manners. What I find unfortunate is that if children are well behaved and walk into a restaurant like that, people will automatically assume that the child will be an “annoyance”. I guess you can’t help what people assume though….

But, you should see some of these kids sometimes! I’m amazed at how quiet they are, even if they only have a coloring book. I guess then it’s really up to the parents to know their kid enough to say “No, I’m not taking my kid to a restaurant” or to know them enough to trust that they’ll be well behaved.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

I agree. Parents should make the decision based on the child’s level of development. As you point out in your post, if a child can’t stay seated while everyone is eating . . . s/he may end up tripping up a waiter and causing a catastrophe.

Marie - October 23, 2012

Well said! “Parents should make the decision based on the child’s level of development”.

Unfortunately, you can sense that some parents aren’t quite in tune with that, or they don’t care. Maybe they have no choice but to ignore that fact that “little Timmy” can’t sit still because they obligated to go to that “50th Birthday Dinner”. *sigh*

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Some parents are clueless. 😉

15. judithhb - October 23, 2012

Well said Nancy. We were at a restaurant recently where two littlies behaved so badly that I was tempted to smack them or their parents (I’m still not sure which) and nobody did anything about them. The manager did come over to speak to us as he could see that we were disturbed, but NOBODY spoke to those parents.

Marie - October 23, 2012

I think as a manager of a restaurant (a public place) it would be difficult to approach the subject without offending the family. It seems like if they say something to the family, they’ll be offended and if you don’t then the customer who is disturbed will be offended. It’s will probably be a lose lose situation for the restaurant.

It becomes a really touchy subject since it is a public area. Yes, of course there are limits, but should people be going up to strangers and pretty much telling them how they should be raising their kids?

judithhb - October 23, 2012

Of course you are right Marie. It would be very difficult for the manager to speak to the parents without upsetting them.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

I’m glad the manager came over to speak with you, Judith. Sounds like he should have spoken with the parents too.

If the parents get offended and choose not to return to the restaurant with kids in tow . . . that might be a win~win for all concerned. Especially for the kids. 😀

My parents went out to eat without us on a regular basis. We stayed home and played. They got dressed up and went out for some adult conversation. We loved it. They loved it.

16. Marie - October 23, 2012

I’m curious….there are bars for people over a certain age (depending on where you live)…why are there no restaurants for people over a certain age? How about restobars?

suzicate - October 23, 2012

Restobars I love this idea!

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

*clink* 😀

17. sufilight - October 23, 2012

When I visited New York two years ago, my girlfriend and I agreed to meet at a restaurant to catch up. She brought her 5 or 6 year granddaughter who is cute, but constantly interrupted our conversation, touched my food with her little hands, spilled the drink and wouldn’t keep still. When we rode the train, she kept running back and forth in the aisle. LOL. As for taking children to upscale restaurants, parents should use their judgment.

nrhatch - October 23, 2012

Yup. I’ve had meals like that with tiny tots in tow ~ hard to catch up with little ears present.

I tend to abandon attempts at adult conversation and just talk to the child . . . they’re usually quite entertaining.

But if a friend wanted to meet me at an expensive restaurant AND bring their young kids, I’d suggest a more casual eatery.

18. jannatwrites - October 24, 2012

Hehehe…I imagine that some adults would have to skip the fine dining, as you mentioned 🙂

We’ve only been a few times to an elegant restaurant. We went without the kids for several reasons:
1) They don’t have kids menus with crayons
2) We can’t afford to dine well for four
3) Someone who thinks McDonald’s has the best food on earth couldn’t possibly enjoy a $30 steak!

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

Good for you! As kids, we happily stayed home with a sitter when mom and dad went out to eat at fancy French restaurants serving frog’s legs, escargot, and other nasty bits. :mrgreen:

At the time, McDonald’s was our kind of place . . . a hap hap happy place . . . a clean and snappy place . . .

19. sweetdaysundertheoaks - October 24, 2012

Well I agree. Pretty simple.. 🙂

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

It is, right? I just don’t get why some people don’t get it. 😉

20. sweetdaysundertheoaks - October 24, 2012

I was going to say something about ADULTS on cells in restaurants who feel like they have to talk about every little thing and talk about it loudly but I didn’t want to start a whole other something.. 🙂 But that is incredibly annoying too and has ruined many meals when we have eaten out.

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

Ooh . . . OBNOXIOUS! That would be a great topic for WP to toss out for the Mind the Gap challenge, Pix. :mrgreen:

sweetdaysundertheoaks - October 24, 2012

I guess it is still fresh in my mind. We went out in September for my birthday and through the whole meal a woman behind me was on her cell talking about a friend of hers and her medical ailments. I wanted to get up and yank the phone out of her hand. I think it was about the only time I would have been a fan of texting.

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

Sadly, some people don’t have the sense (or manners) they was born with . . . they are oblivious to all but their own immediate needs and desires. 🙄

After doing this challenge, I shall be on the look out for all sorts of bad and boorish behavior when next we eat out. I’ll report back! 😯

21. Booksphotographsandartwork - October 24, 2012

I totally agree with you Nancy. And there are some places that kids just don’t need to go. Fine dinning is one of them. Very often they don’t even belong in not so fine dinning establisments. If a child can not sit still, stay in a chair and eat without screaming then it doens’t need to be in a resturant at all. That is just commen sense, something very lacking in many people today.

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

You’ve got a point . . . if the child in question is going to be miserable, why torture him or her by dragging them along?

22. Pocket Perspectives - October 24, 2012

woo… this subject seems to be a bit like stirring up a hornets nest… lots of people have had lots of enjoyable dinners disrupted! Some people seem to be oblivious, or just don’t care, about their kids’ impact on others.

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

Now that I know it’s not just me . . . I may be more particular about where I agree to sit in the future. 😉

“Hi. We’d like a table for 2 . . . in the Kid Free Zone. Thanks.”

23. Barb - October 24, 2012

I’m not sure why…as I get older, the sound of screaming children bothers me more. Used to be I didn’t notice it at all until the tone took on a life and death pitch. I’m glad to know it’s not just me.

nrhatch - October 24, 2012

I love to listen to children laughing . . . but when they are crying, I would rather remove myself from the immediate vicinity. 😀

24. Perfecting Motherhood - October 25, 2012

Well, I know some adults that are even more obnoxious in public than kids can be, especially when there’s alcohol involved!

I only take my kids to kid-friendly places because what’s the point of them getting bored to death? They’re getting better as they get older but I’ve never hesitated taking them to another room or outside if they screwed around. I found there are two magical spells that work on kids: keep them fed and keep them occupied.

nrhatch - October 25, 2012

Exactly! Even when they are being loud and stubborn and obstinate, kids can be rather amusing. With adults, that is seldom the case. :mrgreen:

As you note . . . they get better as they get older. There’s no rush. We can wait for them to unfold before exposing them to situations that are beyound their present capabilities.

25. ryoko861 - October 25, 2012

From the amount of comments, I can tell we’ve all experienced those “annoying children” at restaurants and the unconcerned parents. Why people feel they need to bring their kids to a restaurant that really isn’t kid friendly always amazed me. And godforbid you approach them. They don’t care. I always taught my kids to behave, brought crayons, small books or something to do while they waited for their meals whenever we went out (how many paper place mats were scribbled on?!!). Or when they were really little, take them away from the dining room until they settled down. It’s just common sense and courtesy. Like I said though, some just don’t care.

nrhatch - October 25, 2012

I expect the problem stems, in large part, to the ME Mentality we’ve adopted in recent years:

* What’s in it for ME?
* Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine!
* Look at ME!
* I, Me, Me, Mine!

Some are so focused on their immediate wants and desires that they become oblivious to their uncaring impact on those around them. 🙄

Perhaps the pendulum has swung as far as it can in that direction and is about to rebound and riccochet? One can only hope.

26. bluebee - October 25, 2012

,Ooh, stir it up, Nancy! Haha. I don’t agree with a blanket ban on children in fine dining establishments. My feeling is that it should be at the discretion of an establishment’s management as to whether they admit children under the age of 12 or not and then people can choose whether they want to go there or not. Many of the holiday resorts here advertise on this basis. Badly behaved people of all ages is a messy reality we have to deal with daily, and I don’t see why parents who instill good manners in their children should be excluded from having a choice.

nrhatch - October 25, 2012

I agree with you ~ we don’t need a blanket ban that excludes children with good manners. When kids are well-behaved enough not to detract from the ambiance of a particular venue, they are old enough to be admitted.

27. eof737 - October 28, 2012

“Children lacking in table manners need not be admitted to fine dining establishments to learn not to chew with their mouths open.” Good point. We must start it all at home or else all bets on good behavior are off. When kids get the exposure with the preparation/training, the meltdowns are few and far between… My twins ate out/went on other outings with us, but we gauged the temp to make sure they were up for it… Did we miss the mark sometimes? Sure, but not in a restaurant. 😉

nrhatch - October 28, 2012

That’s the key! We don’t expect kids to run a marathon before learning to crawl and later to walk. We don’t toss them in the deep end of a swimming pool without first teaching them to splash around in the baby pool. Etc.

There is no need to rush it. Table manners at home, then at Grandma’s, then friends, then family friendly restaurants . . . and, when they’ve graduated -> Fine Dining! 😀

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