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Eating Out With Kids: To Do or Not To Do

Do you take your children out to eat at sit down (and not fast food) restaurants?

Taking children out to eat can be a challenge.

Parent Perspective

My son is 15 months and we try to take him out to week about once every week or so. This means our priorities in choosing a restaurant are different from our pre-baby days.

We look for restaurants that have a bit of noise so that if our son makes noises that are a bit too loud or, heaven forbid, starts to cry at some point, it will be less noticeable. Now that he is on solid food and eating more finger food, we look for kids menus that he might like. If we’re trying a new place, I bring backup food.

Restaurants with changing tables in the bathrooms are also key, because I have changed my son’s diaper in a number of places and precarious situations I would have preferred to avoid.

My son likes restaurants that have plenty of people, preferably children, that he can look at. He really likes the placement and crayons. If you asked him, he’d probably add a balloon to his wish list, so it’s a good thing he can’t talk yet.

What do you look for when dining with children? Do you find the challenges are worth it? Which restaurants do you find to be the most family friendly?

Diner Perspective

As a diner with or without children, people dining with children can pose a potential challenge.

My son likes to smile and wave, and if you’re a cute girl, he’ll try extra hard to get your attention and look cute. Some people enjoy waving at the little baby and others would just like their own privacy. At this point, it’s pretty easy for anyone not into babies to simply look away from my son.

On the other hand, some children run around and scream and shout in restaurants while their parents continue to chat, posing issues for other diners and for restaurant staff.

What do you think the parents’ responsibility is when dining in public with children? Is it OK to let your kids run around?

Robin August 07, 2012 at 01:37 AM
As a teacher of pre-schoolers who loves children, I do not mind waving at a happy child or hearing them chat. I do not think that they should ever run around or chase each other in a restaurant! I have three boys of my own and when they were small we took them starving to a restaurant so that they would sit and eat or we stayed home. Parents today seem less apt to stop and reprimand children then in the past. Parents need to remember that you think your kids are way cuter than the people at the next table.
Ego_Death August 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
certain restaurants in wayne cater to young families with kids... IE Christophers... I wouldn't take my 1 year old and 4 year old to georges... common sense and proper etiquette should be used.
Josh August 08, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Momof2/ We think Bertucci's in Bryn Mawr is a gold standard - free salad/drink on weekends, understand how to 'cater' to the local client base. Others should learn, particularly certain local businesses not chains. Bel italia is good- but obviously extremely casual. We bake 425 too ... Haven't tried crust yet? Funny comments here ... We all think our kids are the best, sure, but it is ALL OF THE GRANDPARENTS THAT ARE WORSE!! YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR OWN MAKING if you think about it...,!But seriously, us main line parents support a vibrant community we ALL share, so stop complaining. Why do the grumpy people take advantage of the fact that their house can sell in a few days if priced right yet curse the reason ( families trading in/up) main liners who are good people. How do you think stores like Nurture and music for kids like Mama Mac and facilities such as ucangroove.com (GROOVE) Rock n roll parties make it! Seems like when your birds fly away, You are grumpy. Stop being grumpy. We still love you, but you are grumpy, have a 20 year old pair of, well, about everything, Grumpy lumps and all .. We still love ya. Just don't try to blame the kids cause your overpriced pasta is no better than left overs. We have a solution- Offer to babysit more often, it's 15 bucks an hour, we can spend that on good wine and create more whiners to ruin your meals in nine months!! Oh, grumpy means it's been a while, how long?? Joking, but reallly, how long, dang, y'all got some rust to grease.
Shirley September 02, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Out of control kids should be out of control at home, not a public eating place unless it's a strictly for kids eatery. Period. However, a classy restaurant should have a dining area for families and one for people without kids.
John Dallas Bowers September 02, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Depending on where your dad offered his "stern" reproof, Jeannine, I'm afraid he might be at some risk of a violent reaction if he tried that today. Look at the news accounts and YouTube videos over the past several years. Many of those giving offense, rather than taking responsibility and apologizing, are going directly to assault as their response. It's a daily reminder of our societal breakdown. I think of it as poor parents raising poor parents.

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