To get pissed off at children running around in restaurants?

(1000 Posts)
CelticPixie Sun 07-Apr-13 20:29:29

We went out for lunch today and there was a large group sat behind us. It was obviously a family celebration with parents, grandparents, kids etc. A little boy from the group who must have been around two was running around our part of the restaurant screaming and shouting and getting under the feet of waiting staff carrying hot food etc. He also kept approaching people at other tables and kept asking them if they were having their dinner and what they were having. At no point did his parents do anything to stop him and they just kept on smiling at him, but it was obvious that he was getting on everyone else's nerves.

Its a family friendly place and there were lots of other small children in there but he was the only one running about and being a nuisance. I will NOT allow my DDs to run about and disrupt others people's meals and it pisses me off that other people have so little consideration for anyone but themselves. If mine wants to go to the loo one of us takes them, if they are bored we take them out to the play area. It's really not hard is it?

dandelionmoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:31:59

YANBU but I do think it's a shame he was getting on people's nerves - it should have been the parents.

My parents let us behave in a similar fashion and it's horrible for the child as well; I have a lot of childhood memories that make me blush looking back.

VelvetSpoon Sun 07-Apr-13 20:32:23


If people want their kids to run around everywhere take them to a soft play centre or McDonalds, not to a proper restaurant.

As a child I was always expected to sit quietly in an 'adult' space like a restaurant, and did so. My own DC were terrible at sitting still when they were little, hence we avoided meals out until they were able to behave sensibly.

CelticPixie Sun 07-Apr-13 20:37:27

My own brother was a little shit when he was younger so we never ever went anywhere remotely nice. We did got to a place on holiday once, ordered our food and then he kicked off so we upped and left. My mum was horrified at being "shown up in public", but these days it seems no one cares anymore.

MummytoKatie Sun 07-Apr-13 20:44:02

It drives me nuts. Not least because on walking to the loo with dd (just 3) and explaining to her how she must hold my hand the whole time or someone might crash into her who has hot food it then makes it so much harder. Not least because she is at the "why" stage and I can't really reply "because those children have parents who either have no common sense, no manners or don't care if their child gets third degree burns".

HollyBerryBush Sun 07-Apr-13 20:47:22

I'll be shot but people generally know which restaurants are child friendly and those that cater for adults only.

Give me Charlie Chalks (does that still exist?) or the local carvery with ball pit and that's fine.

However, if I were going out for a proper meal - I wouldn't even set foot in a place that had a highchair on view.

There is a time and a place.

He also kept approaching people at other tables and kept asking them if they were having their dinner and what they were having

I don't however have any problem with another human interacting with another human and instigating conversation. How else do you learn social niceties?

fieldfare Sun 07-Apr-13 20:48:25

Yanbu at all! It's something that really irritates me.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 07-Apr-13 20:49:44

but people do care... you said he was the only one doing it... presumably that means all the rest were tolerably well behaved.

ds would have been like this given the chance. which is why we went to the pub with the soft play and had a booster seat with straps.

ENormaSnob Sun 07-Apr-13 20:51:37


Floggingmolly Sun 07-Apr-13 20:52:50

Are you joking, Holly? I don't want someone else's toddler in my face when I'm out for dinner; it's not my job to teach someone else's children social niceties hmm.
That child doesn't sound like he'll learn much from his parents anyway, why should complete strangers pick up the slack?

olivertheoctopus Sun 07-Apr-13 20:53:29

YANBU. I'd be mortified if my 2yo was doing that. He can be a pain in restaurants running around but we either take turns to take him out to run around or distract him with the iPad or ensure that I have a bagful of cars for him to run up and down the table.

BlackeyedSusan Sun 07-Apr-13 20:53:39

to add... h wanted to go to a posh restaurant where food costed £30 a meal and took 3 hours with a 2 year old who it turns out has asd.... and thought I was unreasonable for insisting on said pub with soft play!

mumofweeboys Sun 07-Apr-13 20:54:02

Mine arnt allowed to get out of seats, we take crayons, jigsaws ect to keep them amused. Iv been in restuarants where waiting staff have told parents they have to keep their kids in their seats as its dangerous for them to run about

BlackMaryJanes Sun 07-Apr-13 20:54:46

YANBU I always ensure I give passive-aggressive evils to the parents.

chandellina Sun 07-Apr-13 20:54:46

Yanbu, I try to be so vigilant but dh is very relaxed, hence our 16 month old running around staff and ducking behind the counter at the cafe where we had lunch today, while I dealt with our other child.

Someone must pay attention but I'd probably give the benefit of the doubt that there was a seething parent who was letting her/his partner take the flack!

CloudsAndTrees Sun 07-Apr-13 20:55:09


It is incredibly annoying to be disturbed by other people's children in areas of restaurants that they simply shouldn't be in.

It makes no difference if its a family friendly chain restaurant or if it's somewhere that would never provide a high chair. Manners apply everywhere,


I was in a cafe once and was walking to a table with a tray of hot food and drinks when a small child bumped into me as she was running around. Of course thing fell off the tray and nearly hit the girl. Her parents then started shouting at me that I should have been looking where I was going, and I was lucky she was ok or I'd have gotten my block knocked off.

SophiaTheFirst Sun 07-Apr-13 20:57:58

I hate it when other parents let their DC run around in restaurants, it makes mine want to do it too and makes my life harder explaining that they have to stay sat at the table nicely.

Even if we are at a soft play place or somewhere 'kiddie' I still expect them to sit on their bottoms properly, facing the right way, sat up properly. Only if the table is really high will I let them be on their knees so they can reach their food (mean mummy, I know).

You can't let them run about in one cafe and then expect them to understand that in another restaurant they have to sit nicely, they won't understand the difference.

The worst is when you are out with another family, all on the same table, and they let their DC run about, my DC think I am so mean and the parents think I am strict/weird/judging them when I'm saying 'yes, I know XXX's mummy is letting her run about, but that doesn't mean you can, mummy said no'. It seems so unfair to them and it makes me a bit mad!

Earlybird Sun 07-Apr-13 20:59:39

I wonder why the restaurant manager didn't intervene, unless:
- he/she thought no one minded
- it is a family restaurant where that sort of behaviour is tolerated

Ponyo73 Sun 07-Apr-13 20:59:52

Yanbu. It's so bloody annoying and everyone with a bit of sense will agree.The sad thing is there are a lot of ignorant people out there and you just have to ignore them and use them as an example to you re DC. I don' t mean to sound judgemental but don't let them even come into your life and existence.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 07-Apr-13 21:02:42

It can be hard to keep a toddler quiet and polite. Last time we took dd out to a restaurant (she's 2) she pointed at every customer in the place and asked shouted "what's that lady called" "what's that man called"

Bit embarrassing and I'm not sure how to stop it happening again. She is not allowed to run round though, I used to be a waitress small children and hot drinks are a bad combination

shock at what happened to coldwinter

CelticPixie Sun 07-Apr-13 21:02:45

ColdWinterNights, that's just it isn't it? The people who let their kids run riot would probably be the first to go apeshit if a waitress spilled scalding hot soup all over their precious little darling.

ChaoticTranquility Sun 07-Apr-13 21:03:06


holidaysarenice Sun 07-Apr-13 21:04:32

Ask the restaurant to ask his parents to sit him down/keep him near.

they will be too afraid of offending you not to.
they can also use the idea that it is dangerous with hot food.

as a waitress years ago at a wedding we asked a child to sit down, hot trays of food. mother kicked off, 'im paying/my child is special' type stuff. Child ran into waitress, (not harmed) tray of soup goes over THE BRIDE! = MASSIVE KICK UP by bride and childs mother.

Waitress = laughing hard.

cupcake78 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:05:18

Yanbu! If children get bored and need to run around then an adult should take them outside to blow off steam otherwise the child sits on a seat and plays/joins in.

HollyBerryBush Sun 07-Apr-13 21:05:47

* I don't want someone else's toddler in my face when I'm out for dinner; it's not my job to teach someone else's children social niceties*

Would you tell a stranger in a bar to eff off if he asked you the time of day?

Jesus, no wonder society has gone to hell in a hand cart.

And you will note, in my post I said : I don't however have any problem with another human interacting with another human and instigating conversation.

I said nothing about running round and getting in peoples faces.

MintyyAeroEgg Sun 07-Apr-13 21:08:57


Not so long ago I was sat with my older dc in a restaurant and our table was near the door.

There was a couple with their pfb toddler sitting at the extreme opposite end of this restaurant.

They were quite happy to watch him run the entire length of the restaurant from there and open the door! He only needed to run another 3 feet across the pavement and he would have been in the traffic on a main road.

I had to get up from my seat and bring him back from the pavement at least 3 times before one of his smiling mc parents actually got up off their backsides and put him back in his High Chair.

Stupid stupid people!

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 07-Apr-13 21:09:44

YADNBU. Not only is it unpleasant, it's negligent and dangerous.angry

ChaoticTranquility Sun 07-Apr-13 21:10:15

WhenSheWasBad your DD wouldn't bother me. I don't expect children to be silent, it's the running around that bothers me.

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 07-Apr-13 21:11:37

Thing is Holly you're not actually teaching appropriate social skills if you let your kids run up to other peoples tables when they're eating. Adults don't do that because it's inappropriate and not a time for making friends uninvited.

A couple of our friends do this letting the kids wander and tbh I'm on edge waiting for it to end in tears, it's fine if there's a space set up for the kids to play, but when they're just letting them totter up and down the aisles it's just a waiting game till someone knocks them over or something gets spilled.

TwoBoiledEggs Sun 07-Apr-13 21:19:36

YANBU in general however I do think back to a lunch out with friends of ours just after our child had died. It may have looked like a "family celebration" to other people in the restaurant. There was a HELL of a lot of champagne flowing. However, it was anything but. And the 3 small children there did end up underneath a table pelting bread rolls at each other by the end. And quite frankly, we let them! It was a posh enough restaurant and we left a huge tip. And fwiw, all this children are now beautifully polite and cosmopolitan Tweens who order moules and chat about literature over lunch.
So, for this alone. I always give people a break!

Sianilaa Sun 07-Apr-13 21:20:01

YANBU. At all!

We take our kids out to eat a lot, it's been hard work at times and we've often got up and left and been embarrassed. But now at 5 and almost 4, they behave pretty well in restaurants. I don't allow them to run around, it's not on - disturbing other people and potentially knocking into waiters. It annoys me a lot when I have to explain why they're not allowed to run around screaming when other families let their kids run riot.

JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 07-Apr-13 21:20:25


I'm ex restaurant management, in a 'family' establishment, and I always asked parents to keep their children seated.

Would they let their children run around their kitchen whilst they balanced hot pans, plates, glasses and wine bottles in two hands, trying to get them to the table?


JambalayaCodfishPie Sun 07-Apr-13 21:22:43

And, my children have been dining out from a few months old. Sitting AT the table. Because of that they know how to behave, and enjoy meals out.

HollyBerryBush Sun 07-Apr-13 21:23:59

Thing is Holly you're not actually teaching appropriate social skills if you let your kids run up to other peoples tables when they're eating

Mine didn't run about. had a habit of sitting with a face cupped in his hands and saying things to the next table like "hello! Are your sausages nice?" - there is the difference - that is interaction. Although I'm sure you might have called him a precocious &^%$ and told him to feck off as he was spoiling your meal.

No where did I ever say anything about 'running about'

catgirl1976 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:24:22


It's dangerous apart from anything else with hot food being carried around

Patchouli Sun 07-Apr-13 21:25:19

They never run around their own table though do they?
Just all the other tables. And if they do hang around their own table they get told to move away. So they're bothering all the rest of us while the adults who are supposed to be supervising these children carry on their chatting.
(In my recent experience of this anyway) angry

Binkybix Sun 07-Apr-13 21:29:00

Holly, I would also find that annoying if I was trying to enjoy a meal. Not the child's fault, but I would expect the parents to step in and gently explain that we let people have their meals in peace. Again, it's not teaching normal adult interaction because you'd think an adult doing tht was pretty odd.

babyinarms Sun 07-Apr-13 21:30:39

yanbu! we all have responsibility to entertain our own kids and keep them under control when out dining! those people obviously thought it was cute but I would be very irritated with the parents for not calling their child back!

Iamsparklyknickers Sun 07-Apr-13 21:31:53

I meant 'you' in a more general sense as that was the aspect of the OP you appeared to be agreeing with since you quoted it.

I had absolutely no idea what you let your kids do, rest assured I don't go around seething because a child dares to utter a word at me although I would raise an eyebrow if the parents looked on from the other side of the resturant as their child wandered around random tables striking up conversations.

GrowSomeCress Sun 07-Apr-13 21:33:23

Not really bothered about the going up and talking to people but YANBU about running around getting in people's way - THAT drives me insane!

Chandon Sun 07-Apr-13 21:34:22

Yabu and boring.

2 year olds are cute.

Or If you would go to a proper posh restaurant, there would be no kids running around.

abbyfromoz Sun 07-Apr-13 21:35:32

I would be annoyed if the children were old enough to know how to sit still. 2 year olds are not.

aroomofherown Sun 07-Apr-13 21:35:37

YANBU. My sister used to let her little kids run around in restaurants (I was quite a bit younger at the time so of course had no opinion hmm) but it used to irritate me even then.

SantanaLopez Sun 07-Apr-13 21:37:51

Seriously Chandon? Cuteness gives the child the right to run about where hot foods, liquids, cutlery, china are all being carried about?

abbyfromoz Sun 07-Apr-13 21:39:00

Btw i think though his parents could have attempted to keep him in their vicinity. People tend to think their own kids are being adorable when they are not. I think i might be guilty of this to some degree but i am also very conscious of where she is and i wouldn't let her interrupt other people eating.

TomArchersSausage Sun 07-Apr-13 21:39:32

Yaddnbu. Table manners are a particular thing with me. Parents should make every effort to stop their dc being a nuisance in restaurants/cafes.

hwjm1945 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:42:12

Yanbu,icon' t find interacting with someone else's 2 yr old that interesting if I am out for a meal.I would not let mine move from seats.once mine tried to hang over garden fence and talk to neighbours who were sitting at table backpacking in garden.we got them into the housecsharpish.a quick 'hello' is fine .a long interaction is not!

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 21:43:53

I do kind of agree with what most people are saying

But wonder if most of you who are in the 'irritated' camp have DC who are really good in restaurants?

I've got 2 who are really good (1 I could take to a high dining place and feel proud)

1 is a little bugger who won't sit unless there's food in front of him. As soon as the food bit's done that's it.

So I can see both sides tbh

DialsMavis Sun 07-Apr-13 21:45:28

YANBU! Were you at my place of work today? There were kids riding their fucking scooters around the bar FFS!
Disgusted of West London

Tigresswoods Sun 07-Apr-13 21:46:12

The key thing for me in your OP is "my DDs" I have a boy. My friends have girls. He's a nightmare in restaurants. The girls aren't.

That said, we don't now take him out due to this.

Repeats MN mantra, this too shall pass.

DialsMavis Sun 07-Apr-13 21:47:08

If they can't behave they shouldn't be there though, you take them outside repeatedly until they behave or you don't eat in naice places until they can behave properly

ATouchOfStuffing Sun 07-Apr-13 21:47:35

DD is 20mo and is usually really good - she sits on a normal chair (she is too big for a lot of highchairs and grows extra legs if you try to get her into one) and only gets down to walk with me if she holds my hand or to sit on my lap. She is pretty good at entertaining herself but if the food takes 30mins or more to come out we have a grumpy curious toddler. If food is going to take a long time people with kids should be warned. The only times I have had issues is when we have been waiting for ages and she has other kids running about to make her want to join in.

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 21:48:50

There's always a whiff of smuggery to these threads...

usualsuspect Sun 07-Apr-13 21:50:03

I was just thinking that,notnowbernard.

DialsMavis Sun 07-Apr-13 21:51:53

It's not smuggery from me! My DC have behaved appallingly in public at various times throughout their lives wink

SantanaLopez Sun 07-Apr-13 21:52:37

It's not smuggery to say that children should not run about in restaurants.

Loislane78 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:53:23

Was at a nice hotel/restaurant this weekend with 8 mo DD. She was well behaved but the minute she started getting restless over breakfast (morning nap time), we immediately took her out. Same for lunch and early dinner. Obviously can't reason with an 8 mo and its good she gets used to eating out but I don't want to piss everyone off, people are tolerant to an extent, and expect the same in return.

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 21:54:50

I think the vast majority agree children should not run around in restaurants. Goes without saying, really

But the expectation that (v) small children should 'behave'... What does that mean, exactly?

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 21:55:46

FFS how does an 8m old 'behave' well?! <baffled>

DoJo Sun 07-Apr-13 21:55:56

HollyBerryBush If a stranger came up to me and instigated conversation whilst I was trying to enjoy a meal in a restaurant with my family then I probably would ask them to leave me alone, and in fact have done so with an overly chatty waiter once who kept interrupting a romantic meal to tell us about his band. There are times when it can be appropriate to approach someone you don't know and times when it's almost guaranteed to be unwelcome. Even your example is of a bar, which is generally accepted to be a more relaxed and gregarious environment than a restaurant. Part of understanding social niceties is knowing when your interruption might be welcome and when it definitely won't and until your children know the difference then you have to make it clear by limiting their ability to get it wrong and impinge on others' enjoyment.

bankofmum Sun 07-Apr-13 21:55:59

On a similar subject, my gym which has a really nice restaurant area has a soft play room which the children extend to the whole bar/eating area (bring out the soft blocks and run all over the place). As some compensation they have an adult only area but this is frequently ignored or parents sit in the adult only and their kids run back and forth. When I challenged someone she said it was ok as her child was well behaved and she had been a member for ages! If you ask staff to challenge them they have to wait for someone who has been appropriately trained. How much training do they need to say Get your kids out of the adult only lounge?

karatekimmi Sun 07-Apr-13 21:56:41

earlybird I think it was you who said why don't manaent say anything - my DH works in a family friendly pub where they have sizzling hot plates for most meals and has asked parents politely to keep their kids from running in front of the kitchen entrance from a health and safety point of view and has had women go batshit crazy at him( don't you tell me what they can and can't do - he can do anything he wants to!!!) and men squaring up to him and trying to physically intimidate him.
But you know they'd be the first ones to complain!! FYI there is a massive outside play area for kids to go mental running round!!

abbyfromoz Sun 07-Apr-13 21:57:08

Dials- i would have just told scooter kids to cut it out... In a nice way 'cut it out!....little darlings...please'hmm
If their parents said anything about you telling them off i would say 'oh i was just concerned for their safety....'

That being said DH lets DD run a muck! It's really embarrassing as he has no awareness of social courtesy.

Loislane78 Sun 07-Apr-13 21:58:03

Fair point, when I say behave (bad choice of wording), I mean not crying/shouting cos she's upset ie. doing something excessively loudly that might upset other people nearby.

jamdonut Sun 07-Apr-13 21:59:22

Presumably it means she was sitting quietly,not creating. It is possible for an 8month old to do that.

Goldmandra Sun 07-Apr-13 21:59:34

I would be annoyed if the children were old enough to know how to sit still. 2 year olds are not.

Whatever the age of the children, soup and coffee are still hot and they could still get terrible scalds.

If a child can't sit still for a long time an adult should take them out for a walk around every now and then so that they can stretch their legs safely and in a way which doesn't impinge on other diners.

I love small children and think two year olds are about the most interesting people you could meet but there are times when I have been eating out at which having to interrupt my conversation to answer repeated questions from other people's pre-schoolers would have irritated the hell out of me.

If people want to take their children out to eat in restaurants they should teach them how to behave in them. If they want them to be able to behave like they're at Charlie Chalk's they should go to Charlie Chalk's.

I've seen a child get covered in hot food whilst working in a bar next to a restaurant. It was horribly upsetting for all concerned.

SantanaLopez Sun 07-Apr-13 21:59:47

I read behave as sit as quietly as possible.

DoJo Sun 07-Apr-13 22:00:31

notnowbernard To me it means that their parents do not need to intervene to stop them from being annoying - whether that's sleeping in the case of an 8 month old or sitting quietly in the case of an older child. It's not necessarily a judgement thing - a newborn can behave in a way that makes it inappropriate to have them in a library, but describing it as such doesn't imply a judgement of the child itself.

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 22:00:38

Lois if I was next to an 8m old in a restaurant who started crying/shouting I really wouldn't give a shit

Most people would take the baby out if it was really going for it... I feel quite sorry for people who get wound up by. A baby hmm

EverybodysSootyEyed Sun 07-Apr-13 22:01:11

not sure it's a gender issue - ds has always been a dream in restaurants but dd is a terror.

we eat out a lot less now!

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Sun 07-Apr-13 22:04:04


And tigress I have four boys and none of them have been allowed to run around in a restaraunt! We have always eaten out with them from a young age if they needed to run about they were taken outside. We took small toys (quiet ones) and books, drawing stuff to entertain them if necessary. chatting etc fine, bit running around is not OK, its dangerous in a restaraunt.

YouTheCat Sun 07-Apr-13 22:06:03

I don't mind if kids make a noise, try to chat or whatever really but I hate seeing kids running about anywhere where hot food/drinks are being ferried about. It is dangerous and parents who allow it are bloody stupid.

I was in a restaurant (Italian, local and welcoming to families) and some parents were just sitting drinking their wine without a care while their 2 year old ran amok.

Floggingmolly Sun 07-Apr-13 22:08:31

Smuggery? hmm. No, my kids didn't always behave in restaurants, but they were removed for the duration of the tantrum, and they weren't allowed to pester other people who just wanted to eat in peace.
I don't have perfect children, but I certainly don't sit and watch them making a nuisance of themselves; deluded that other people find them as enchanting as I do.

CelticPixie Sun 07-Apr-13 22:11:44

Karatekimmi, interesting point. I actually know of someone who's husband was charged with GBH and criminal damage because he'd attacked a waiter who'd told them to keep their kids under control in a restaurant ( it wasn't a family friendly cheap place either) and he then also proceeded to smash the place up. People are incredibly precious about their kids.

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 22:13:51

I spose I'll just be wondering whether next time I'm out with mine and DS decides to get bored/fed up/ restless/ noisy or suddenly starts displaying behaviour characteristic of a 2.6 yr old if the folk around are inwardly eye-rolling or tutting at my terrible patenting/lax attitude and proclaiming that I shouldn't be in a 'nice' cafe/restaurant

notnowbernard Sun 07-Apr-13 22:15:06

I spose I'll just be wondering whether next time I'm out with mine and DS decides to get bored/fed up/ restless/ noisy or suddenly starts displaying behaviour characteristic of a 2.6 yr old if the folk around are inwardly eye-rolling or tutting at my terrible patenting/lax attitude and proclaiming that I shouldn't be in a 'nice' cafe/restaurant

YouTheCat Sun 07-Apr-13 22:15:14

Most people will know exactly how you feel though. We've all been there.

It's how you handle things that matters.

TomArchersSausage Sun 07-Apr-13 22:15:25

I agree with 5eggs and have similarly entertained/distracted all mine when they were young and we've eaten out.

However that level of supervision requires some effort.

ATouchOfStuffing Sun 07-Apr-13 22:16:46

Notnow I think most parents are secretly worried about that in restaurants anyway, which is why threads like this get so much footfall.

GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 07-Apr-13 22:21:39

I barely want my own toddler in the restaurant, thanks. TBF to him, he does listen, he does sit his bottom on the chair when told (though sometimes needs reminding, especially if some other children are running around.) But it's constant vigilance for me until his food arrives, so not always the most fun experience.

I'll be honest, if I don't have him with me and I'm out, I am very good at ignoring other peoples' children. If I give it any thought at all, I empathise with them. But if they are occasionally loud, or doing something they shouldn't be? It's just the sweet sound of someone else's problem to me. I give them a sympathetic look and lose myself in conversation with whomever I'm with, or the paper I'm reading, or whatever.

freddiefrog Sun 07-Apr-13 22:25:47


We were out with some friends for dinner on Friday night. Local pub so not posh-posh but not a Brewer's Fayre soft play-type place either

We've always made our kids sit properly at the table but our friends' kids were a nightmare. Running around screaming, crawling under other peoples' tables, running behind the bar, etc.

It was so embarrassing, and trying to explain to my 2 why they were absolutely not allowed to join in was not fun

The waitress ended up telling us that if the kids didn't behave we'd have to leave.

We ended up cutting the meal short and beating a retreat, vowing never to eat somewhere like that with those friends or show our faces in the local ever again

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 07-Apr-13 22:27:03


I like seeing children enjoying meals with their family in a restuarant, assuming the parents are teaching them how to behave properly at the same time. Sadly many parents let their little darling run amok.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Sun 07-Apr-13 22:28:50

Yes it requires effort but imeit pays off and four boys aged 5-13 are all capable of sitting nicely through a meal even a three course posh meal out. Dd is only 27mths and so it requires more effort to keep her happy but we time it so she wrong be tired, take toys etc. Choose somewhere suitable so we can take her outside if necessary.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Sun 07-Apr-13 22:29:51

Ime it pays off.

Time it so she won't be tired...

DontSHOUTTTTTT Sun 07-Apr-13 22:30:51

I find it really irritating. It's lazy parenting. I don't like it in coffee shops or on planes either.

.....and what's with the number if kids being allowed to ride their scooters INSIDE shops?? I saw this on three separate occasions in the last few days confused.

YouTheCat Sun 07-Apr-13 22:38:19

Don't get me started on scooters in shops.

I don't give a fuck if precious little Gerald is tired, scooters are for parks not Sainsburys.

landofsoapandglory Sun 07-Apr-13 22:40:14


I don't like it when other people's DC run around in restaurants, neither do I like it when they interrupt my meal.

My DC never did it, they didn't run around during a meal time at home, so it never occurred to them to do it when we were out.

fluffyraggies Sun 07-Apr-13 23:05:32


It really is doing your child no favors to let them 'be cute' in situations like this ... ie making random chit chat, wandering round the restaurant exploring etc.

I'd be willing to bet that 90% of people aren't thinking it's cute, they're hoping the child will go elsewhere.

And by the time your child is 10/15/20, and still thinking they are the center of the universe and can behave how they fancy, because that's what you've taught them, you can bet that practically 100% of people they meet are now wishing they would go elsewhere.

Letting a child interact uninvited with strangers is not teaching a child social skills.

Sirzy Sun 07-Apr-13 23:25:26

Yanbu. DS is 3 and he knows he stays sat at the table, or sometimes he plays quietly under the table. If he gets too noisy he is asked to stop or i take him outside.

Children need to be taught what is acceptable behaviour and disrupting other diners and getting under staffs feet isn't acceptable.

Earlybird Sun 07-Apr-13 23:42:25

karatekimmi - that is awful, but I suppose this issue is fairly commonplace. Obviously as another poster said, some people are incredibly precious about their dc, and take offense at any suggestion that the little darlings are less than angelic or that their behaviour might require some adjustment in order to be considerate of others.

I went out for an early meal on Friday night at a casual Italian (a step or two up from Pizza Express). I was looking forward to not having to cook, to relaxing and chatting, and having a glass of wine. I inwardly rolled my eyes when we were sat next to a family with 3ds - all of whom looked to be under the age of 6. One of the boys could not sit still, and finished his meal sitting under the table. The smallest banged a spoon on the china plate - vastly entertained by the sound - for the entire meal. The parents were oblivious - or so exhausted that they didn't care. It was not a relaxing or enjoyable evening meal - though did improve when the family departed.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sun 07-Apr-13 23:44:57

Yanbu its very dangerous as well as annoying. Take things to entertain, take turns in taking them outside. Not to mention it also makes it harder to control your own child when there's others running about. The only way children learn appropriate behaviour is by going to these places, but obviously they need to be told what's appropriate and what's not

larlemucker Mon 08-Apr-13 00:12:55

I was at a cafe a few weeks ago with a friend and our DCs, both 2.5 months in car seats.
We are both breast feeding so went upstairs where it was quiet. 3 toddlers were up there playing in the corner (no parents in sight) and they would not leave us alone. Kept coming over to babies, one lent on the material canopy of my DSs car seat and nearly fell on him. We moved to the next room to get some privacy so I could feed DS but they followed us. In the end my friend had to ask them to leave the babies alone as they were trying to touch them.
These kids were also messing around going up and down the stairs while customers and staff were walking to tables with hit drinks and food.
Surely it is common sense to keep your child under control in that situation?

So you ANBU

YouTheCat Mon 08-Apr-13 00:17:04

Well, I'm still waiting for the contingent that thinks the OP is unreasonable. They always pop up on these threads and remind everyone that children are welcomed with open arms in other countries.

boxoftricks Mon 08-Apr-13 00:25:20

I run a pub in London. It's a nice pub. There is a sign on the door, partly in jest, but true, that says "DOGS ON A LEAD AND WELL BEHAVED CHILDREN WELCOME" I am more than happy to take a child to the kitchen window so they can see the chefs at work, give them extra crayons. I tell parents not to fuss about any mess on the floor, I give veg sticks, bread sticks to kids as soon as they arrive, if parents say yes. Free of charge.
I have more than once seen a badly behaved child, that is having a tantrum, and the parents are struggling, and mixed up some oj, and cranberry, put it in a 'special glass' and given to said child, with a tone of, now, special drink, must sit so you don't spill it, now are you going to draw me a picture to put on our picture wall etc etc. relived parents.

I don't tolerate kids running around. There are hot plates qround, and i have enough to worry about on a sunday lunch service than trying to concentrate on not decapitating a small child with a roast dinner grin

As a result, it is a popular pub! Kids are accommodated, not just tolerated, and its what makes parents come back!! You can tell, on their second and subsequent visits, the children behave much better.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Mon 08-Apr-13 00:37:32

Your pub sounds lovely boxoftricks smile

JaponicaTroggs Mon 08-Apr-13 00:38:39

Me and DH were in a lovely restaurant in Paris recently and had the misfortune to be at a table next to another English couple with a child of around 6. He whined, swore, stood on the table and threw his food on the floor because he he didn't like it whilst the doting parents scanned the menu making suggestions as to what else he'd like and gazing adoringly at his cuteness. I felt sorry for the poor waiter who had to clear up the mess and embarrassed to be English.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 08-Apr-13 00:41:11


My otherwise lovely friend lets her two run around in restaurants and it drives me mad. I actually won't go out for lunch with her when we've got all the DCs any longer because it is so embarrassing, and it makes it harder to control my two.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 08-Apr-13 00:46:14

Tigress it is nothing to do with him being a boy - don't use that as an excuse!

My boys are generally very well behaved in restaurants because that is what we have always expected of them - they are two and four. Friend's girls on the other hand who are allowed to create havoc...!

boxoftricks Mon 08-Apr-13 00:49:38

Thanks 5eggs ! The children love it when you give them a menu, and ask THEM what they would like to drink, and eat (of course, checking that's they are allowed with the parents) I think we have a culture of ignoring children at the dinner table, certainly in the hospitality industry, and a lot of places seem to just tolerate kids on a hope that they will be seen and not heard. I'm a MASSIVE believer that children need to learn how to eat out properly, and interact with people they don't know personally, even if it is to say thank you for their dinner that has been placed in front of them, just like an adult would.
As a result, I like my job better, the kids get distracted, and are happy!! ..... And their parents stay longer, aren't in a rush to get the kids out, and buy more wine/desserts = more profit for ME!

Has anyone read 'French children don't throw food' ? Very fitting for this thread!!

MTSgroupie Mon 08-Apr-13 00:58:24

The other day the toddler from the other side of the divide peaked his head over and we had a nice 5 min chat. He was telling me that it was his mum's birthday treat. It made for a nice lunch

I have no problems with a child coming to my table BUT I would definitely have a problem with that child running around the restaurant.

Lueji Mon 08-Apr-13 05:36:43

Children are welcome with open arms in other countries.
But they usually don't run around screaming and under other people's feet. smile
Or have huge tantrums.
Or throw food.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 06:29:53

This thread makes me a bit sad personally.

OP is NBU and kids shouldn't run around.

But my DD can throw tantrums, whine, throw food and tries to pour drinks etc on table. We always do our best to control her.

She is 6 but looks 7/8. But she has severe developmental delay and autism..

This isnt always apparent and we get loads of cat bum faced looks and remarks like from the lovely lady who sat facing us in a cafe saying 'it's the parents fault'. Or the man recently who was saying 'they just let them crash around' while glaring at us,DD was in kids play area of cafe but dropped the odd toy as she has poor grip and bumped into things as her spatial awareness is poor.

Of course there are badly behaved kids and kids allowed to run wild, and they are in the majority I assume.

But if it's an older child than a toddler acting in an outrageously 'badly behaved' manner, japonicas 6 year old climbing on table..or a 6 year old having a 'tantrum' at least consider they have SN and rein in the cats bum faced looks just in case you cause serious hurt.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 06:33:41

'One of the boys could not sit still and finished hs meal under the table' woud ring alarm bells to me, tbh.

Yet the parents are attracting massive disapproval. I'd be wary of glaring just in case, in that scenario.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 06:37:54

This IS a real problem for me and other parents I knw, btw, as people give out to us and glare.

Not just me being SN obsessed or PC

Verbalpunchbag Mon 08-Apr-13 07:09:29

It illustrates a wider problem in society, the rights of the individual always coming first and nobody is ever held accountable for their actions. It's not acceptable for children to run riot in a restaurant, even a family friendly one, they have play areas set aside for that. I went to a wedding last year and one of the guests was holding a baby that decided to have a screaming fit and rather than take it outside to calm it she decided to stay and share the screaming with all of us. It will no doubt bring back fond memories for the happy couple when they watch the video back in years to come!

Goldmandra Mon 08-Apr-13 08:18:14

I think it's more about how the parents respond to the behaviour than how the children behave. All children can have days when their behaviour is inappropriate in a restaurant.

If a child doesn't want to sit still for long periods that's perfectly understandable. Some parents respond by letting the child get down and run round. Others take the child out for a bit, make an effort to engage them rather than ignoring them in favour of the adult conversation, provide toys or just explain that it's not appropriate to get down just now.

I would never be irritated by the presence of a child whose parents are managing a difficult situation as best they can. I get irritated by people who allow their children to behave inappropriately and dangerously because they either think it is cute or can't be bothered to deal with it.

It's fairly easy to tell the difference.

We've had meals where DH and I have taken it in turns to eat while the other manages DD2 who has AS. If I take my children out to eat its because I want to share the experience with them. If I want to leave them to play while I chat with other adults I invite everyone to eat at our house or go somewhere where the children can run around safely like a pub with a soft play or outside play area. It's not difficult.

Goldmandra Mon 08-Apr-13 08:20:16

Like Fanjo I wouldn't have a problem with a child sitting under a table to eat as long as it was their own table. That doesn't affect anyone else and it may be the only way that child can cope.

Sirzy Mon 08-Apr-13 08:23:33

I would never be irritated by the presence of a child whose parents are managing a difficult situation as best they can. I get irritated by people who allow their children to behave inappropriately and dangerously because they either think it is cute or can't be bothered to deal with it.

This is spot on.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 08-Apr-13 08:37:41

It's the amount of disruption to others that creates the tension though.
I don't have a problem with a child eating under the table, or only eating a huge pile of one item from the menu, or pours a drink on their own table, or makes a lot of noise in a child's play area of a restaurant. Or being children in a place designed to appeal to families, loud voices and climbing around from one adult to another at their own table.
But if you go out for a meal, perhaps once a year then you should be able to eat and talk with others on your table without interruption from other guests.
Parents have a responsibility to manage their children, for the safety of the child and the reasonable comfort of others. DS used to deal with unwanted contact by roaring 'GO AWAY RIGHT NOW!' at children, with no regard as to age. It was surprisingly effective on both the child and the parents.

firesidechat Mon 08-Apr-13 09:03:33

Yabu and boring.

2 year olds are cute.

Or If you would go to a proper posh restaurant, there would be no kids running around

No, Chandon, they cease to be anywhere near cute when they have run around your table, squealing and have bumped into your chair for the tenth time! This happened to us fairly recently.

Don't see at all why we should have to go to a seriously expensive restaurant just to avoid this issue. It's a very important social skill to learn from an early age how to behave considerately in public places. Most parents seem to manage it.

It's not just children that you need to watch out for. We once went out for a rare romantic meal in the Lake District before we had children. The tables were fairly close together and the single man at the next table insisted on talking to us for the entire two hours. I was too polite to be rude to him, but he obviously had no social boundaries.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 08-Apr-13 09:10:37

confused You expected him to be telepathic?
He probably thought you were all getting on famously.

firesidechat Mon 08-Apr-13 09:18:55

We were too young and nice to tell him to shut up. That would have been the only way to make him stop. Believe me, we tried everything else. We still remember it 28 years later, so must have been memorable.

JaponicaTroggs Mon 08-Apr-13 09:33:20

FanjoForTheMammaries I have an autistic child myself and always take into account about possible special needs. The child concerned did not strike me as anything other than badly behaved (I know a LOT of children with special needs and can tell the difference). Like you I have had to cope with my childs behaviour in public and would always try to control it. Even if this boy had been autistic (he wasn't!) the parents did NOTHING but smile, laugh and pander to him.

MiaowTheCat Mon 08-Apr-13 09:33:34

It's not acceptable, it's not cute, it's not fucking SAFE where smashable things and hot things are being carried around ffs!

As for "learning social interaction" - it's fucking lazy arsehole parenting to let your child wander around and bug people who don't WANT to be tasked with developing your child's social skills - but want to eat the meal with the company they chose to come with and quite possibly left their own kids at home and want a peaceful evening - not to babysit someone else's child un-asked!

We'll add that letting your 5 and 8ish year old leap off the sofas repeatedly in Costa Coffee while you simper indulgently at them is twuntish parenting as well - that one was seen by a pair of twats locally recently.

Hell I went fucking ballistic on my mum for thinking it was hilarious to try to teach and encourage my 1 year old to bang on the table with a spoon in a coffee shop - might have been cute (I don't generally find repeated banging noises cute) but was fucking not fair on the other people in there and was definitely not going to be on.

insanityscratching Mon 08-Apr-13 09:35:00

YANBU last night whilst eating out we had two boys running circuits of the restaurant whilst their parents looked on seemingly oblivious. They weren't toddlers either probably aged between 5 and 8 years old as the tallest was taller than my dd aged 10. I was a nervous wreck for the waitresses who were bring dishes of piping hot food out.

hairtearing Mon 08-Apr-13 10:07:08

I've had the dreaded 2 year old screamfest because dc has realised there's a play area and HE'S NOT IN IT!!.

But had the old buggy as a restraint I wouldn't let him run around tables mainly for safety as well as courtesy.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 10:07:52 can't always tell. That's why the DX process is done by professionals and drawn out over several appts in different situations wink

CelticPixie Mon 08-Apr-13 10:20:14

I might sound evil but sometimes I think it would just be what the parents deserve if a waiter spilled not food all over their child. Maybe then in future they would allow their brats to run riot in a dangerous environment?

Flobbadobs Mon 08-Apr-13 10:23:28

YANBU, I've left a restuarant before now if one of my DC's has been misbehaving. They're generally very well behaved when we go out to eat as we've eaten out alot since they were babies but occassionally when they were younger would act up. It would annoy me if someone elses children were doing it so I wouldn't inflict it on anyone else.

YouTheCat Mon 08-Apr-13 10:25:47

Oh I don't know, I can pretty much tell when there's autism involved (my ds is 18 and at the more severe end of the spectrum). I once had a lovely chat with a woman in a queue in Superdrug as she was trying to contain one if her 7 year old twins who was getting agitated by the crowds. His speech was okay and he wasn't in full meltdown but I knew those little stims and squeaks so well.

I once took ds and his sister for their birthday treat to a local restaurant. I made sure before it was a quiet time and we ordered our food by phone before we got there so he wouldn't have to sit waiting. He did sit really well but it was so alien to him that it hardly ate (unheard of for ds where pizza is concerned). There's no way he would have coped had it been busy though he seems to be able to tolerate McDs. hmm

Flobbadobs Mon 08-Apr-13 10:28:26

Celticpixie I worked as a waitress for a while and the amount of times I almost fell over small children while carrying hot food is unreal...

JaponicaTroggs Mon 08-Apr-13 10:31:03

FanjoForTheMammaries Yes I do know that, been through it, so quit with the patronising. I COULD tell that this was a badly behaved child, I didn't need to ask for proof of DLA to assess the situation. I know the differences, having one of my own and running a special needs group with hundreds of special needs children, i did know, ok? wink

BiddyPop Mon 08-Apr-13 10:37:11

It drives me DAFT!

We have always had distractions for DD in our bag (nappy bag and then my handbag) - a little toy, colouring in pages and now it's her DS gamer and some wordsearches/sudoku/colouring pages. And we have taken control of her too - talked to her, made sure she had something to nibble or drink, and played with her or let others play with her. But our bums stay on our seats when we are out. (And she's been going to coffee shops, fast food joints and naice restaurants since a few days old).

My DSis's 2 kids are also well behaved when out and about. And she also has plenty to keep them occupied.

But my BIL's 3 are a nightmare! We gave up on family outings to restaurants once the eldest was about 2 - he couldn't sit in his seat and his parents do not control him nor allow anyone else to. Our poor DD, on the last family lunch outing, was getting so upset and following him around trying to make him go back to his seat (she was 4, and did come back to the table and sat down but was very upset - with him more than anything else). And it has now got to the stage where it's difficult to even have a family meal in PIL's house, as they won't sit still or keep in any way quiet (I don't mean silent, I mean not screeching and shouting over everyone else) or eat their food. And as their parents will not have babysitters, we don't get to go out for family dinners at night instead anymore (something that was very common). And we can't go out with the rest of the family without BIL and his troop either - we are reduced to waiting until they've gone to do some shopping or something before sneaking out with PIL (as they live next door to each other) for a pub grub dinner one night if we stay for a few days, to give MIL a break from cooking for us all (and PIL really LIKE going out for a PG meal - they have to sneak out though even when we are not there).

Callofthefishwife Mon 08-Apr-13 10:38:41

I dont think children running around any restaurant is acceptable. Whether that be a "family" place with a play barn attached, MacDonalds or a "posh" place aimed at adults its not acceptable. Its dangerous. Hot food, drinks in glasses, soup, coffees etc all being transported around the place - add kids running about and its a disaster waiting to happen. I dont get why so many think it is acceptable.

Noisy kids sat with their families in a family style restaurant - I have no problem with but children left to roam free with no regard for other people or the waiting staff is just stupid and irresponsible parenting.

This weekend my 14yo had a near miss (at Toby Carvery Breakfast) when 2 boys aged around 4yo were playing tag, running around the restaurant and literally ran into her as she carried her hot chocolate back to the table. She spilt some of the drink -thankfully on the floor and not the children. It was a damn hot drink, and would have burnt a child badly.

Its not about other people being stuffy or disliking children. Now mine are older I love chatting and interacting with little ones when I get the chance but its the risks and danger involved that some parents seem to be oblivious to.

bedmonster Mon 08-Apr-13 10:39:10

YANBU. We have taken ours out for lunches since they were tiny to get them used to having good social manners. Started off very low key and child friendly, pizza express and similar, where they are used to having children and a bit of noise. Now our DDs are used to sitting at a meal in a restaurant for hours. They bring drawing stuff, and have conversations with everyone else around the table. DS is 17m and he also sat for the best part of 3 hours during the meal we had a few weeks ago. DP and I got him out of his high chair a couple of times for a run around OUTSIDE in the garden, and DP took him outside for the last course as it was taking forever and he was clearly getting bored. We did however take out ipad and let him watch episodes of Peppa Pig. Some people would be horrified at the technology at the table, but I don't give a rats arse. We were able to have a nice meal where none of the DC kicked up a fuss, ran around or screamed.

BiddyPop Mon 08-Apr-13 10:39:17

Oh, and DD has Aspergers/ADHD - so we know all about keeping tantrums and reactions under control. There are no such issues with DN's that we are aware of - but we are very aware of a complete lack of parental control.

MadameOvary Mon 08-Apr-13 10:39:36

YANBU but on the subject of ASD - my DD is NT but I know a fair few families where one or more DC has SEN/ASD and they are unlikely, IME, to be the ones sitting grinning vacantly and encouraging the chaos. More likely they are doing their level best to manage the situation by de-escalating, quiet distraction, or whatever works. Sorry if that sounds like a generalisation but IME where there is a diagnosis of SEN/ASD, you can be pretty sure that that the parents/carers are working hard to manage it as best they can.

MadameOvary Mon 08-Apr-13 10:41:46


FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 10:42:41

Japonica - not patronising, clearly you are some sort of ASD guru hmm

insanityscratching Mon 08-Apr-13 10:43:20

The two boys running around last night I couldn't spot any signs of ASD and I'm well tuned in as my two with autism were sat with me at the table. I used to have to haul a huge bag of distractions around to keep mine entertained so do understand how difficult it is sometimes (often when ds was younger) I thank my lucky stars now for ipods, tablets and ds's which have cut down the challenges no end.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 10:43:59

anyway..clearly not everyone can tell, as my DD is severe and people still make remarks to us thinking she is NT

YouTheCat Mon 08-Apr-13 10:45:36

But Fanjo, those people are probably just twats who read the Fail and think that all children with disabilities should be 'in a home'. hmm

shellbu Mon 08-Apr-13 10:46:23

i find kids running round in restaurants totally out of order , they should be taught to sit at a table and eat a meal ,without annoying others ,if i go out for a meal it is with people i want to socialise with , do not want other peoples snotty faced kids getting in my face ,i never taught my kids to go up to a stranger and start chatting so i dont know where all this social interacting is coming from , what happened to stranger danger or is that old hat now .

BiddyPop Mon 08-Apr-13 10:48:49

Sorry, that last one scanned badly when I read it back. DD has SN, so we are used to dealing with tantrums and keeping reactions under control. Which includes distraction at the table, bringing her for a walk to the loo or taking her outside to have some quiet time (and allowing some running or whatever in a safe space). And we have been known to either have a tag team eating event or leave meals before they were eaten on occasion - as DD's needs warranted it.

My problem is with parents who take no account of the needs of their child/ren and instead inflict their child's bad behaviour on everyone else, by ignoring them entirely as THEY enjoy their meal.

insanityscratching Mon 08-Apr-13 10:52:23

Fanjo ds is 18 and still obviously autistic but people still point and stare in spite of him having an obvious disability. His behaviour is brilliant now but the stims particularly when anxious are what draws the stares.Some people are just rude and ignorant.

JaponicaTroggs Mon 08-Apr-13 11:08:08

Fanjo, yes you were being patronising. No I don't claim to be an ASD "guru". What a stupid thing to say. Most parents of autistic children who spend the majority of their time in an autistic world are pretty good at recognising it. The people making comments about your child are ignorant and obviously have no clue what autism is.

anklebitersmum Mon 08-Apr-13 11:09:18

YANBU. Quite frankly someone said it best earlier on when they said that the 'running children' are never running around their parent's table, it's always someone else's.

In the same way as it's someone else's sanity and sanctity they're destroying when playing football against near other peoples cars/houses and then, when older still, in large smoke surrounded groups 'just hanging around'. All actions are of course supported by the parents at all ages on the basis that 'they're bored and there's nothing/nowhere for them to do/go'.

If we are out for a meal, either with or without the anklebiters, I don't want other children running about and creating while we eat because it is annoying, not least as we end up having to explain to a 3yr old why she can't run around like a screaming banshee too.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 08-Apr-13 11:13:47

This lax parenting and letting kids run around restaurants seems to be almost exclusively an Anglo thing (I'm including Americans/Canadians in this too). We go to Disneyland Paris quite often, and you can guarantee that those who let their kids run riot without batting an eyelid are English speaking. Euro kids seem to sit at the table and do as they are told. And I'm not talking about Disney restaurants - these were quite nice restaurants near to Disney but not part of the dreaded complex.

Ours were taught from an early age that they had to sit at the table and not run riot - any bad behaviour, and they were removed from the restaurant immediately.

Apart from the nuisance to other diners, do parents genuinely not think that their children could be badly burned/scalded with the staff carrying plates of hot food to and fro?

Goldmandra Mon 08-Apr-13 11:22:43

Only very experienced practitioners and clinicians can tell that my DDs have AS. Lots of people who think they are qualified to judge have told me they don't. Fortunately the specialists who matter can see it and also see the terrible damage it has done to them.

I regularly get judged because of my DD's needs by people who think they know how to parent them better but I have never allowed them to behave in a way which impinges on others. If they can't sit still and behave appropriately in a restaurant they are taken outside immediately.

You can't tell if a child has SN but you can tell if a parent is making an effort to minimise the impact of their child's behaviour on others.

It is the lazy parents who can't be bothered to stop their children running round and disturbing others who should be getting the comments and the cat's bum faces, not those whose children who are behaving in an age inappropriate manner but whose behaviour is only noticed by those who are actively looking for things to criticise.

SophiaTheFirst Mon 08-Apr-13 11:32:57

"Ours were taught from an early age that they had to sit at the table and not run riot - any bad behaviour, and they were removed from the restaurant immediately"

Yes, this is what we have done. Its a painful learning curve, we've had to leave restaurants half way through meals, even with friends, had to miss much awaited ice cream puddings etc with many tears and tantrums but they learnt that we meant what we said and that they are expected to sit nicely.
It was hard work teaching them, especially with my more naughty 'determined' child who can give anyone a run for their money, but we reap the rewards now. I can take them anywhere and at 2 and 4 I know they will behave.

I wasn't lucky just getting 'easy' children though, if that's what people think, I worked hard to teach them what was expected even when it ruined our day or cut short meals out with family/friends. Well worth it though.

anklebitersmum Mon 08-Apr-13 11:34:29

It is the lazy parents who can't be bothered to stop their children running round and disturbing others who should be getting the comments


Parents having a hard time with their child/ren but clearly doing their best have my utmost respect regardless of the disruption.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 08-Apr-13 11:35:46

Absolutely agree re the lazy parents, Goldmandra. If a child is having a meltdown for whatever reason, and the parent is doing something about it, judging and huffing is absolutely uncalled for. Would you want offers of help eg with the other children, if you are on your own? I ask because I was in a queue for a ride at an amusement park with my two, and the woman in front had a son who was having a complete meltdown and didn't want to go on the ride. I asked her if her daughter, who was waiting patiently, wanted to come on with us, as she looked about the same age as DD2, and there was room in the "car". She accepted gratefully, she and her son watched us go round and round, and I made a new friend, as did the DDs. smile

Goldmandra Mon 08-Apr-13 11:47:01

Would you want offers of help eg with the other children, if you are on your own?

Absolutely! What you did was lovely and so refreshing amongst all the frowns and pursed lips.

Managing a meltdown in public when your child is clearly too old for the terrible twos can be a very lonely feeling.

BlackMaryJanes Mon 08-Apr-13 11:51:26

The other day the toddler from the other side of the divide peaked his head over and we had a nice 5 min chat. He was telling me that it was his mum's birthday treat. It made for a nice lunch

Not everyone feels like that though. I'm a tired SAHM. I spend all day every day talking to two toddlers, when I go out for a rare meal I don't want to have to make yet more idle chat with another toddler when I'm trying to enjoy my meal.

Flobbadobs Mon 08-Apr-13 12:03:14

Regarding children with ASD the parents of children who have this are usually the parents who are very much on the ball and keeping an eye out. I've had a couple of meals out where a parent has come over and apologised and explained about their children and all was well.
It's the parents who couldn't care less and just let the children run riot that annoy me.

FanjoForTheMammaries Mon 08-Apr-13 12:03:37

Japonica..sorry..I did not mean to be so snarky thanks..Monday mornings blush

I'd just be very wary of assuming anything as its so bad for parents if you get it wrong IYSWIM

Novemberish Mon 08-Apr-13 12:04:05

My DB and SiL are like this. My nephew (22 months) is a lovely, sweet little boy (most of the time) but they positively encourage him to run around restaurants and intrude on other tables under the guise of "learning social skills". I cringe when I see him running from table to table, shouting hello, trying to climb on other people or blathering away nonsense to them. Sometimes it has been painfully obvious that these people are trying to have some alone time, a private conversation or teaching their own dc to sit nicely at a table. Like the poster above, I have on occasion enjoyed chatting with a child in a cafe/restaurant but I don;t think this should be assumed as a default setting for people just because they have come out in public. I've even been out for meals with db and his family where they have actually pointed out people to whom he hasn't yet spoken and encouraged him to go and say hello.

Then there is the running around. My heart stops when I see my nephew zoom around the legs of a waiter carrying food and drink. I wouldn't say that db and SiL are lazy - just so blinkered to the fun their ds is having and how happy that makes them feel that the thought of anything going wrong - or, perish the thought, that someone else might not be enjoying his screams of laughter - doesn't actually enter their head.

Actually, OP, thinking about it - they were out for a family celebration meal yesterday with SiL's family. Perhaps you met my nephew? grin

YANBU at all, I can't stand children running round restaurants, I remember working as a waitress too well.

chrome100 Mon 08-Apr-13 12:43:19

Years ago I was a waitress in a pub that had a Wacky Warehouse attached so there were lots of children. Sadly, they did not confine their running around to the ball pit and freely did so in the restaurant. One day, a small child ran out as I was carrying a boiling plate of roast turkey and gravy and it went all over him. He was burned and had to be treated.

I felt awful, although there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. The pub agreed the child/parent was at fault and did not blame me, but I can still remember him shrieking when I dropped the food. His parents said I should have been more careful but I have looked back on the episode frequently and can;t think of anything I could have done differently to prevent it.

JaponicaTroggs Mon 08-Apr-13 13:08:10

Fanjo Don't worry, as parents of special children we all naturally feel sensitive about how they are treated by other people. We're all on the same side against an ignorant world.

Icanhasnickname Mon 08-Apr-13 15:40:37

Those 'darling' toddlers who think its ok to bother strangers soon turn into the weird older kids who think its ok to 'hang-out' with the delightful ones who thought it was perfectly normal to try to join in with our games of pool or games on the fruit machines. Sadly, they seemed very good at both. Must have spent a lot of their childhood in this far from family-friendly pub. Parents nowhere to be seen.

MrsMelons Mon 08-Apr-13 16:00:10

I have quite a few friends that would never take their children out to dinner as they just don't behave well enough when they are out. I have 2 young children and I take colouring etc for them and they aren't allowed to run around.

Children need to learn how to behave out in a restaurant so there is no reason why people shouldn't take their DCs out but it is lazy for parents to just let them run around and bug people.

I am not miserable and love having the kids around but there are times and places for children to run around and a restaurant is not one of them regardless of whether it is a family restaurant or not.

MrsMelons Mon 08-Apr-13 16:02:37

SHould add, that most people would have a lot of respect for those parents clearly trying to control their DCs when out, its the ones who allow their children to run riot that cause the problem.

myfirstkitchen Mon 08-Apr-13 16:05:21


I hate how people think that because somewhere is 'family friendly' it means they can let their children run riot and ignore them.

arabesque Mon 08-Apr-13 16:07:17

YANBU. These over indulged children will be the brats of tomorrow - the ones who see nothing wrong with playing noisy games of football outside other people's houses at ten o clock at night; or having loud all night parties everytime their parents go away etc. while their parents insist that they're 'just having fun' 'children will be children' and so on and so on.
I agree though, it is not the child people should be annoyed at but the idiot parents who sit back and do nothing.

vjg13 Mon 08-Apr-13 16:17:16

YANBU, I have friends who think it's fine to let their child go behind the desk at the GPs and approach people eating and ask for a chip!

They can't believe that others aren't enchanted by this!

arabesque Mon 08-Apr-13 16:19:56

Yabu and boring.

2 year olds are cute. Quote

I suspect this is the assumption that a lot of the parents of these toddlers make - "Oh, he's soooo cute." "Oooh, only a grumpy old bore would get annoyed at him running up to their table" etc etc etc.

MrsClown1 Mon 08-Apr-13 17:18:24

It really winds me up. Some people take their kids out and expect others to put up with them running around like lunatics. I remember when my children were young my DH and I went out for a meal. 2 children a few tables away were running around and kept coming over to our table and messing around. Dont get me wrong, I dont expect them to be seen and not heard but I do feel parents should teach their children how to behave when taken out. I went over to the parents and informed them that I was paying someone to look after my children so I really didnt want to look after theirs!

Goldmandra Mon 08-Apr-13 17:21:06

* I went over to the parents and informed them that I was paying someone to look after my children so I really didnt want to look after theirs!*

Exactly. How did they respond?

kerala Mon 08-Apr-13 18:37:17

We were in Italy at a lovely restaurant that opened at 8pm. About a third of the tables had under 6s on them ALL were sitting beautifully you wouldn't have known there were so many children. Some were really tiny too. The atmosphere was civilised I wonder what the equivalent place in the UK would have been like. Italian parents seem to have higher expectations which the children meet.

CuriosityCola Mon 08-Apr-13 21:05:56

For the first time I had the fear that an Aibu thread was about my family blush. Ds (19 months) was a nightmare at a family friendly restaurant yesterday. The highchairs had no straps, so he just kept climbing out. My pil thought he was very cute running around with his older cousins. I was the mean mum trying to contain him. His older cousins are allowed to approach other tables pretending to be waiters and taking orders. I found it mortifying.

BlackMaryJanes Mon 08-Apr-13 21:34:23

MrsClown1 What was the parents response? grin Do tell!!

Catsize Mon 08-Apr-13 21:55:54

Our 15mth old will not sit in a highchair when in a restaurant without a huge struggle, which is even worse for other people. We tend to avoid eating out for this reason, but if ever we are out, my partner and I tend to take it in turns to follow him around as he explores, and we eat separately. Not great, but accept he just wants to explore. Wouldn't let him go off on his own, and recognise that it can be annoying for others and also dangerous with waiting staff, people with drinks etc. We are very conscious of others in restaurants. Mum offered to treat us to Easter lunch and felt we had to politely decline. When he is a bit older, he will be expected to sit at the table.

BellaVita Mon 08-Apr-13 22:03:49

DH called me a snob last week over this very subject.

We were on holiday and quite a few families just let their kids - say aged between 4/5/6/7 run bloody riot at meal times in the main hotel restaurant. We have teens but even when they were small they always knew how to behave when going out for something to eat.

I suggested to DH that perhaps the waiting staff could segregate the families with small children from the ones with older children, he thought I had gone completely mad. All I wanted was to enjoy my meal with a nice glass of wine in relative peace with a bit of conversation thrown in.

Floggingmolly Mon 08-Apr-13 22:18:29

Catsize. I'm not sure an adult shadowing a toddler "exploring" would be any less annoying, tbh...

Sirzy Mon 08-Apr-13 22:22:58

Bellvita - that plan is hardly fair on the parents who can control their young children!

hazeyjane Mon 08-Apr-13 22:32:19

Ds is very difficult, if we try and eat out, he is 2.9 and has sn. We tend to just avoid eating out, but we have had occasions with friends and family, where we have tried. It is difficult to contain him in a highchair, so one of us will walk around with him, either inside or out. I would never let him get in the way of waiting staff, or bother people trying to eat their meals in peace, but would it still be annoying that he is walking around?

We had one meal in a Pizza Hut, with ds's family, that we had to cut short, because the family at the next table kept staring and tutting about the fact that ds was sat on the floor under the table, holding my leg. He wasn't in anyone's way, but the reaction of the people on the next table made us feel so uncomfortable we ended up leaving.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 08-Apr-13 22:37:33

most of the time it does not bother me. I do see children playing and in some restaurants I expect that but children I see do not go wild screaming and shouting but they are young and excitable I do not expect them to sit still at the table for an hour

if you want a nice quiet lunch go somewhere that is not children friendly

DontSHOUTTTTTT Mon 08-Apr-13 22:37:56

Maybe you could try 'training' him in an empty pub or cafe. The little blighters soon learn when they are on to a good thing and every time you let him walk around it reinforces his belief that mealtimes out are time to explore. You may have to suffer a few times before he gets the message. Maybe you could keep the meals super short until he get the hang of it.
15 months is still very little and they are never going to be perfect at that age but it may be worth persevering. (Depends on the kid a lot too)

Has he learnt to stay in his car seat?

I used to travel long haul with my three kids right from when they were babies and I basically never let them get out their seats except for going to the bathroom. It paid off and they were always good when I flew with them.

Good luck.

Sirzy Mon 08-Apr-13 22:39:23

Carvery places are normally quite good for 'training' toddlers as you don't need to wait for your food!

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 08-Apr-13 23:12:47

Catsize - you are the parent, you make your child sit still - train him. Provide little books, colouring, stickers etc if necessary, but if he is allowed to wander round the restaurant followed by his father, he will think this is acceptable behaviour. It's not. A child followed by an embarrassed looking ineffectual parent with one of those "oh what can you do?" expressions on their face is as irritating to other diners as the children wandering around on their own. And if he thinks this is acceptable at 15 months, he will want to wander round on his own when he is a bit older (when you are going through the terrible twos!). How are you going to tell him that this is unacceptable, when you condoned the behaviour when he was younger?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 08-Apr-13 23:18:28

Catsize - start now, otherwise you are going to have one hell of a battle on your hands.

Wet parenting is the most irritating aspect of all of this to those of us who take a firmer line.

FreudiansSlipper Mon 08-Apr-13 23:25:43

I can not see what you are doing wrong catsize

ds has never liked high chairs tended to sit on my lap but started to sit in them from about 2

he is used to eating out we probably eat out at least once a week more in the holidays. he knows how to behave himself will often do some drawing but I do not expect him to act like an adult and sit still if it is ok for him to wonder about (usually is in local pizza express) then he can or outside. I do not like seeing children bored at a table being forced to sit there while parents witter on

Dominodonkey Tue 09-Apr-13 00:11:01

"but I do not expect him to act like an adult and sit still if it is ok for him to wonder about (usually is in local pizza express)"


Just because you think it's ok doesn't mean that everyone else does.
If he is too young to sit still either take him outside in the street or don't go. Don't subject other people to your low standards.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 09-Apr-13 00:18:22

Low standards hmm

The local pizza express is a hang out for sahm with their children the vast majority of their customers in the day have children the restaurant is known for this so it is known that children have a bit more freedom

It does not mean that children are running about screaming as I have said previously I have not seen this in the restaurants we go to and ds does not do this

Dominodonkey Tue 09-Apr-13 00:27:31

"The local pizza express is a hang out for sahm with their children "

Not doubting you but it just shows the difference between the haves and the have nots, to most people I know pizza express is a treat and the vast majority of people do not want their treats spoiled by kids wandering around their tables. It is not too much to ask that children should be entertained quietly at their own tables or taken outside if it is necessary for them to walk about.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 09-Apr-13 00:39:01

It is not about that some places are more child friendly. The local Italian, thai and a few pubs are very much the same. Ds knows how to behave he does not run about screaming but he will have a little wonder if it is ok to. I have seen children being told by staff to go and sit down because they are annoying others and staff but you see this everywhere they will be acting up at he shopss to but do not lump all parents who give a little more freedom where they have judged it ok at a restaurant that is child friendly with those that just do not care

I have always been complimented on what a well behaved child ds is because he knows what is expected of him

CharlMascara Tue 09-Apr-13 00:43:29

The tables were fairly close together and the single man at the next table insisted on talking to us for the entire two hour

Or perhaps he was just lonely sad

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 00:54:21

I just can't help thinking yabu, just kids being kids? It can be hard 'keeping them under control' and I don't think I've ever got a bad reaction if 1 of my kids spoke to people or walked around somewhere, as long as they're being watched I can't see much of a problem

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 00:57:29

2 years old is very, very young. Different people have different parenting techniqes, get used to it everyone, its not harminug anyone

DontSHOUTTTTTT Tue 09-Apr-13 01:20:05

I find kids walking around restaurants or cafes really really irritating. Obviously, it is ok if it is an outside cafe type of place or a specific kid restaurant or cafe.

I actively avoid places where kids run around. It's lazy parenting. I dont know whose kids have SN and I don't know everyone's personal backstory so I don't sit there judging parents and throwing them dirty looks........but I don't go back.

I guarantee that my kids have irritated other people at some time or another, they are kids after all but I never let them wander around restaurants or cafes. It would irritate me and. I would be too conscious of the other customers.

hazeyjane Tue 09-Apr-13 06:13:16

Well, if any of the people saying it is unacceptable for small children to wander around, even if accompanied by an adult, please just bear in mind that it may be because the child has sn, before you eye roll or mutter or do the long hard stare.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 09-Apr-13 06:24:29

Hear hear

exoticfruits Tue 09-Apr-13 06:31:38

You probably don't MsBella, people are too polite- they just don't go back.
Of course it is hard looking after them,but as the parent that is your job- talk to them, find them things to do- don't leave it to strangers to do it for you.

FreakoidOrganisoid Tue 09-Apr-13 08:02:11

Oh god xh used to take dd up to random people's tables and stand and chat to them. I used to be mortified but no matter how much I'd implore him to keep dd away and let people eat their dinner in peace he couldn't see anything wrong with it.

MrsClown1 Tue 09-Apr-13 08:17:30

When I said to those parents that I was paying someone to look after mine and didnt want to look after theirs their response was to look at me like I was from another planet. They then rather loudly instructed their children not to go over to our table. So I thanked them and walked back to my table after pointing out that they may later end up in A & E if their kids end up getting burned after having hot food spilled over them! The kids didnt come over again so I got what I wanted. My DH was cringing but he knew I was right.

What some parents dont think of is that if you have no control over a 4/5/6 year old you have not got a prayer when they are teenagers. Im not saying my kids were perfect, they so were not and have both shown me up on occasions, but I dealt with it and didnt just let them carry on doing what they wanted. I remember taking my daughter out for the day and she was performing before we even got there so I turned the car around and went home. She knew on future trips that if i said we would go home if she didnt behave herself that I meant it.

Catsize Tue 09-Apr-13 08:18:51

Thanks for the advice folks. Particularly like being called a 'wet parent'. Funnily enough, have tried the distractions with books, crayons etc thing and it doesn't work. As someone said, each child is different. He can get out of most restaurant highchairs and unless we physically restrain him in his highchair (imagine the looks/racket then!), he gets out. Or dangerously stands in the chair. He is so incredibly physically strong (was able to walk across the room with a full-size Yamaha keyboard at 12mths) so it really is a bit of a struggle for his anaemic wet parent! :-)
I know it is annoying for others for me to be standing etc, hence reference to hardly ever going out and to declining Easter family meal. We ARE very considerate of others in all public places. More than many parens. But I figure we have to choose our battles, and until there is comprehension of why he has to sit at a table etc., it is a battle we are likely to lose.

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 08:22:49

Catsize - my sister has a collapsable booster seat from mothercare she keeps in the car which she fastens to restaurant seats and because it has a proper 5 way strap her son can't escape.

Goldmandra Tue 09-Apr-13 08:28:26

If you're following a child round you can stop them getting in the way of waiting staff and prevent them from approaching other tables. That's why you're following them.

If there isn't a part of the restaurant that they can explore without approaching other diners or getting in the way you should take them outside.

FanjoForTheMammaries Tue 09-Apr-13 08:32:12 are clearly doing your best.

Don't let the judgypeeps get to you smile

firesidechat Tue 09-Apr-13 08:41:25

Or perhaps he was just lonely

Of course he was lonely and I felt sorry for him, hence not telling him to get lost. However it did ruin our rare evening out at a time when we had almost no money for treats. We were camping in the Lake District in a second hand, leaky tent in monsoon weather.

We had two choices:

1) Tell him to get lost - would have felt bad and ruined our evening.

2) Put up with it - ruined our evening.

Anyway this isn't particularly relevant to the thread. Don't know why I mentioned it really.

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 08:56:02

Catsize, my child was like that and the screamfest that was made when he was made to stay in the chair omg, you couldn't pay me to deal with that again.

We used to to say 'right we are going home!' and he calmed down sort of.
At nearly 4 he's better now, although these 'family places' do love to have play area's,toy machines , sweet machines EVERYWHERE angry
I had a lot of health problems I wonder if they pick up on the fact you're able to do less and take advantage? I dunno.
I often try and bring some distractions, I know some people will whinge about this , but what about some phone games? in particularly bad sit.
I generally try and order something for my DC first so if he is hungry doesn't become hyper?
When dc and I have finished we go into the play area.

We don't have a table so I've accepted that until we do , table training may take a bit longer.

EasilyBored Tue 09-Apr-13 09:08:47

Am loving the idea that I could just distract me 15 month old with crayons or a couple of toys or books. Because it hadn't occurred to me to try that of course. No, I don't generally let my toddler walk around restaurants because I'm well aware of the dangers and the annoyance it might cause other people. I generally don't take him to restaurants because it is a nightmare. He is a toddler and sitting down quietly while he waits for the grown ups to take forever eating, in a new and exciting place is boring and frustrating. He is just not old enough to 'get it' yet. Going out to eat is not some essential task that he has to learn right now (like having to wait at the doctors or behave himself during the food shop). I take offence at the idea that somehow I am setting myself up for a lifetime of bad behaviour by simply choosing not to do something until it is age appropriate.

As it is, if we do out to eat, it's usually with people with other toddlers, so there is safety in numbers, or with family so there are a whole host of people to distract him from all the new, shiny, breakable things around him.

I don't think YABU to not want a hoard of kids rampaging around, but wanting to explore is natural and not being naughty and I just don't see why you would want to drain the curiosity out of your child before they were old enough to grasp why they need to sit quietly.

Catsize Tue 09-Apr-13 09:19:03

Feeling a bit better now, thank you. Was beginning to regret revisiting Mumsnet. Hadn't appreciated I would get any responses at all to my post. Just thought I was contributing a different perspective.
Sirzy, thank you for the tip. We have something similar but the result is per hairtearing's experience. Might try giving it another go though.
Our son will sit in a highchair at home, and did so when we went to a friend's house (we were surprised!), but it's just in public with new places to explore etc. He often refuses to eat as he is so interested in what's going on elsewhere.
Sometimes even at home there is a rigid body protest.
Re:car seat point, this is a bit different. The car is fairly boring, not much to explore, but does have the added interest of stuff gong past the window. Ferry queues and traffic jams have proved challenging however.
Son has never liked being restrained, whether in crib or cot or playpen or any other device. Including highchairs and carseats. We co-slept. Perhaps that is deemed 'wet parenting' too.
To those of you who describe yourself as taking a firm line, no doubt you can smugly say to your children that my son will be on drugs by the time he is eight and have an ASBO by nine and you clearly love your child much more than I love mine. Or something.
Hairtearing, I happen to know that one of our olympic medallists was very similar as a child, so let's not worry too much.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 09:20:52

I disagree that you can't take under 2's in a restaurant and expect them to behave. It doesn't always happen but you should expect it to and do your best to ensure children are not causing issues to others.

I don't think it is smug to have this expectation or to be proud of your children that do behave well. I have DSs and find it quite offensive that a poster has suggested the reason the OPs DCs behave is because they are DDs and her DS is a nightmare. My DSs are well behaved in restaurants but if they aren't they will be told off or taken outside if were having a tantrum or crying lots (as babies)

My 8 month old nephew was brilliant at a meal we were at last week for the whole 2 hours. He ate dinner with us, he played with toys then picked at some baby snacks. We had cuddles with him in between courses and he was fine. I felt quite proud of the fact that the 3 boys were so good. It is also very lovely when people comment as they are leaving on how well the children have behaved .

I will never understand why we have such low standards and expectations of children now!

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 09:24:55

Catsize it is very different actually trying to ensure your child behaves (which you are clearly doing) and those who allow their children to run around wildly (or scoot) whilst people are carrying food or trying to have a meal in peace.

EasilyBored Tue 09-Apr-13 09:26:49

A non walking eight month old? Of course he was fine.

A toddler wanting to see what is happening in a new place is not behaving badly. I can assure you that at 15 months, DS does not understand at all why he needs to stay in his seat. I could force him, but that wouldn't be fun on anyone. I could take him outside in the freezing cold and rain and let my dinner go cold. Or I could wait until he is older and can understand the situation better.

I don't think it has anything to do with sex, but it does have a lot to do with personality. Some children are just naturally more compliant and quiet. DS is not one of them.

Catsize Tue 09-Apr-13 09:31:51

Agree with you mrsmelons and easilybored.

Currently dreading trying to meet a friend for coffee this afternoon. :-)

Funny how we ascribe 'good' and 'bad' behaviour to babies. My nephew would happily sit in his highchair for ages. Not because he is better behaved, but because he is a very different character to my son.

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 09:35:01

I found between 1 and 2.5 the hardest for taking DS out as at that age they want to be off and exploring but don't understand as well when you are trying to reason with them.

At 3.5 we are now (generally!) ok when we go out, I suppose the fact we do it semi regularry helps. On days I know he is likely to be grouchy I will take his leappad out with us to try to stop it developing into a problem, generally he is happy with colouring books and a bag of trains or octonauts.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 09:36:18

Yes I get that about the 8mo but it was mention upthread that 8mo cannot 'behave'.

My boys were toddlers once(5 and 7 now) and were not always easy to keep occupied at a meal of course as they are no way perfect but our expectation was that they should. I am not so daft to not realise personality comes into it, DS2 is much more difficult than DS1 and there are certain places I would not take him as I wouldn't want to ruin other peoples experiences etc.

A toddler wanting to see whats happening in a new place is fine, I don't think that is what this thread is about, its the unruly out of control behaviour that annoys people. I do think a 15 mo understands but they are toddlers and don't always do as you want them to of course.

Can I just say - I have no problem with people taking their DCs for a wander or toddlers talking to me, but screaming, shouting and running around is not ok IMO.

Catsize Tue 09-Apr-13 09:37:11

mrsmelons, should clarify that 'smug' was a reference to slightly judgmental postings further up.

Latara Tue 09-Apr-13 09:48:29

I see some parents blatantly ignoring their children when they are out, including in restaurants / cafes - the child will be chatting away & their parent just ignores them.

So it's not surprising that the child starts wandering off... eg. there was a tiny toddler in Starbucks & her mum wasn't even bothered that people were tripping over her with hot drinks.

Catsize you sound like a good mum - you try to get your son to behave and you obviously engage with him.

I just get cross with people who don't seem to care much for their children's company, and / or don't care if they annoy others or get in dangerous situations.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 09:51:19

I hate this.

Back when I was a girl, the vast majority of parents would have been furious with their child for showing them up in public - and there would have been many disaproving stares from other diners if a toddler was running around a restaurant.

Nowadays, the culture has completely flipped over, and bizarrely people who now disapprove of children running around a restaurant are considered too uptight, child haterz, and humourless hmm

Typically, the types of parents who look on benignly as their child annoys other diners and trips up waiting staff - just can't be arsed to look after their own child, but would be the first to puff up with indignation if another diner complained, or a waiter spilt hot soup on their little darling.

A few years back, we were in a restaurant, while a toddler (2/3?) constantly wandered around our table, chatted to us, peered into my handbag, rubbed his dirty hand across my jacket...while his parents ignored him.

I spent the next few minutes deliberately waiting to catch his Mum's eye - when I finally did I just smiled widely, but said very cooly and clearly 'Would you like your little boy back now, please?'

She did some muttering, and huffing - He's just a toddler, that's what toddlers do to which I replied smilingly 'Well, mine don't' (our DDs had been in their chairs the entire time).

Frankly I didn't give a shit, whether she was annoyed or offended - just like she clearly didn't give a shit, whether we had been annoyed by her toddler.

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 10:03:02

There's a big difference between a child between 1-3 who is bored and a child who is screaming, running around tables.

When my dc did want to roam it was to machines, play area they had absolutely no interest in other people.

To balance it though I find tables of loud raucous adults who like to drop the sh & f bomb on a sunday afternoon just as annoying if not more, but these people would probably be the first to complain about children not seeing the irony.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 10:04:44

LaQueen I had a toddler come over to us in a restaurant and start going through my bag and taking stuff out. The parents just laughed and never actually called her back. Very weird!

MintyyAeroEgg Tue 09-Apr-13 10:07:17

If you cannot persuade your toddler not to run around in a restaurant then don't go out to eat. It is just not on, for all the reasons patiently explained on this thread, to let them run riot or disturb other people.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 10:07:28

Hair I have, and will call people on using foul language in front of children.

I am very democratic in my zero tolerance approach to naice behaviour smile

HazleNutt Tue 09-Apr-13 10:12:54

I live abroad and it's totally acceptable to take your dogs to restaurants here (and not just the handbag ones). But the dogs are expected to stay quiet and under the table. If your dog is unable to do that, you don't take it. If people would let them roam around, sniff people and steal food from the table, because that's what dogs do, I'm sure the current practice would soon change.

So whenever I read complaints here that UK restaurants are not child friendly and everybody eats out with their kids on the continent - well, there might just be a connection between the adoring 'but that's what toddlers do' parents and this.

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 10:15:43

Glad to hear it Queen, I get the impression some people on this thread would condone that higher than a curious child.

It sometime appears that adult bad behaviour is more accepted than childhood curiosity.

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 10:22:00

There's a huge difference between those trying to keep a kid entertained and those who just don't give a crap. If a parent is clearly trying to deal with their child then fine.

And if your child is bored why not take them somewhere that has things for a child to do? It is a huge thing to ask a small kid to sit at a table for a long time with nothing to do. Or take them to places where the service is quite quick so they aren't waiting forever for their food.

kelb6180 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:27:17

I work In a bar/restaurant and I see it all the time, parents not really keeping there child under control.

When I was a child, we behaved when in such places and if we misbehaved, cried etc we were taken outside and spoken to... If it continued we just left.

It's not like this nowadays and some parents don't seem to care about what people think around them. They let there children do as they please and on a sense ignore there children. It's not the child's fault, its the parents, the child is obviously bored and there parents haven't taught there child how to behave.

In a situation like this you have 3 choices, 1) approach the parents and tell them 2) speak to the manager on duty and explain the situation or 3) get on with it.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 11:33:09

I think restaurant managers need to play a role here, to be honest. They're happy to take your money but then expect you to put up with children tearing around, a baby crying its lungs out or, and I have seen this happen, a gang of noisy kids put sitting at a table next to a group of strangers while the adults go off and sit at another table by themselves.
Surely, in these situations, the manager should step in and not leave it to customers to either put up or have to deal with the situation themselves?

jenduck Tue 09-Apr-13 11:38:55

YANBU. We went out yesterday to Pizza Express, for DS2's 2nd birthday. DS1 is 4.4. Both sat nicely throughout the meal (although I took each to the toilet/for a nappy change once). That's not to say that DS2 didn't get a bit squawky at times, but when he did he was quickly distracted (spent a fair amount of time wiping the table with a baby wipe as I hadn't any toys with me grin). Both DSes enjoy eating out as a treat, and understand to some extent that if they don't behave when out, they won't go out with us.

Floggingmolly Tue 09-Apr-13 11:48:30

You'd think so, arabesque, wouldn't you? Sometimes they just refuse to get involved, though. We were at a place once where a couple produced a potty for their toddler right in the middle of the restaurant.
The child eventually jumped off (running off to vroom vroom his cars along other people's tables hmm), and they left the steaming pot of piss just sitting there in the aisle.
I complained to the manager, who seemed really embarrassed at the prospect of having a word with them, and attempted to mollify us with "never mind, I expect they'll be leaving soon, can I get you a drink on the house" hmm

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 11:53:15

Ew Flogging!

I think the correct response there would be to go to their table, pull down trousers and squat, with appropriate noises. grin

I mean okay, it was just a wee but what if the kid had done a steaming pile of poo? Would they have just left that as well?

And now I really want to go out food.

"but I do not expect him to act like an adult and sit still if it is ok for him to wonder about (usually is in local pizza express)"

It's not 'ok' for young children to wander about any restaurant that serves hot food or drinks unaccompanied. I'm assuming nobody would like a lasagne or cappuccino to land on their child' head?
It's very difficult for waiting staff to see things below knee level.

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 09-Apr-13 12:01:08

Yanbu. If you can't stop your child repeatedly going over to diners and accosting them at their tables then stick to McDonalds Drive Through.

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 12:04:27

What was wrong with the toilets in the restaurant?

I would have been tempted to 'accidentally' knock it over then the parents and staff would have seen what the problem was!


exoticfruits Tue 09-Apr-13 12:08:12

The huge problem with it that it is all supposed to be done to suit the mother who wants people to smile indulgently and not touch. What I would like to do is pick up the toddler and amuse them, but I can just imagine the fuss made by the mother if I dared do it! It is very frustrating to see parents not coping and yet you are supposed to quietly put up with it.

vladthedisorganised Tue 09-Apr-13 12:09:31

One of the complications is that if you're fairly strict about these things, then having other kids running about is seen as a signal to yours that it's OK.
I suffer a lot with this with my DD. "Oh good, that older kid is running up and down like a maniac, I'll join in!!!"

Actually I hate it when people 'helpfully' suggest that a meal out with DD would be lovely and relaxing (glares at SIL) if we're going to be indoors. Outside is OK where running around is possible, but generally it means that everyone else has a lovely relaxing meal while I frantically try to keep DD entertained. Some day she'll be content with colouring in for hours while the adults linger over their lunches, just not now. Baby steps and all that..

exoticfruits Tue 09-Apr-13 12:09:57

Parenting is hard work-it is difficult to get them to sit still-it doesn't mean that you just give up and let them get down. If you do that then you stay with them and take them out of the way for a walk.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 09-Apr-13 12:11:48

well the staff never complain because where he has wondered about is not an area where there are customers I would not let him wonder over to others and bother them

I agree if children are annoying others getting in the way it is for parents to say something and for staff to make sure all customers are kept happy but when you have a restaurant/cafe that is mainly used by parents with children and has a more relaxed atmosphere and they are happy making money that way then why would you go there expecting children to be seated and quiet at all times

I have never had anyone complain about ds I am lucky he is laid back and easy to take out but he is also so used to going to restaurants and cafes he knows that he can not play there like he would at a park

I went to the cinema the other week Saturday morning could I concentrate on the film not not really too many children chatting and fidgeting but I'd not not expect anything different

Well said exotic, it's not rocket science is it?

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 12:13:17

Baby crying is a uncontrollable noise, Its annoying yes but not bad behaviour.

I'm shocked by all these tales of toddler bugging peoples tables, had mine escaped he wants to head straight to the play area.

Also people seem to be talking about toddlers mainly here, which as its not okay to let them run about obviously have a lower attention span and will get bored easily and some places take bloody ages to serve.
What about older noisy kids, teens they annoy me more.

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 12:16:46

But if you can't control your babies crying you take them out. You don't sit in a restaurant while you baby/toddler/child screams and cries distracting everyone.

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 12:22:36

My kids (even my ds who is at the non-verbal end of the autistic spectrum) knew how to behave in a pub/restaurant. I do think it's important to consider what a place is like before you take kids there. Some places are better suited to families.

Dd certainly knows how to behave (teenager) and has never annoyed anyone in a restaurant - though she is plenty annoying at home. grin

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 12:22:59

Agree with exotic as always smile

Our DDs have excellent table manners, and have done since they were very little. They have never been allowed to get down from the table and wander about a restaurant/cafe - neither have they ever been allowed to fuss noisily at the table, to the extent that it would annoy other diners.

Did we find a magic wand, and wave it over their heads when they turned two?

No, of course not. We worked hard at teaching them how to behave appropriately in a restaurant. It wasn't easy, it took effort and patience, and a few times we had to down cutlery and just leave.

But, all our hard work paid off. Their table manners are excellent, they understand that sometimes they just have to sit still for a while (yes, even if that means they're gasp a teeny bit bored) and they're encouraged to join in the conversation, and actually engage in what's happening at the table.

End result is since they were very little, there's been lots and lots of happy, relaxed family meals out, where we never, ever have to worry that they won't behave beautifully.

Smug? Hell yeah, I worked very hard to achieve I damn well deserve to be smug smile

Loulybelle Tue 09-Apr-13 12:23:56

My sisters wedding last year, there were 7 kids under 5, two were the bride and grooms kids, 4 belong to 2 of the bridesmaids and the other to the brides friend.

I was amazed at how well behaved the kids were, during dinner you wouldnt have even know they were there.

Its reasonable to expect parents to keep some control over their children, mainly for their safety, a restaurant is not a playground, dont know why parents assume so.

MansView Tue 09-Apr-13 12:24:50

tricky one - but then it was a child friendly place - that's why I tend to avoid them... smile

but parents should control their kids...always a bad sign if they're unable to...

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 12:24:55

I know baby crying is uncontrollable but that doesn't mean the parent cannot pick the baby up and take them outside somewhere to calm down. It is very unfair to expect other diners to listen to this while eating a meal they have paid for and expect to enjoy.

Yes, of course other people in restaurants can be annoying as well (shouting into mobile phones, getting drunk and raucous etc)and there have been other threads about this. But saying its okay to let your baby/toddler annoy other customers because some adults also behave badly in restaurants does not make sense.

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 12:25:45

True you should try and calm them but I don't think a distressed baby is comparable to bad behaviour.

I would think poor love dealing with that crying all day, rather than 'they are obviously bad parents'

I was sat next to a table once and this I'd say young toddler was screaming and I mean screaming for hours, I wanted to give the poor kid a dummy and/or a hug. It was like 7.30 I think he needed to be in bed.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 12:27:01

Also, the problem is, if you don't teach your toddler appropriate behaviour in a restaurant/cafe...then you often end up with 6/7...10/11 year olds, who are apparently incapable of sitting at the table for more than 30 minutes, and need constant diversion/entertaining/have to roam the room/kick the table leg/drop cutlery/faff with napkins/moan bitterly that they're bored.

We have friends, with 10//11 year olds who think it's cruel to expect their children to sit at a restaurant table for more than 30 minutes, and turn a blind eye to their constant annoying antics.

Bananasinfadedpjs Tue 09-Apr-13 12:27:19

Everyone struggles sometimes to get their young kids to sit nicely in a restaurant, but just allowing them to run around because you can't be bothered to deal with their behaviour or take them outside is really bad, unpleasant for other diners, unsafe, and difficult for those who make it a rule for their own children that they are not allowed to get down from the table.

If my DC see other children running around, then obviously they want to as well, and it's much harder to then explain to them that they can't.

If my DC leave the table during a meal at home, that's it, meal over. They know that, and even the 20 month old tends to stay seated until she's finished. I have the same rule in restaurants - you can visit the loo, but otherwise you must remain at the table at all times. DD2 tends to switch between her chair and adult laps once she starts getting bored, but she knows she can't get down. If she really can't sit still any longer then we'll take her outside.

All children misbehave sometimes, the key thing is that the adults with them should at least try to respond appropriately.

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 12:28:18

You can bet those adults who don't behave well in restaurants were allowed to roam freely in them as kids wink

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 12:28:54

Erm, at no point did I say a child running around is okay,

What I mean is I think some people focus on that when I think there are bigger annoyances in restaurants.

Alligatorpie Tue 09-Apr-13 12:29:15

Freud I don't understand. You let your son wander around in areas of restaurants where there are no customers? Like the staff room? I find that very concerning.

OP - i too worked in restaurants while at uni (even pizza express and we didnt allow children to run around) and it drove me nuts how parents
Didnt supervise their children. Now i am the mean mommy who doesnt let her children run around when we can clearly see others doing it.

lambsie Tue 09-Apr-13 12:29:35

My son who is 5 has severe sn. We stop him from wandering about by taking him outside or strapping him into his sn buggy. He is noisy though and although we try to limit this as much as possible, he still makes noises and bangs on things. He doesn't understand what being quiet is. Now that he is older and is quite obviously disabled, people tend to be tolerant (apart from staring) but a couple of years ago we used to get tuts and disapproving looks.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 12:32:19

I worked as a waitress whilst a student - you genuinely cannot see anything below knee/hip height, especially when carrying heavy trays.

I had some very nasty near misses, when a toddler wandered under my feet. They should not be allowed to wander around, under any circumstances.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 09-Apr-13 12:33:42

I totally agree with OP except I would have no annoyance with the child and purely with the adults who were ignoring the child.

In the past I have been known to gently say to child chatting at our table "well it has been lovely to meet you but go back to Mummy and Daddy so I can eat my dinner" and repeated the last bit gently over and over slightly louder each time so that the point would get across.

I do have 2 kids who I can take anywhere. and this is not by accident it is by design. we have never expected more of them than is reasonable. knowing that they used to get fidgety often we would order then DH or I would take the kids outside for a wander until the meal had arrived.

I also clearly remember an elderly relative telling me that the best lesson I can teach my children is to cope with boredom, as alot of life is boring.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 12:38:30

And, in my current job, I work in a clinical environment. We have members of staff carrying clinical waste, carrying used instruments etc.

There's clear signs up designanting where patients can/can't be.

But, there's always parents who just let their DCs wander about, clamber on the seating, bang on the desks...we had one patient, who let her DC knock repeatedly on the decontamination room door, and when the nurse opened the door, the child pushed past her into the room - and the Mum just laughed 'Oh, he's very nosy, he just wants to come and look' hmm

And, IME these are always the same parents, who when their DC is in the dentist chair, can't even get their child to open their mouth for a simple exam hmm

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 12:41:51


No one has said that someone who's baby is crying in a restaurant is a bad parent. But someone who just sits there and does nothing about it is an inconsiderate parent. Even if they've had a bad day, that does not excuse them ruining other people's meals. A lot of those customers have paid babysitters to take care of their children, or are celebrating a special occasion, or are going to great lengths to ensure their children do not disturb other customers, or may have had a bad day themselves and are now trying to relax and get over it. They should not have to eat their meal to the backdrop of someone else's baby screaming.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 09-Apr-13 12:44:22

Yes in the staff room my ds loves it in there and the kitchen too

a quiet corner he may wander around my table and one next to me if others are not around. Like I said in previous post when it is ok to meaning not getting in the way of others

the restaurants we tend to go to and just off to are fine with this and children on the whole are well behaved some even have a little reading/toys corner

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 12:52:55

I agree all I said like I posted above, I come across plenty of adult/teen a bad behaviour and people seem less irritated by that then children essentially being children. Which to me doesn't make sense.

I think as well if you are in a 'child friendly' place you have to have slightly more flexible standards than in a 'posh resturant' if you don't like kids avoid them.

As much as you can't expect people to constantly suffer your children in their face at dinner time and wandering around peoples tables etc , I don't expect my children to sit in silence and suffer their intolerance.

Plus the people in charge have a lot too answer for, like I said before, everywhere you turn is a sweet, toy machine or something else to that affect and to a hungry, hyperactive child its like honey to a bee and just makes everything more difficult for a parent.

And some kids ARE more laid back than others, a lot of smug parent are just parents of easy kids.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 12:59:24

Nobody's saying children should sit in silence. I agree that gangs of obstreperous teenagers oblivious to everyone else in the restaurant, or an office party shouting and roaring so the people at the adjacent tables can't have a proper conversation are really really annoying and just as bad as parents who sit there letting their child scream, shout, tear around or constantly interrupt other diners. But this thread is about inconsiderate parents so that is why people are discussing children being annoying in restaurants and not other scenarios.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Tue 09-Apr-13 13:19:53

hairtearing, trust me I am not a parent of an easy child..
getting him to the age of 9 has so far been physically and mentally crippling, however, it is my JOB to give him skills that will help him through life.

hairtearing Tue 09-Apr-13 13:25:36

Are you a smug parent though? NeverKnowinglyUnderstood its often those who are 'just say no' when it doesn't always work.

I suppose I was just explaining I think we live sometimes in a very child intolerant world where adult bad behaviour is more accepted, which is sad.

angelos02 Tue 09-Apr-13 13:39:30

Children should not be wandering away from their table. I don't see why this is even an issue. If they are too young or unable to sit still, get a babysitter. Does it ever occur to parents that people are just being polite in engaging with the child? It has never happened to me but I would be furious if a child walked up to my table and started yacking away.

dropdeaddivalover Tue 09-Apr-13 13:39:44

I'm afraid I am one of those parents who have left toddler to have a little cry in restaurant.

Toddler is SN and does not understand appropriate behaviour, I am often tired, we only go out occasionally and always to parent friendly places and never after 4pm.

I'm afraid sometimes I don't care what others think, I will take DD out if she is over the top in restaurant but I don't see why I have to miss the meal I have paid for if she has been crying for a couple of minutes or banging her highchair.

Some may disagree but that's just life.

angelos02 Tue 09-Apr-13 13:43:09

dropdeaddivalover that is bang out of order - to disturb a whole restaurant. But hey, as long as you get your meal eh?

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 13:45:22

What about all those other people who have paid for their meals? As long as you are ok though then thats fine.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 13:46:41

Regardless of SN (of course sometimes there may be explanations for toddlers behaviour which is noones business) but that attitude is awful!

exoticfruits Tue 09-Apr-13 13:54:14

I often see parents out with DCs and they are expecting the child just to sit quietly and yet they are holding a conversation that is way over the DC's head and doesn't include them, or they are even on a mobile phone to someone else.
You do have to converse with them or play games like 'I Spy' to keep them engaged. You have to sit at the table at home and get them used to sitting at it until the meal is over. I think that it is perfectly possible to 'train' DCs (unless they have SN).
It is however easier to just say it is too difficult and let them roam. It is no surprise then that some establishments won't take children, and penalises those who would be fine, just because some parents won't take responsibility for their own DC's behaviour.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 13:54:17

Everyone's paid for their meal dropdead. Other people in the restaurant may have had a hard day or be tired or whatever. If they used that as an excuse to get drunk and raucous and ruin your meal, how would you feel?

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 13:55:02

Its not out of order, what should she do put her dc in a box..? But then dc will still make noise confused

In my opinion, kids do sometimes make noise! That is how they are! I personally correct bad behaviour so if my dc was hitting their brother or sister then that would be a problem but wandering around a bit or chatting to someone? I fail to see a problem, I've always got my eye on them, nobodys ever complained. And yes sometimes young children do cry or have a little tantrum, personally I have more than 1 dc so I can't and won't pick the young 1 up and make all my family stop eating so we can go and sit outside until the tantrum stops... hmm

It is natural toddler behaviour!

dropdeaddivalover Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:27

Tough luck about the attitude.

I never let my DD cry for longer than a couple of minutes and if she gets louder I take her outside or into the ladies room so she can calm down.

I never let her damage others property and if she is banging on her highchair I will always distract/ or place hands between her and chair.

If I did not go out when she MIGHT kick off then i would NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE!!!!!

Sorry if a disabled child ruins your meal for a few minutes but life is hard enough without feeling that u cant leave the house because u might offend someone.

So I have developed a thick skin.

Plus unless u understand anything about severe learning difficulties or any SN then you should not disregard that toddler who may be acting up or the frazzled parents who don't jump up in reaction to it!

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:47

Its NOT about being lazy or a bad parent hmm if my dc wants a little wander around the room and isn't harming anyone or anything I don't know what the problem is... I used to hate sitting still when I was young

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 13:58:03

I don't think a bit of noise for a few minutes whilst a tired parent shovels down a couple of mouthfuls of a meal whilst it's still warm is too much to ask.

A bit of compassion and understanding would be nice and it's not like just letting the kid run around which is dangerous.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 13:58:04

Also I really don't think it only applies to SN DCs.

exoticfruits Tue 09-Apr-13 14:00:26

but wandering around a bit or chatting to someone? I fail to see a problem, I've always got my eye on them, nobodys ever complained

They are too polite!
I take it that you wouldn't mind me picking them up and telling them a story to keep them amused? I bet not. hmm I bet I am supposed to behave the way that you want me to behave-smile indulgently and don't touch! It is the peculiar 'my child-my rules' which outside your own home is a complete myth!

exoticfruits Tue 09-Apr-13 14:02:46

* I used to hate sitting still when I was young*

And most likely your parents didn't make you-hence the problem.

These are the same people who probably let a baby cry or a toddler talk in a school play without taking them out immediately.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:02:49

Hmm good point actually but surely kids have the right to do it just as adults do and you wouldn't pick an adult up/touch them

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:03:03

The harm, Bella, is that being short he could easily be overlooked by a waiter carrying something hot, and being young he doesn't have the experience to keep out of harm's way, so could easily cause an accident either to himself or others and will almost certainly make the work of the restaurant staff harder.

Let's face it, most restaurants are laid out on the assumption that customers will get in, get themselves seated and then sit down: there simply isn't the room for people to go on walks in a restaurant without inconveniencing both the staff and other guests. This is why toddler play areas and other places which are designed to have children running around tend not to allow hot drinks or hot food or sharp objects where the children are. But you could hardly have a "nothing hot or sharp" rule in a restaurant.

Walks - whether by adults or children- should be taken outside the restaurant. If that means adults have to take it in turns to accompany a child, then that's just a normal part of parenting. It's either that or keep them entertained at the table.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:04:08

But we're not talking about that YoutheCat. We're talking about prolonged crying and screaming while the parents continue calmly with their meal, taking their time and being completely oblivious to the annoyed looks they're getting from other diners.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:04:18

Wow exotic you're making assumptions <rolls eyes>

I don't like the idea of forcing a kid to stay still and be quiet, its not natural for all kids

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 14:05:01

Angelos wasn't. And I thought it was totally out of order.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:05:06

"but surely kids have the right to do it just as adults do"

An adult customer who kept wandering around the restaurant getting in the way of the waiters and interrupting the conversations of other guests would almost certainly be asked to leave. And rightly so.

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 14:05:23

And actually neither were you.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:06:35

Surely people should make allowances for CHILDREN

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:08:33

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:04:18
"Wow exotic you're making assumptions <rolls eyes>

I don't like the idea of forcing a kid to stay still and be quiet, its not natural for all kids"

You don't have to force them if you have planned it well ahead. Story telling, games, planning to start an interesting conversation just as you get to the boring bit, having a rota for taking them outside if they need a bit of a run.

It's hard work, but if you, the parent, don't do the hard work, it will be other people- most likely the already hard working waiters- who end up doing it.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:09:23

"but surely kids have the right to do it just as adults do"

Since when have adults had the right to wander around restaurants getting in the way of staff, or to go up to random tables of strangers interrupting their conversation and making themselves the centre of attention.
I think they would find themselves pretty quickly being asked to sit down by management.
The only reason adults usually walk around a restaurant is if they're going to the loo or outside to answer their mobile. And because they're adults they know how to navigate their way across the room without tripping up staff or banging into the backs of people's chairs etc.

insanityscratching Tue 09-Apr-13 14:09:55

I understand dropdead that sometimes you just feel overwhelmed because having two children with autism (ds has severe autism) I have felt the same way quite often. I still don't think it is fair though that others should have their meals ruined though as a result.
Ds and dd behave impeccably when eating out but that didn't come easily and I have had to work hard at it. I have also had to acknowledge that on bad days and when ds was younger it wasn't possible, advisable or rational to take him out for a meal so I'd take him to run circuits at the local park instead.
Now he sits quite happily with the ipod and the earphones to cut out the background noise he finds difficult and when he was younger I had a bag of tricks and snacks that kept him amused but there were still days and still are days when I wouldn't take him out for dinner not just because of upsetting other diners but because it is highly stressful and upsetting for him.

HazleNutt Tue 09-Apr-13 14:10:00

but wandering around a bit or chatting to someone? I fail to see a problem

As has been already discussed in this thead:
a) other people might want to eat in peace and not entertain your DC.
b) waiters walking around with hot and heavy items are simply unable to see a wandering toddler.

If you don't want to force your kids to sit still, then it would make sense to wait with going to restaurants where people generally are expected to sit still and not wander around?

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:10:26

Cory, some children are so excited to be somewhere like that that they aren't as interested in those things which I do every day at home.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:10:39

Yes I was YoutheCat. DropDead only clarified in a second post that she didn't allow the baby to cry for more than a couple of minutes before taking him out.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:11:04

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:06:35
"Surely people should make allowances for CHILDREN"

What kind of allowances? Not caring if you risk spilling hot coffee over their heads because they ran out in front of you in a crowded restaurant? Not caring if you drop an expensive meal and lose a customer because they didn't have the time to wait while it was cooked again?

And why is failing to keep your own children entertained not making allowances? Don't you enjoy talking to them?

YouTheCat Tue 09-Apr-13 14:12:49

Fair enough, Arabesque.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:13:23

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:10:26
"Cory, some children are so excited to be somewhere like that that they aren't as interested in those things which I do every day at home."

Then you take them outside. Or keep something special for going out- a special game or a new story which you make up for the occasion.

It is not the waiter's problem.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:13:46

Jesus christ cory you're being ridiculous now!!! Of course I like talking to them, please read my previous post explaining.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:14:47


Having read this thread and seeing that the vast, vast majority of posters do not like children wandering up to them in restaurants and interrupting their meal, or getting in the way of waiting staff, do you still insist it's okay for you to allow this type of behaviour from your child?

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:14:52

Cory as I said, if someone is a single parent or is there without other adults then it would mean making all dcs stop and come outside, ridiculous

MintyyAeroEgg Tue 09-Apr-13 14:18:06

Am utterly bemused by this thread! When you say that no one has ever complained about your dc going up to their table and chatting, Miss Bella, that doesn't mean they welcomed the intrusion. They were very probably just being polite, as many posts on this thread testify.

People do make allowances for children. There probably will be more noise and mess and more to-ing and fro-ing to the toilet in a family restaurant. But why should people make allowances for children running around? It is dangerous for a start! Do people really have to keep repeating this until it finally gets through?

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:19:40

Do you really think while this is happening I'm not keeping an eye on them to make sure its not dangerous?

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:19:57

Yes, but I still don't get why you are prepared to risk a dangerous situation (as explained before: hot foods, sharp objects, crowded spaces) because you are not prepared to come up with a plan for a new entertainment only kept for restaurants or take them outside- or even give up on the restaurants until your dc is old enough to cope.

So what would you say if there was an incident: say a waiter trips over your ds and falls on top of him with a heavy tray of hot food- would you still be ok with that, or would you blame the waiter?

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:22:21

Cory I think its a bit wrong to even suggest that.

And a new plan for entertainment? Do you understand that all children are different and sometimes they want to explore a new place a little bit (within my view) and maybe be friendly to people they've never seen before

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 14:22:24

I worked in a cafe when I was a student. I was carrying a tray of empty dishes when a child ran infront of me I couldn't see the child - somehow I managed not to drop the tray onto the child but it could have been so nasty, even worse if I had been carrying hot drinks.

When in a cafe or restaurant children need to be sat down no ifs buts or maybes (unless they are accompanied by an adult who is controlling them)

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:22:56

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:14:52
"Cory as I said, if someone is a single parent or is there without other adults then it would mean making all dcs stop and come outside, ridiculous"

I have done plenty of travelling alone with children: if you cannot get up and leave (for instance because you are in a plane or on a crowded coach), then you just have to work harder on entertaining them.

But when it comes to going to restaurants on your own with dc- why do you have to do it if you are really struggling that much? It's not compulsory: if the children don't like it and there is no other adult there, why even do it?

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:23:33

Cory as I said, if someone is a single parent or is there without other adults then it would mean making all dcs stop and come outside, ridiculous

No, it is ridiculous to think that your failure to supervise your kids should be permitted to become any one else's problem.

If you can't manage to look after your child or children properly in a restaurant (which means, yes, keeping them in a seat and relatively quiet), then you should not go. If you are a lone adult with multiple children, then yes - when one acts up, you all have to leave. (Actually, that helps kids learn to behave, believe it or not!)

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 14:23:43

If he wants to explore then you hold his hand and walk with him. Too leave a young child walking alone is an accident waiting to happen

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:24:05

But the children do like it...?

angelos02 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:25:11

YY cory If you are unable to control your children in restaurants, don't go to them. By the way, I can guarantee that no-one doesn't mind other people's children going up to them in a restaurant setting. Your kids are pissing people off if they do that.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:25:49

I know several ex-waitresses who have had accidents and near accidents in the course of their work: a restaurant is simply not a safe environment for a small child to explore.

Why do you think toddler groups do not allow anyone to carry hot drinks in the play area?

If your child knocked a cup of coffee over (and I have seen this happen), there is no way you'd get there quickly enough to avert an accident. And a hot drink does a surprising amount of damage on sensitive skin.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 14:26:27

Dropdead you have now explained that you don't just leave your toddler to disrupt so you are in fact one of the parents that do care about causing a disruption so therefore not one of the parents people are discussing on this thread!

I don't think people expect toddlers to be as quiet as adults or even older children but it is the running around and wild behaviour being allowed to happen most people object to.

This does not just go for restaurants, its anywhere really - I paid £60 for a theatre ticket and had to ensure a 2/3 year old crying and climbing around me at a show that was not for children at all. Is that ok also just because its hard to control toddlers or that she may have had SN. I really can't see the difference as its not actually a specific place for children either.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:26:28

Also why is it always 'if its annoying someone a bit it needs to stop NOW'

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:27:11

"but wandering around a bit or chatting to someone? I fail to see a problem, I've always got my eye on them, nobodys ever complained"

Fact is, majority of people are too polite to complain, but they may well be very resentful of being expected to engage with/entertain someone else's child for a while. Why should they, exactly?

As for 'keeping an eye on them' ...that's not actually much use, when your child is several yards away, and gets under the feet of a busy waiter, hurrying with a tray, is it?

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:27:29

Do you understand that all children are different and sometimes they want to explore a new place a little bit (within my view) and maybe be friendly to people they've never seen before

Seriously? read that back to yourself. Do you really think the rest of the population is there to provide a stimulating environment for your children?
No. A restaurant is not a park to be "explored". Other patrons may well not be interested in your children's "friendly" interruptions. This is totally narcissistic behaviour on your part.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:28:35

"Cory as I said, if someone is a single parent or is there without other adults then it would mean making all dcs stop and come outside, ridiculous"

So how on earth do you discipline your children in a public place if you can't cope with this concept? Of course, everybody has to leave if there is one child that cannot be controlled. That's known as parenting. People who cannot cope with this would do well not to have more than one child.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:30:23

What do people suggest I do then?
Stop all my dcs enjoying themselves at go home?
Drag young dcs back to the table and restrain them tightly?

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:31:15

""but surely kids have the right to do it just as adults do"

Sooooo, if an adult decided to wander about, insist on engaging other diners in unwanted conversations, peer in other people's hand-bags, wipe their dirty hands across someone's coat, shout loudly and randomly for several minutes, and then trip up a waiter...

...that would be okay, would it hmm

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:31:23

Everyone has a different parenting style, cory...

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:32:20


I can understand someone shrugging and saying 'what can I do' if a child won't stop crying in a supermarket or on a bus or in some other place where a parent is by necessity.

But you choose to go to a restaurant and eating in a restaurant is a treat not a necessity or an entitlement. Therefore if your child can't be in a restaurant without wandering all over the place and annoying other people or making a lot of loud noise and disturbing other diners then, sorry, you shouldn't bring him there.

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:32:35

Stop all my dcs enjoying themselves at go home?

Now you've got it! YES.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:32:59

I think children who have sn are to be treated differently in that i would assume their parents are trying to deal with their behaviour and a bit of noise etc is understandable.

But children wandering round in a restaraunt is not ok, its dangerous!

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 14:33:06

You could just not go to restaurants until your children are old enough to sit at a table? Try Mc Donald's instead?

Radical suggestions, I know!

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:34:09

SERIOUSLY??!!!! Stop all my DCs enjoying themselves at march them all home and upset them all... its actually pretty upsetting that somebody wants that brdgrl

insanityscratching Tue 09-Apr-13 14:34:14

I would say if you can't manage all your children in the restaurant and they can't all meet a reasonable level of behaviour then yes you should take them home. I speak as a mum of five including the two with autism but then I don't expect others to find my children as interesting or entertaining as I might.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:34:20

Also, if you are uncomfortable with, or are incapable of getting your child to sit still, and behave quietly in an appropriate fashion - then it's really very, very, very simple.

Don't. Take. Them. To. An. Environment. Where. Sitting. Still. And. Behaving. Quietly. Is. The. Expected. Societal. Norm.

Yes, it really is that easy smile

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:34:59

Clouds, what if an older dc wants a birthday treat not at mcdonalds or somewhere...

sparkle12mar08 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:35:25

Ms Bella "What do people suggest I do then?
Stop all my dcs enjoying themselves at go home?

Yes, absolutely. It's shockingly bad manners to allow your children to disrupt other diners. It's your job to teach them and you're clearly failing to do it.

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:35:31

If your "parenting style" is rude and inconsiderate of other people, don't expect other people to just shrug and say "ah, well, every parent is different."

There are some basic expectations of being a well-mannered person. Exerting a reasonable degree of control over your children in public places is one of those.

TomArchersSausage Tue 09-Apr-13 14:35:40

'Drag young dcs back to the table and restrain them tightly'

Sounds like a plangrin

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:36:31

...and yes. Seriously.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:36:37

"Stop all my dcs enjoying themselves at go home?"

Hell, yeah. Most definitely.

I have marched my DDs out of a restuarant (and my 2 DNs, actually) when after a couple of warnings, I felt their behaviour was becoming annoying to other diners.

Simple as that smile

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 14:36:39

Clouds my friend does exactly that - Macdonalds or sometimes Nandos as they have booths which means the DCs can be more contained. She wouldn't want to have her meals out ruined by badly behaved children so in the same way she doesn't subject other people to her children being a bit unruly!

I am absolutely baffled by how selfish some people are!

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:36:55

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:31:23
"Everyone has a different parenting style, cory..."

Everybody has a responsibility not to let their child put themselves or others at risk. A small child wandering around in a crowded restaurant is putting both itself and the waiter at risk.

As for stopping your children from enjoying themselves:

a) your children's enjoyment is not actually more important than anybody else's enjoyment

b) your children's future happiness does depend to a great extent on their ability to get on with other people. That includes the understanding of a).

You are having us on, aren't you Bella? Your later posts are becoming more and more tongue in cheek, non?

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:37:09

And yes other children.being allowed to wander round is a pita as mine want to join them anf i have to say no!

An example not in a restaraunt was at a graveyard when other children and some adults were clambering and climbing all over the headstones!! Not ok and i wouldnt allow mine to do this but i then had ro endure the whining if 'but they are' and that meant me having to say cut the whining or we will leave. It was a graveyard on top of a hill wherd people had congregated to watch the red arrows. a lovely event that should have bern enjoyable.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:37:23

I'm failing my job?? I'm a good mum ffs

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:37:38

Clouds, what if an older dc wants a birthday treat not at mcdonalds or somewhere...

Well, MsBella, you see it's actually not all about you and your dcs. The bottom line is that you and your family do not have the right to disturb and annoy other diners in a restaurant. So you should be making all your decisions based on that very simple to understand foundation.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:38:24

No you're not if you can't teach your children manners. It's your job.

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:38:26

Restraining them would be a good first step, but with many kids, that's going to bring on shouting. In which case, step 2 - remove them so that other people can get on with their business. And the kids can learn that if they act up, the outing is over.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:38:34

ok, just read last post, Bella. It was good while it lasted and you certainly had me drawn in. But not any more. grin

motherinferior Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:01

I have quite enough of children at home, thank you. On the regrettably rare occasions when I go out without them, I really do not want to hang out with more of them.

Don't get me wrong - I love my kids dearly. It's just that I quite like not being with them too.

dropdeaddivalover Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:18

unfortunately we have been in a burger king before when DD kicked off as we were waiting 4 food. The man queued behind DH shouted 'cant u shut that child up' . She had screamed once at this point.

I was calming DD down when this happened so did not hear. DH explained DD was disabled and the man replied that 'he did not care'.

So unfortunately clouds and trees u cannot please all the people all the time sad

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:32

Cory, my older ones have grown up just fine without learning self sacrifice etc. Getting on with people is another matter than this. Toddlers are too young to be being punished in my opinion.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:34

I have to agree with all the others - don't take them or teach them reasonable behaviour!

I have taken my DCs home from a toddler group before when they behaved badly and that is a place for children to run aronud etc but I do not expect them to behave badly or not do as they are told ANYWHERE. I even expect some level of decent behaviour in Macdonalds but as there are no plates or cutlery it does not deserve the same effort as a proper restaurant grin

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 14:40:01

If an older dc wants the treat of a restaurant then you explain to them that you just can't provide that at the same time as entertaining their sibling.

Or you get a babysitter.

Or you let them choose from other treats that can accommodate younger ones.

Or, you make all your children stay at the table with you.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:40:18

bella if your children want a bday treat at a restaraunt then they have to know that they need to sit and behave. If they dont they leave, its a treat not essential and they need to be able accordingly, if they dont they dont get the treat, simple.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:41:19

Arabesque, sometimes the older ones want a birthday treat in a restaurant should I refuse that? Ffs and cory what? Just because I have a different opinion?

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:41:49

ah - bella is just winding us up.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:42:10

I have always followed a very simple tenet.

I love my DDs, and because I love them, I really, really want other people to like them, and respond positively towards them. It makes their lives immeasurably smoother and more pleasant smile

Therefore, I have raised them to be well mannered, fairly considerate of others, and to behave appropriately to whatever situation they are in.

If you aren't bothered whether other people like your DCs, and you don't care if other adults grind their teeth in irritation every time they come into contact with your DCs - then fine, whatever...don't bother teaching them any manners, and don't bother raising them to be socially adept.

Well done.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:42:13

Seggs I said an older dc, one that does sit still etc. They shouldn't be punished because their younger sibling isn't sitting still.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:42:14

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:39:32
"Cory, my older ones have grown up just fine without learning self sacrifice etc. Getting on with people is another matter than this. Toddlers are too young to be being punished in my opinion."

Ah, punished by not being taken to a restaurant where they may put themselves and others at risk. 'tis a hard life.

Noone is saying you should punish them- just keep them under control. Do whatever you do at soft play if they snatch another child's toy or push them over. Or would that be interfering with their enjoyment too?

CloudsAndTrees Tue 09-Apr-13 14:42:22

Really Bella, you need to take the hint. Other people do not want to be disturbed in any way, shape or form when they are in restaurants. You can either be a decent parent and ensure that that doesn't happen, or you can be self entitled, rude and annoying.

Would you really rather be seen as the latter?

HazleNutt Tue 09-Apr-13 14:43:01

well yes, if you want the younger dc present and the older requests that you go to a place clearly not suitable for the younger, then you either get a babysitter or you don't go to that place.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:43:05

LaQueen I have done that! But we are talking about very young children ffs...

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:43:36

dropdead that man was an arse, i am sorry to have to deal with people lije that sad

And i agree with laqueen i have worked bloody hard teaching my five how to behave in a social setting when out. Its not easy, i think it helps that we all eat at the table togethrt ar home and good table manners and behaviour are expected at home as well, so i am not asking something new and unusual of them.

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 14:44:43

Not getting exactly the birtday treat you want is not being punished, Bella. Surely, it would be a simple case of explaining to the older child that a meal in a restaurant isn't a good idea at the moment and come up with alternative plans for a fun treat.

My dc never had McDonald's birthdays because we couldn't afford them. It wasn't a punishment. Ds can't have the active holiday he'd like because of dd's disability. It's not a punishment. Not getting everything you fancy is not a punishment.

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:45:34

Bella I am also talking about very young children.

I started teaching my DDs good table manners, as soon as they were old enough to be out of a hi-chair.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:46:10

We do eat around the table at home.

Why should all my DCs, for example when an older one is enjoying a birthday meal be forced to stop and taken home upset? It makes no sense at all.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:47:28

bella i have five from 13-2 yrs. If an elder child wants a treat i think isnt suitable for my little ones i arrange childcare or i plan to ensure it will be ok ie they arent going to be tired etc and if the trip had to be cut short i would make sure to do something else with the elder child.

Children of different ages need to learn they cant always do what they want. So when my elder ones wanted to do goape rhe little ones were told they were too little, and when ds4 had a soft play party the elder ones were told they were too old to go. Thats life and you have to manage expectations and behaviour.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:47:42

Cory we know that ffs, my words keep getting twisted. Why shouldn't they get the treat they want though just because it is possible some people will be slightly annoyed


sparkle12mar08 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:47:43

FFS, because that's what happens when they misbehave! Peer pressure has a big part to play. But clearly you don't believe that normal social rules should apply to you and yours. Good luck for the future, you're going to need it...

sparkle12mar08 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:48:30

Sometimes I feel justified in judging, I really do...

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:49:31

laqueen agree infact even when in a highchair they can still be taught, dd is not allowed to bang cuttlery or throw food for example, when they did the cuttlery and food was removed.

Toddlers are quite bright, they need lots of reinforcement and positive oraise but they can learn.

Sirzy Tue 09-Apr-13 14:49:33

So at what stage do you start punishing children?

Toddlers are more than old enough to begin to learn that they have to sit quietly? Nobody expects perfect behaviour but parents have to have boundaries in place.

If everyone had your "they are toddlers they can do as they please" attitude then places would simply ban young children from going!

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:50:40

Sparkle 'good luck for the future you're going to need it' what could that mean then?

I believe a toddler is too young for punishments and being forced to fit into certain boxes, they'll get that when they're older unfortunately

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:50:42

Bella you really do need to take the hint, as clouds says.

The best case scenario is that you are going to have other diners highly annoyed with you and your DCs, and giving you hostile stares, and thinking you and your DCs are rude, and ignorant.

Not great, is it hmm

The worst case scenario is that you get another diner, who follows up their hostile glare with a very icy 'Would you please come and take care of your child, because they are spoiling our meal' - thereby making you and your DCs feel extremely uncomfortable.

anklebitersmum Tue 09-Apr-13 14:51:18

Oh my word shock

I genuinely wonder what people are all about now-a-days.Can I clarify what I'm reading here?

You are in a restaurant, having a meal and you can't have your children behave themselves and sit down for the duration of that meal??

I can only assume that you have taught them no table manners and allow them to roam during mealtimes at home too.

Outrageous, selfish, selfish behaviour on both yours and your childs part.

5 children, 3yrs-13yrs. They sit down for a meal in advance of the food hitting the table, are served either pre-plated or ask for what they would like from the spread. In company they ask if they may start. They eat their meal. With cutlery. Politely. No chomping. They may politely ask for seconds or even thirds and then they wait until everyone is finished before leaving the table, having asked permission. And that's at home.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:51:54

Sparkle NO, why should children who are behaving perfectly be punished for younger siblings behaviour?

LaQueen Tue 09-Apr-13 14:51:58

Bella why does the enjoyment of your children, take precedence over the enjoyment of other diners in the restaurant, please explain?

TomArchersSausage Tue 09-Apr-13 14:52:23

Bella What if your dc's treat is ruined because someone else barges all over it doing as they please?

Still ok then for everyone to do what they like?

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:53:36

sirzy its far better to start as you mean to go on in an age appropriate manner ime!

When they are little ie under two pick somewhere child friendly, with an outdoor play area if you can ie pub/carvery so you can take them.outside if necessary. Certainly my dd who is 27mths can manage a meal out with small toys and a walk outside if she gets really restless but generally you need to keep them engagrd and entertained, it tequires effort yes but so does being a parent!

PeaceandFUCKINGLove Tue 09-Apr-13 14:53:46

"Why shouldn't they get the treat they want though just because it is possible some people will be slightly annoyed"

Your children will have to learn that if you can't behave, you can't do everything that you want to. You need to reinforce this now whilst they are little.

Other people manage it. The problem isn't with them or with your DCs, its with YOU. You need to stop being so ineffectual and start parenting properly when they are in a restuarant setting.

MrsMelons Tue 09-Apr-13 14:53:58

Its not punishing Bella its just teaching them decent manners.

If they are under 2 then they can be in a highchair and after that they are more than old enough to understand about sitting properly for dinner.

I have taken DS1 to various weddings and silver service type meals under the age of 2 and he has behaved brilliantly. The waiters and other guests fussed over him as he was so well behaved.

DS2 on the other hand would not have been as good under 2 in such a formal environment (not really space to take colouring or toys etc) but always behaved well enough in normal restaurants when we could give him games and toys to play with to occupy him. I don't feel that he was punished by us not taking him to those sorts of places as a toddler but it was considerate to others and also easier for us as we want stress free meals like everyone else.

If children do not learn good manners and how to amuse themselves early on they will grow up to think everything is about them and expect to be fully entertained and stimulated at all times!

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Tue 09-Apr-13 14:54:45

Bella. McDonalds is the most appropriate dining setting for your parenting style. It is with sadness for your children that I say that.

arabesque Tue 09-Apr-13 14:55:48


I think that's a rather unfair example to give. There is a big difference between that and people being understandably annoyed if they're sitting in a restaurant trying to enjoy a meal and some child is running around bothering them or screaming and crying for the duration of their meal.

sparkle12mar08 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:56:14

La Q - MsBella won't feel at all uncomfortable. She'll be one of those parents that thinks the other diner is entirely in the wrong!

MsBella - it's quite possible your children will grow up to be ill mannered adults who also don't know how to behave in a restaurant if you can't be bothered to teach them. They could well lose friends and show themselves up in the workplace etc if you can't be bothered to teach them manners.

5eggstremelychocaletymadeggs Tue 09-Apr-13 14:56:33

anklebiters same here!!

Part of being a family bella means sometimes a child doesnt get their own way, when one of mine misbehaves so all of them have to leave that chikd gets an appropriate punishment and i make sure the chikdrdn that were behaving get a treat etc to make up for missing out through no fault if their own.

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:56:48

Jesus christ I DO parent them!!!!!!!!!!!!

MsBella Tue 09-Apr-13 14:57:41

Can people stop 'explaining' how being a family works and what its like to me a mum I mean ffs I think I know these things

sparkle12mar08 Tue 09-Apr-13 14:57:54

It doesn't look like it from you've written here though, that's the point.

If the younger ones can't behave then get a baby sitter and leave them at home. Simple.

brdgrl Tue 09-Apr-13 14:57:56

But we are talking about very young children ffs...

OK. Look. The child's age does not matter. Why? Because the issue is not the child, it is the other people around you. I really don't think you are understanding that.

When my DD was a newborn, I took her all sorts of places - restaurants, work functions, parties. She slept. If she woke up and she cried, I dealt with it. If she could not be immediately soothed, I took her away from the other people.

Now DD is almost three. In her lifetime, I've taken her out of restaurants, a kids' matinee, our own living room when we had guests, play areas, shops...Have I missed out on things? Of course. This past weekend, I went to a lovely meal with visiting family, and had to miss my pudding while I took her for a 'time out' - because frankly, two and a half hours in a restaurant with a bunch of adult relatives who wanted to talk and talk and talk was more than she could manage - which I understand and which I was mentally and logistically prepared for in advance.

But the reward? Other people like having us around, and like having DD around. I'm confident that Waitresses don't hate us. Strangers smile and tell me how nicely my kids are behaving. And best of all, I do get to relax and enjoy myself, because for most of that two and a half hours, my DD is doing fine because she knows what is expected of her and has had practice at it.

(And we have a 15 year old and an 18 year old as well. It's not just toddlers who need to behave themselves.)