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To ask if any of you avoid taking your DCs to restaurants?

(178 Posts)
YouDoTheMath Sun 02-Oct-11 18:31:55

I'm thinking of avoiding them until my toddler is older. She's really well behaved normally but the thought of taking her for a meal stresses me out. She doesn't seem to enjoy the experience and just kicks off.

I'm not one of those people who doesn't care what others think - it bothers me if I feel I'm spoiling things for others, so I end up either rushing through the meal or taking her home before it's even started.

Does it make sense to avoid such situations in future, or should I get her used to it?

troisgarcons Sun 02-Oct-11 18:32:54

Maybe try cafe style first?

LeBOF Sun 02-Oct-11 18:35:20

I would avoid it, personally. I have lost count of the number of ruined meals out I've attempted. In my case, dd has special needs, but I would apply the same principle to antsy toddlers. Not worth the stress, in my opinion. Presumably a bit of age and maturity will make the experience more pleasant for most children.

TheSherbetTurbot Sun 02-Oct-11 18:35:47

We've taken ds out to restaurants since he was tiny. Better behaved when we are out than when we are at home. Usually eats better too.

fuckityfuckfuckfuck Sun 02-Oct-11 18:37:46

Dd behaved impeccably in restaurants from birth and still does. Ds doesn't, so we avoid anywhere except play cafes tbh. It's not fair on anyone

activate Sun 02-Oct-11 18:38:03

start in a cafe - low value - set the rules

sitting down, not getting up
quiet voice not shrieky

one warning then if she doesn't do what you say pick her up and march her out and talk to her outside - best if you have a friend with you who stays at the table

you need to put the work in at the start to end up sitting in a restaurant with a perfectly behaved 5 year old

and I have to tell you our restaurant meals are delightful - our kids speak in quiet tones and remind each other, they stay seated, they are polite

it's a work in progress but yes you should start now to be conifdent when they're older

ragged Sun 02-Oct-11 18:38:27


annie987 Sun 02-Oct-11 18:39:44

I made a point of taking mine to restaurants from a very early age. I was worried that if I waited then they wouldn't know how to behave in a restaurant.
My twins are now 4 and a half and go to restaurants, pubs etc regularly and are very well behaved.

I always taken a 'restaurant bag' which has a few small things in to keep them amused. At the moment it has got drawing pads, pens, comics, beads and a little pot of play dough in. These things keep them busy if they get restless but the bag doesn't come out until they get restless.

Whenever I have been out with family members / friends whose children beahve poorly in restaurants it always seems to be because the adults sit and have adult conversations with each other, without involving the children and just expect them to sit there. I would hate to go out for a meal and not talk so I always involve my kids in the conversation.

I say go for it!

YouDoTheMath Sun 02-Oct-11 18:39:44

Thanks so far folks - thought I was the only one! Got a meal coming up at the weekend which is obligaory as it's a family thing, so will see how that goes but if it's not a success I think I'll abandon meals out for the foreseeable!

Nanny0gg Sun 02-Oct-11 18:40:10

If your DD really likes her food then it is worth it.
If she isn't really bothered then it will probably be stressful. Start with a cafe and keep it brief.

RitaMorgan Sun 02-Oct-11 18:40:44

I don't avoid them - I just take my 14 month old to suitable places!

Stick to Pizza Express, Giraffe type places where everyone expects kids to be. Don't go to nice restaurants in the evening.

Take raisins, rice cakes and colouring.

borderslass Sun 02-Oct-11 18:41:19

I took mine to cafes at first but always took things to keep them occupied whilst waiting makes it easier for everyone.

annie987 Sun 02-Oct-11 18:42:25

ooh yes I had forgotten about the raisins - always take raisins in case there is a wait for the food.

YouDoTheMath Sun 02-Oct-11 18:43:10

I've been taking her since I can remember, it just seems to be a recent thing, her not enjoying it.

littletreesmum Sun 02-Oct-11 18:44:27

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CroissantNeuf Sun 02-Oct-11 18:44:55

I've gone through phases where I've dreaded taking them to restaurants.

The ILs are real foodies and their significant birthdays and special occasions tend to involve going to expensive restaurants which always seemed to coincide with the DCs being at that annoying toddler stage.

I hate to say that I've dreaded some meals weeks/months in advance -usually the 5 course long, drawn out meal in a posh restaurant, often in France. I just used to make the excuse to go for a walk outside with the DC between courses, make sure I had lots of distractions in my bag for them etc.

It does get easier though but it always helps to find somewhere child-friendly. I always breathe a sigh of relief if we go into somewhere where there are already children.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Sun 02-Oct-11 18:45:22

we were lucky with dd1, who would sit beautifully for 2 courses from 12mo, and for three aged about 2, and eat off the main menu.

dd2 however gets bored, wriggles and wails, so we don't go often, just grab a main meal, and stick to fairly noisy places where we can be certain she doesn't disturb anyone.

LingDiLong Sun 02-Oct-11 18:49:51

YANBU. The idea of having to somehow 'train' a child from babyhood to be able to eat nicely in a restaurant is nonsense if you ask me. It's not a 'skill' to sit still at a table, it's something a child becomes capable of as they get older. My DD was somehow born with this ability and we ate out with her a fair bit. DS was a horror, we avoided it until he was old enough to follow the 'rules' of dining out.

GingerWrath Sun 02-Oct-11 18:51:29

Have taken DD 5yo since she was tiny. The rule was always if she misbehaved, we left. (normally me marching her out to the car while DH settles the bill).

Now she is a star on a meal out. We ate out on Friday and she was perfectly mannered to the point where she charmed the waitress and got a free scoop of ice cream out of it! (wish she was as good at home).

If you put the ground work in now it'll pay in the long run.

FantasticVoyage Sun 02-Oct-11 18:57:30

We've always taken DD out for meals - it's part of our campaign not to raise a fussy eater. You have to have something to entertain them whilst waiting, though. Sticker book/colouring book and crayons are really useful (and there's quite a few eateries that supply the latter).

activate Sun 02-Oct-11 18:58:36

of course it's a learning curve - knowing how to behave in a restaurant - how ridiculous to think otherwise

it's not a developmental stage - I see many teens who don't know

you have to teach them

troisgarcons Sun 02-Oct-11 19:03:21

The thing you have to remember is: its an adult night out and adult convo will apply - a toddler wants/likes attention... therefore sit her between two people who will engage with her.

Can you imagine what its like being ignored for 2-3-4 hours when all you are used to doing is eating through necessity?

I'd also take some toys - you know what will engage her appropriately

SurprisEs Sun 02-Oct-11 19:03:28

I don't avoid it. As soon as she started to walk it has been difficult and she struggles to sit still at the table as I haven't got one at home(no space). But like anythin else she won't learn unless she is given the chance. Practice, practice, practice. We're getting there. I don't worry about disturbing others. I try my best not to disturb them ad make sure DD knows I disapprove of any behaviour that does so, but children are just that, children.

missorinoco Sun 02-Oct-11 19:08:43

I avoid it like the plague, although I have recently discovered it depends on the child. DC2 would be much more likely to sit and enjoy the "ritual" of a meal than DC1, who considers food as fuel.

exoticfruits Sun 02-Oct-11 19:09:14

I have always taken them. Start with just a drink and keep it short.

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