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We encourage children in our cafe BUT

999 replies

childfriendlycafeowner · 14/06/2013 20:07

I hope you don't mind us asking any readers for their opinion on child behaviour in public places.

We run a small cafe in a small town, and we love doing it (opened up 4 months ago). The previous owners did not encourage children and families, we do, we bought high chairs and do what we can to make families feel welcome. But today two girls came in with a baby and a toddler, my guess is the toddler was 2. From the moment she arrived the screamed, not crying because she was upset but screaming because I guess she liked the sound of her own voice. We made comments to the mum in the hope she would take the hint that the child was disturbing all the other customers but her comment was "she is a little tinker isn't she" The other customers threw their food and drinks down their necks and left as quickly as they could, some complaining as they left. She did go quiet for a little while but she was screaming for probably at least half of the 1 hour plus that she was in the cafe.

When the lady came to pay we said to the lady that we are very sorry but unless she can stop her little girl disturbing all our other customers and driving them away perhaps she could sit in our outside seating area with her or not come in. We felt terrible to say this but it really was a terrible din that upset many people.

Are we being reasonable or unreasonable. Would you tolerate your child no matter how young being so disruptive to other people in public

OP posts:
BadgersRetreat · 14/06/2013 20:09

totally reasonable

Morgause · 14/06/2013 20:11

YANBU - if I went into your cafe looking to buy a meal and the child was screaming I'd turn round and go out again.

noisytoys · 14/06/2013 20:11

YABU. The mum probably went home feeling terrible. She was a paying customer too. If you came across as family friendly (to all families) you would be more likely to get more customers. The lady you rejected is likely to tell everyone she knows to stay away from your cafe. Word of mouth can be very damaging.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango · 14/06/2013 20:11

I wouldn't let my kids scream in a cafe at all.

But, sometimes I think parents develop a deafness and tune it out so she may not have realised quite how bad was?

Mintyy · 14/06/2013 20:12


tmae · 14/06/2013 20:13

No YANBU! It is incredibly rude of them to let their child scream and not care! It has always been something that I cannot stand, it is so selfish and inconsiderate. If I were one of your customers I would be incredibly glad that you told them not to do that again!

It is more important that the majority of your customers are happy instead of those two girls.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep · 14/06/2013 20:14

Very reasonable. I also have low tolerance for people whose children make excessive mess on and under their table and who make no attempt to clear up a bit. I don't think it's a waiter or waitress' job to deal with ridiculous carnage. And I have three untidy eaters!

BlueberryHill · 14/06/2013 20:14

I wouldn't let my child scream in a café like that she was being unreasonable. It may put me off going back in there, not your fault obviously. I think what you said was OK, she may not like it but she shouldn't inflict that noise on other people.

Mrsrobertduvall · 14/06/2013 20:14

I avoid like the plague child friendly places for that very reason.
Assuming the child had no SN, there is no reason for a child to scream and ruin it for everyone else..mother should have removed child as it was obviously not the best place to be. Maybe child was tired...needed to be at home.

Can you imagine a cafe full of screaming children?

BlueberryHill · 14/06/2013 20:16

I might that other screaming children might put me off, not you saying something to her.

BlueberryHill · 14/06/2013 20:16

Doh, should be meant not might

HibiscusIsland · 14/06/2013 20:17

YANBU. If the toddler was crying that's one thing, but ear splitting screams for fun for 30 minutes is too much. I'd take mine outside until they stopped.

OutragedFromLeeds · 14/06/2013 20:17

It's a tricky one.

You will get the 'what if she had SN' comments and they have a valid point.

Chances are she didn't have SN though. I wouldn't personally allow my DC to make so much noise.

Was what you said unreasonable? Yes, because it was too late by then. You should have asked her to move outside or leave at the time if it was truly that bad. Making that comment when she was on her way out was unnecessary and probably not good for business. You've lost the customers who left because of the noise (who may not come back) and also annoyed a mother with young child (who no doubt will tell others).

KingRollo · 14/06/2013 20:17

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SpooMoo · 14/06/2013 20:17

How do you know how old the baby was? If he or she is little then what can the parents do? They are probably hating the noise too! My 7mo was screeching yesterday when we went out for lunch (experimenting with her voice!) but I couldn't stop it, just distract her with food. We wanted to eat, we didn't stay long anyway. YABU - they won't come back and they'll tell their friends/family you AREN'T a welcoming cafe.

Sirzy · 14/06/2013 20:19


If her child wasn't behaving/was disrupting others then the polite thing for the parent to do would have been to eat and go rather than allow it to continue.

Phineyj · 14/06/2013 20:19

YANBU, it's not that the child was screaming but that the mother apparently didn't think that was a problem. A child friendly cafe has opened near us recently and I had lunch there earlier this week (with my baby and a friend and her baby). If we'd had to put up with that we'd have left - for one thing it would probably have made our babies cry!

ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 14/06/2013 20:19

YANBU. FWIW dd (3) gets distressed by other children screaming (that particular high pitched shriek they do for fun because they can) and I have had to leave playgroup etc previously because of this. It is not just adult customers who don't like it.

It is very easy to tell the difference between obnoxious joyful screaming and a tantrum. I would hope that you would be sympathetic if it were the latter, but then former is unacceptable.

LilQueenie · 14/06/2013 20:20

was this terrible two's bhaviour that all kids go through? I would say kids are not always going to be quiet and well behaved. Was the mother trying at any point to calm the child. I think you are a bit unreasonable. People need to be more chid tolerant. I would not have asked her not to come back in. It could have been a one off.

RubyOnRails · 14/06/2013 20:20

I'd never tolerate my own child screaming for half an hour at home, never mind in public. My son tried this carry on at the doctors the other day. I whisked him out told him off outside surgery and led him back in..good as gold.

HibiscusIsland · 14/06/2013 20:20

"The mum probably went home feeling terrible." She must have been pretty thick skinned to not realise the effect her child was having, so maybe it will do her good to have a think about it

EhricLovesTeamQhuay · 14/06/2013 20:20

Only half an hour? Fuck that! I can't cope with more than half a minute of children shrieking. (Not crying, that's different)
If my son had behaved like that as a toddler I would have packed up and left out of consideration for other patrons and the staff. If a child had behaved like that when I was running a cafe I would have given it five minutes to see if the parents acted or if the child stopped, and if not, I would politely ask them to move outside.

MrsMook · 14/06/2013 20:21

YANBU. I wouldn't let my DCs scream. We've left a pub before now (fortunately before ordering) as it was clear that DS (then 18m) was going to be nothing but a nuisence to us and to others.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee · 14/06/2013 20:21

You were a bit unreasonable not dealing with it sooner for your other customers benefit.

I would have handled it differently. I would have asked her to take her toddler out when it was apparent she wasn't going to deal with it if I hadn't done that I wouldn't have said anything while she was paying, but if she came in again I would have 'warned her nicely' that if her DD was screaming she would have to sit outside

Sirzy · 14/06/2013 20:22

People need to be more chid tolerant.

So people have to happily accept listening to someone elses child scream for half an hour?

Sorry PARENTS need to teach their children how to behave in public, not expect everyone else to tolerate their childs bad behaviour.

If parents are making every effort to calm them/distract/remove whatever then fine. If they are ignoring and letting them disrupt others that is wrong.

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