My feed

to access all these features

MNHQ have commented on this thread


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:
ItsAllGoingToBeFine · 14/06/2013 20:22

OP just to double check - was it the baby screaming or the toddler? My answer was assuming the latter.

jammiedonut · 14/06/2013 20:26

It's tricky, but I'm sure if you had a childless couple who were being very loud you would have had the same conversation and asked them to keep it down too? If not then Yabu.
You've every right to ask them to be quiet, and I actually think you went the right way about it, but maybe telling her not to return was a bit strong as you have no idea if this child is usually a terror or not. Perhaps in the future have a stash of small toys/ colouring books & pens to placate children if you see they will become a problem? I run a restaurant and have found this is usually the only way around this particular problem as the tired frazzled parent has usually learnt to tune their children out and have no idea of how loud they really are. That and being as accommodating as possible to guests that might be annoyed at the noise (offering to move tables etc).

kaumana · 14/06/2013 20:26

YANBU If my child started doing that I would leave even if it meant I didn't finish my coffee/ sandwich etc.

If I was in on my own I would leave as quickly as possible and more than likely would not return.

FamiliesShareGerms · 14/06/2013 20:26

I can see both sides of this.

I think if this situation occurred in the future you should say something sooner than right at the end of their visit. I would be embarrassed if someone said this to me, but i would feel even worse if I had been there for an hour before the problem was mentioned. I could have tried to address the problem if I had been aware. I would feel that people had been talking about me behind my back for an hour.

So YWNBU to raise an issue that was having a detrimental effect on your other customers, but YWBU to leave it so long to talk to her about it.

aftermay · 14/06/2013 20:26

YANBU. You allowed her to stay for as long as dhe wanted and discussed it with her in private. A completely reasonable request. Good luck with your cafe. It can't be easy in these economic circumstances.

miffybun73 · 14/06/2013 20:27

YANBU, if I was the mother I would have left if I could not stop my child from screaming for even 2 minutes.

Nanny0gg · 14/06/2013 20:27

People need to be more chid tolerant And parents need to be more 'people tolerant'.

It wasn't softplay or the park, it was a café where people were paying to have something to eat and drink and maybe read, or socialise in a pleasant setting.

I don't go into a café (whether it has high chairs or not) and expect to have to listen to a toddler being allowed to scream for that length of time by its over-indulgent mother.

RikeBider · 14/06/2013 20:28

30 minutes is far too long for a child to be screaming! I wouldn't be tolerant of a baby screaming for 30 minutes either.

I'd have intervened earlier and maybe asked if she would like to move to an outside table.

A box of books/toys or crayons sounds like a good idea too.

Orangebirdonatable · 14/06/2013 20:29

I don'tlet my dds scream in public, we go outside if one of them is upset or screaming. And if i went into a cafe and heard another child screaming, I would not want to stay.

But, i can see how difficult it would be to approach the parent. I guess it depends on how it was wordered.

Smartiepants79 · 14/06/2013 20:29

Perfectly reasonable.
A 2 year old should not be making that kind of noise in a confined, public place.
I suspect you would not have felt the need to say what you did if the mother had made any attempt to stop the noise.
Half an hour of meaningless shrieking is a long time.
I have a 2.8 yr old and a 6 month old and I'm a teacher and my tolerance only lasts about 5 minutes.
Distraction with food or toys is usually enough to stop them long enough.
Being family friendly means you provide highchairs, kids food, bottle warming and colouring NOT that you have to put up with atrocious behaviour.

Orangebirdonatable · 14/06/2013 20:29

Wordered??? Worded!

CombineBananaFister · 14/06/2013 20:30

It depends on what the mum was doing IMHO-the child is not to blame. If she was just allowing the screaming with no intervention then I think it's fair to say something. If she was desperatly trying to do something about it then fair enough-we've all been there and hoped the ground would swallow us up.
Can't stand parental apathy in an environment where some degree of quiet is required. Screaming is not children being just a bit noisy - different though if special needs are involved.

GiveMumABreak · 14/06/2013 20:31
LilQueenie · 14/06/2013 20:31

are you seriously telling me that toddlers automatically do as they are told when they are at the age of pushing boundaries and being loud. Its what they do and they cant help. Its nature. It takes time for them to understand. How old was the child? Bearing in mind some children DO look older/taller than they really are.

childfriendlycafeowner · 14/06/2013 20:32

Yes it was the toddler, we did say to the mum she was very noisy but she just laughed, I think she was immune to it. We felt terrible to say what we said, she was not apologetic, just angry and accused us of not being child friendly, , but do we need customers like that? I don't think so.

OP posts:
justmyview · 14/06/2013 20:32

Bottom line for you, it's a business decision.

Most of us like cafes to be child-friendly.......for our own children, .........not necessarily other people's (especially if they're loud & badly behaved)

I think you can be child-friendly by offering high chairs, changing facilities, colouring sheets (with sharp pencils!) & good menus eg healthy meals for bigger children and tiny snacks for little ones - near us, the place with the best reputation for children thrives on the fact they have, not one, but TWO children's menus & everyone seems to think that's brilliant. It's also quite clever, because it's hard to justify taking your own snacks if the cafe sells a "tiny plate of breadsticks, cheese and fruit" for 50p

Being child-friendly doesn't have to mean tolerating loud, uncontrollable kids, or inflicting them on other customers. Maybe you need to be a bit tougher, especially if they're lingering for an hour and a half over one cup of tea (and brought in their own snacks) - are these really the customers you want to encourage?

Good luck

ihearsounds · 14/06/2013 20:34

No I nor anyone else does not have to be tolerant of children.
I, nor anyone else should have to listen to a child screaming.

Word of mouth works both ways.. What about customers who want some peace and quiet. They are also going to say oi don't go that place because of the screaming kids. And this, btw includes parents avoiding because of screamers.

The customer was in the wrong. She should have tackled the screaming and if that meant she left, well so be it. She walked in with a screaming child, so not like ordered food and then started screaming.

EugenesAxe · 14/06/2013 20:35

The lady you rejected is likely to tell everyone she knows to stay away from your café. Word of mouth can be very damaging.

Her friends will either be more inclined to patronise your café because this has also pissed them off for ages, or they will be like her, in which case no loss.

Not every parent in a town is friends with every other. There are many and varied parenting styles. YANBU and you will not lose significant levels of business, unless what you are serving isn't tasty or reasonably priced!

Raaraathenoisybaby · 14/06/2013 20:36

Hmmm. On the one hand if you invite families in by providing highchairs you have to tolerate some low level chaos - and so do your child less customers by choosing that cafe.

But....a cafe is a public place like any other and parents need to......well parent!

cranverry · 14/06/2013 20:36

YWNBU. A 2 year old screaming for 30 minutes would have seen me leave too. And I have a 15 month old and just turned 3 year so used to young ones making a lot of noise.
I think you'll need to decide though whether you are family friendly as you will get more customers like this who think there's nothing wrong with letting their toddler scream and scream.

Sirzy · 14/06/2013 20:36

are you seriously telling me that toddlers automatically do as they are told when they are at the age of pushing boundaries and being loud. Its what they do and they cant help. Its nature. It takes time for them to understand. How old was the child? Bearing in mind some children DO look older/taller than they really are.

Nobody has said that, but that doesn't mean parents can ignore things. It isn't a problem with the child but a problem with the parents.

at 2 my son could sit in a cafe without causing any problems 9 times out of 10. When he misbehaved he was quickly removed before being allowed to distrupt others if distraction didn't work!

justmyview · 14/06/2013 20:38

My DD has always behaved in cafes. Not saying that to be smug, but please don't think you have to accept all children in order to be child friendly

ProphetOfDoom · 14/06/2013 20:40

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flicktheswitch · 14/06/2013 20:42

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ClutchingMyPearls · 14/06/2013 20:42

Not unreasonable at all. I have never let my child be so disruptive in a public place, not to mention such a small space.

Family friendly doesn't mean you should tolerate that.

When my child has done something similar in a public space and shown no signs of abating, I have removed us to show some consideration for other diners. I believe that is the decent thing to do.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.