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#1 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am just really curious after reading 4 pages of the going-out-to-eat thread, would like to hear more from GD mamas.

Is it okay if your child does this in a restaurant, if its not, what would you do if the child refuses to stop after lots of gentle coaxing:

- Walk/pace around in the restaurant, just wandering around looking at other diners and stuff but not touching anything. (presuming this is before the food comes or after your child has ate, and that you are seated at a table that enables you to see your child clearly from where you are seated)

- Wanders and starts chatting with waitressing staff and alot of other diners at their tables, asking questions and so on.

- Climbs up on a chair at another table with diners already sitting there, and peers interestedly at what they are eating/talkng about.

- Stands up on the booth seat that you guys are seated at and refuses to sit down (but not jumping either).

- Wanders around the restaurant looking for interesting stuff to hold/touch, resuming this is a typical curious 2 year old child.

- Wanders around the restaurant looking for interesting stuff to hold/touch, presuming this is a 3-4 year old child who knows not to handle glass/fragile objects without asking for permission first, and a cautious child who is good with gentle touches/handing.

Unless stated, lets presume that the above scenarios are about a 3 year old child. What will you 'permit'?
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#2 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 12:48 AM
 
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I work in a restaurant and it is VERY dangerous to allow small children to wander. We can not always see them and they can easily get hurt or trip a wiatress carrying food or hot coffee on a tray.
If your child must wander please hold their hand and show them around. We can see grownups better.

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#3 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 12:55 AM
 
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The only one I might put up with would be the standing in a booth. Provided he wasn't leaning over and bothering the people eating in a booth behind us. When our son was younger, like 1.5, if DP and I were out with family or friends and it wasn't easy to just get up and leave, we took turns walking with DS outside. Not in the restaurant, where he could get in the way. But if it is ever just us and DS isn't in a mood to deal with "restaurant manners" we ask the server to pack our food to go and take it home.
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#4 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:06 AM
 
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The only one I might put up with would be the standing in a booth..
Ditto.

We always ask for a booth, or if there are only tables we try to get one next to a wall or corner so that we can sort of keep dd pinned in if she's restless. And we take her for walks around the restaurant as needed.

But I would never let her leave our table unattended by one of us. It's too dangerous and also just inconsiderate to other diners.
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#5 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:18 AM
 
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The only one I might put up with would be the standing in a booth. Provided he wasn't leaning over and bothering the people eating in a booth behind us. When our son was younger, like 1.5, if DP and I were out with family or friends and it wasn't easy to just get up and leave, we took turns walking with DS outside. Not in the restaurant, where he could get in the way.
: exactly that! Where is the original thread?
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#6 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:24 AM
 
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I work in a restaurant and it is VERY dangerous to allow small children to wander. We can not always see them and they can easily get hurt or trip a wiatress carrying food or hot coffee on a tray.
If your child must wander please hold their hand and show them around. We can see grownups better.
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#7 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:36 AM
 
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Yeah. The standing in a booth happens and doesn't bother me. The rest? No way.

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#8 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:37 AM
 
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We did walk my ds1 around quite a bit when we were at a restaurant with him and family over Thanksgiving, and couldn't leave.

Otherwise, we almost never go. They can learn restaurant manners when they get older. It isn't worth it now.

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#9 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:39 AM
 
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Oh, sorry. A three year old? No way. Our dd could use restaurant manners when she was three. She couldn't last for hours on end, but she could sit quietly and color, or occasionally stand up and look around and make it through dinner at your average restaurant. But no way would I let her walk around. I guess I ought to go read that other thread!

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#10 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 03:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If its a very quiet and spacious casual family restaurant and only 2-3 other tables were taken, you guys still would have a problem with your child quietly and slowly wandering around (presuming he is in your full view)?
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#11 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 06:31 AM
 
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If its a very quiet and spacious casual family restaurant and only 2-3 other tables were taken, you guys still would have a problem with your child quietly and slowly wandering around (presuming he is in your full view)?
As other posters mentioned, when you've worked in a restaurant you get anxious about small children wandering around.

I worked in a restaurant that had many tall waiters, guys over 6 foot, who would load a tray with heavy platters of steaks and sauce and whatnot, and run down a flight of stairs. They were good at it and never dropped. But, if a small child were around, they might easily trip. And they weren't always hurrying just because it was busy; sometimes business was slow and they still walked quickly because they wanted a smoke break/to get their side work done/restroom break. I'm not saying that all servers do this or that they shouldn't watch where they are going, I'm just saying that, as a former server, I would not allow my child to wander around because of things I have seen. This is one where it isn't a question of politeness, it's a question of safety.
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#12 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 08:22 AM
 
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Definitely no solo wandering - another person speaking as a former waitress and concerned about safety. My biggest nightmare is the staff person who disregarded all the "Never NEVER put a coffee pot on a tray" rules and snuck one on a loaded tray for convenience, tripped on my child and scalded him/her with coffee.

This could happen with any restaurant, any time, any level of business.

I have walked WITH my children a lot. We try to leave other diners some privacy unless they are obviously grinning at and wanting to talk to a (IMHO) very cute kid.

Sitting in a booth is okay. Bouncing in a booth is not. Bouncing means it's time for us to walk again, in or outside of the restaurant.

My daughter at three year old has great restaurant manners. My son at three years old was atrocious. Only a couple restaurants we could take him to comfortably for us.

For both of them - it was rarely worth it. We got a lot of takeout!
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#13 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 08:29 AM
 
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The only one I might put up with would be the standing in a booth. Provided he wasn't leaning over and bothering the people eating in a booth behind us. When our son was younger, like 1.5, if DP and I were out with family or friends and it wasn't easy to just get up and leave, we took turns walking with DS outside. Not in the restaurant, where he could get in the way. But if it is ever just us and DS isn't in a mood to deal with "restaurant manners" we ask the server to pack our food to go and take it home.


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If its a very quiet and spacious casual family restaurant and only 2-3 other tables were taken, you guys still would have a problem with your child quietly and slowly wandering around (presuming he is in your full view)?
Yep, I still would have a problem with it - I don't think it's ever OK for my kid to just wander around, or especially approach other diners or waitstaff. The diners are there to have a meal and enjoy the company they came to eat with, and the wait staff are doing their job (not to mention the potential food/beverage spillage hazards). Neither of them necessarily want to interact with my kid (though he IS quite a charmer : ) - though they might politely oblige or even enjoy a conversation with my child, it would be out of obligation (you ARE kind of trapped at a restaurant table) instead of out of actual desire. I also don't want him to think that this is a usual 'routine' when we go out to eat, to be up and walking around. In our family, mealtimes are sitting times (for connecting with family), not for walking around. THEREFORE: When he was at the age where his attention span and ability to sit was short, we just didn't go out to eat. It was a drag sometimes, but it was just 8-10 months in the whole span of our lives together thus far.

Then again, I'm a BIG believer in 'my right to enjoy myself in public ends when I (or my kids) start disturbing yours', and I believe a toddler/preschooler engaging other patrons or waitstaff is disturbing, even though it might be a pleasant interaction. There are plenty of other places my kids can interact with the public.

I know there are those who believe that children won't know how to act in public unless you let them practice...and to a certain degree I agree and don't advocate never taking your child out - but I also believe that children grow and mature into being able to handle social interactions of different kinds, and some are better left to when they are individually mature enough to handle the expected social 'rules' for the venue (i.e., you don't normally see adults wandering around restaurants chatting up other patrons or the waitstaff) instead of briging them out when they're not ready and spending the whole time trying to corral them (that is NOT relaxing to me at all). I have NO problem with kids being developmentally appropriate, but I also think there's a time and place for everything.


I think I participated on that other thread, I'll have to see if it's the one I'm thinking of...

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#14 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 08:41 AM
 
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Stands at the table is okay with me.

When my kid went through the wander phase, I would take her around. If the weather is nice, I would take her around outside.

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#15 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 08:57 AM
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If its a very quiet and spacious casual family restaurant and only 2-3 other tables were taken, you guys still would have a problem with your child quietly and slowly wandering around (presuming he is in your full view)?
Absolutely. You are endangering your child, worrying the waitstaff, and likely annoying other diners.


I would allow the standing in the booth. (I have my 2 year old trained out of it, the one year old just graduated from the high chair to sitting next to me so now I have to train her too, lol).


But walking around is completely beyond inappropriate. If you don't feel that you can keep your child from doing this, you need to not go into restaurants for a few years until your child is old enough to understand it isn't acceptable.
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#16 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 09:04 AM
 
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I agree with The4of Us 100%.

BTW..standing in a booth does not bug me.

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#17 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 09:59 AM
 
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I really dont think its ok to let a child wander around a restuarant invading other people's space. I have taken my kids to the bathroom to get a walk in, or outside, I bring toys, books, coloring, snacks.... dinner for them if they are very small and a special treat to keep them busy while i finish my dinner. My 6 and 3 year old's have been going out to eat regularly every few months since they were born. While we have had some tough meals and left quickly, for the most part they enjoy eating out and that just comes with time.
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#18 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 12:28 PM
 
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Absolutely NO solo wandering. No way. I'd never allow it. I have let an adult walk around with dd a couple of times at very slow restaurants where they could go look AT something (a fish tank, a fountain, etc) But that's it.

-Angela
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#19 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 12:33 PM
 
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No wandering for any reason. When my daughter couldn't stay in her seat, we didn't eat out. And if we were out and she started wandering and couldn't stay in her seat, either my husband or I would take her outside and the other one would get our food packaged up and pay. Then we'd eat at home and she could wander as much as she wanted. But no wandering in restaurants.
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#20 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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None of the above!

My son sits with us at the table. When he was younger, he couldn't do that for long. We'd try to keep him distracted with toys, food, etc and once that stopped working, we'd take turns playing with him outside or in the car.

As he got older, he was of course able to sit with us for longer periods of time. Now, at 4 and a half, we can take him out often and he's wonderful about sitting with us and entertaining himself at the table.

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I would never permit my child to do any of those things.

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#22 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:11 PM
 
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Yeah, I let ds stand in the booth. Though now that I think of it, he doesn't actually do it. But, hypthetically, if he wanted to, I wouldn't think much of it, as long as he wasn't disturbing anyone behind him. I never think anything of other kids who stand on their booth and look at us (except I don't want them to do it for too long).
He's generally been very good for his age, as far as us being able to take him out to eat.

The rest, nope. When ds was younger, I would occasionally take him for a few trips from our seat to the bathroom, or some other easy to get to place (not too much in the way of any waitstaff). But never by himself.

Even though I'd trust him to touch things gently, walking around touching stuff wouldn't be ok.

And sitting at another person's table- that's just really really rude!!

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#23 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 01:33 PM
 
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Unless stated, lets presume that the above scenarios are about a 3 year old child. What will you 'permit'?
NONE of the above. We're there to eat dinner, not wander around a restaurant. I would take my kids outside to walk around if they were getting antsy and have had dh just text my cell or call (if I had it) when our food was served. If there is something to look at (fish tank or whatever) and the place is very slow we'll let them look. Whether they look with one of us or by themselves depends on how busy the place is and how close we are to the tank. We enjoy eating at a Chinese restaurant w/ 2 tanks and while the food is delicious and service is great, it's small and often very quiet when we go, so the kids are able to see the tanks by themselves. But they go to the tank and back to our table. They don't wander around.

As for standing in the booth, no way. They're too tall. When they were toddlers and no longer sitting in high chairs, then we'd work around it and work on teaching them not to stand. (I don't need a kid tripping over their own feet and smacking their face on the table.)

My 7 yr old has ASC and he would love to do some of the things mentioned (wander, look, touch for his sensory processing) but I can not and will not allow that (except at the Chinese place because of the atmosphere). What if a server had a tray laden w/ plates, didn't see the kid, tripped, and everyone ends up w/ broken dishes, hot food on them, cuts, etc? I don't think there would be a tip big enough to fix that scenario.

I didn't allow it when they were younger, I won't allow it now, and I won't allow the new baby to do it, either. It's a safety issue for me.

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#24 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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If its a very quiet and spacious casual family restaurant and only 2-3 other tables were taken, you guys still would have a problem with your child quietly and slowly wandering around (presuming he is in your full view)?
I would have a problem with it if we were the only customers in the entire restaurant. It doesn't come up now that DS is 3 but if it did when he was younger, I would just get our food to go and eat it at home if he wasn't up to restaurant eating.
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#25 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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I want to add that I don't believe for one minute that kids won't learn how to behave in public if you never take them out. I grew up in a very rural area, and we almost never went out to eat. And when we did it was pretty casual, like at the McDonald's that was 35 miles away. And yet, I have wonderful restaurant manners now.

I personally don't enjoy taking my kids out to dinner. They're almost always bored, I don't get to enjoy my food because I'm trying to manage spills and keep them entertained the whole time, they never have anything healthy for kids at family restaurants, and it's expensive. So I have no problem staying home and not subjecting other diners to my family at this point. I know that in a few years it will be a lot of fun, but restaurants and small children just don't mix.

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#26 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 04:28 PM
 
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I agree with the majority that none of the scenarios are acceptable. I don't even allow standing in a booth but then my daughter is 4 now. It wouldn't have been as much of an issue when she was 1-2 though.

We eat out at least 2x a week and my daughter has great restaurant manners and is very happy to sit and draw while waiting for food.
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#27 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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The only thing I would allow is standing in the booth, but that was only when they were smaller (1.5-2). After that, they were too tall and would be bothering someone if they stood up.

I would never allow them to walk around a restaurant because of how dangerous that would be with servers carrying trays and not being able to see them. Plus, other people are out to enjoy their meal and may not want a child bothering them.
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#28 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 11:41 PM
 
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None of that would be cool with me. Except standing in the booth--that would probably be OK.

But kids wandering around without a shadow wouldn't happen for us. One of us would get up and follow the kid around or go outside.
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#29 of 102 Old 07-30-2007, 11:54 PM
 
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I would want to keep my kidlet safe, so I would worry about steaming drinks and hot plates and tripping waiters. Most kids are into moving, and most restaurants are into not wanting moving kids underfoot. So I would say that picnics are where it's for very active children, unless you can find a really safe and welcoming resturant-- which do exist. I know in Italy kids are all over th eplace, but the litagation issues there are nowhere near what US restaurants have to deal with. If a kids get a splash of espresso on him in Sicily, it's not quite the same as if it happens in CA. In CA, the big gun lawyers are called. We can never underestimate the problems of such a litigeous society, kwim? Applebees simply can't afford to have food fall on children.

As the mother of bigger kids, I would like to reassure people that there are many years for bigger kids to enjoy and appreciate cool restaurant and gourmet (which would not be at Applebees) food. It doesn't all have to happen when they are toddlers.
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#30 of 102 Old 07-31-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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My 3yo will sit at the table with us, and I allow him to stand up in the booth, and climb under the table. I know how boring it must be to wait for food... so I empathize with that. I let him play with straws, and blow bubbles in the water cups. I don't let them wander, I think that would be a hazzard in a busy place.
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