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I don't feel it is safe. I suppose you can debate all day whether or not our culture is unfriendly to children or whether parents have a right to eat out at a nice place sometimes. Really I think both those issues are trumped by the fact that a 3-foot tall person can be easily missed from view by someone carrying a tray of food. It's not safe for the child or for the wait person or for the other diners. We like to go out to eat as much as the next family, I'm sure, but we choose restaurants that have a high noise level and one of us takes DS out on the sidewalk if necessary until the food comes. We also bring a lot of little toys and snacks he doesn't usually get. He is 20 months old and IMO not at all developmentally ready for the concept of sitting quietly.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>homemademomma</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">thats it right there- thats the problem with the US. no matter how much we preach family values, we just dont walk the walk. its an adult society, and we make no allowances for families. its very sad.</div>
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I agree. Most Americans are not terribly nice to their own kids and barely tolerate other people's. I'm not saying that's the norm on MDC by any stretch, but I think it's a common cultural practice to be highly critical of and easily bothered by children.<br><br>
That said, I tend to go to the same few family friendly restaurants all the time, and if we go elsewhere we go verty early, before it gets busy. I know people complain about kids in restaurants all the time and my SIL who waited tables for years complained about parents letting kids run amok. Granted, that SIL left her 3 week old baby with family for a 2 days to get "some time off" and complained that people held her 6 week old baby too much and he'd gotten spoiled- so I can't say she likes children all that much.<br><br>
Anyway- I know people complain a lot about it- but I haven't seen it mysekf. There;'s one restaurant we go to where kids totally run amok- but that's the whole point of the restaurant. The foods not great and kinda overpriced, byut it's understood thaqt other than flat out running and knocking people over kids are welcome to act like kids.<br><br>
The US is not a kid friendly place. We expect our restaurants to follow suit.<br><br>
Children belong at playgrounds and segregated into little areas. Mothers should be forced to spend all their time in "kid places." Old people should be kept in separate homes so we don't have to see their decline. The elderly are at least as in-the-way as kids, yet it's slightly less pc to complain about them showing up at restaurants,
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wednesday</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Really I think both those issues are trumped by the fact that a 3-foot tall person can be easily missed from view by someone carrying a tray of food. It's not safe for the child or for the wait person or for the other diners. .</div>
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Oh yeah, and "small people" shouldn't be allowed either, someone could trip.<br><br>
(I'm not sure what the correct term is for people with dwarfism and other short stature.)
 

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I disagree about the "little people" comment. It's not necessarily about size, but awareness. A toddler wouldn't understand the danger of being underfoot like that, but a little person would and act accordingly. I don't think anyone here said children shouldn't be allowed in restaurants, just that there is a potential for harm. I worked at a family-friendly brunch joint for years and we had crayons and colouring books galore. I also brought in stickers. I would always ask the child(ren) what they would like to order, if age appropriate. That said, I would also ask parents not to let their child to run around due to the potential for harm.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>edamommy</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That's great that you do not have a high needs toddler! Unfortunatly WE DO! And up until just the last few weeks if WE wanted to go out to dinner HE had to come to and it's just not fare for us to NOT go out EVER in TWO YEARS... so chase him around is what we did. He's now doing really well staying with his Gram or his Great Gram or Grandpa so we can have a "run free" dinner every once in a while.</div>
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?????You do not know my HIGH NEEDS toddler now, do you?I don't think high need children should be allowed to just do whatever.......<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"><br>
Not saying it is ever bad for kids to run around, provide it is a SAFE environment where they will not be bothering others. But you know, most places we go to eat are near busy streets and downtown areas where dh and dd can go walking, have fun and not bother anybody.We also take dd everywhere with us so she is used to going places where adults are.<br>
I like to keep her safe as much as possible.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mommyofshmoo</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Oh yeah, and "small people" shouldn't be allowed either, someone could trip.</div>
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Where did I say children shouldn't be allowed in restaurants?<br><br>
As FancyD points out, an adult "little person" has spatial awareness and can avoid hazards on his or her own. A typical toddler just doesn't pay that kind of attention.
 

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Count me in with those who just think letting a small child run around a restaurant is dangerous. Aside from the fact that it could be annoying to other diners - and I have to say, even in family-friendly restaurants, I find it annoying - it would be very easy for a collision to occur with a server carrying hot food or glass dishes.<br><br>
It can be very, very hard to go to a restaurant with a toddler. And you might have to keep your restaurant meals down to a minimum until he gets to an age where he's more capable of staying in his seat. That's just the way it is.<br><br>
I never let my daughter walk around restaurants. Period. If she couldn't sit in her seat, we wouldn't stay, or one of us would take her outside for a little breather. We brought along lots of things to keep her occupied - crayons, little figurines, etc. We brought small snacks for her to eat while waiting for the food. But mostly, we just didn't go out to eat very much from the time she was 18 months until she was about 2 1/2.
 

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Hi Robin-nice to see you over here!<br><br>
To answer the question, not only do I agree that is is unsafe, it also bothers me because if my children see another child running around the resturant, they will want to follow suit. I do have a high needs child, but we have taken her out since she was 2 weeks old so she knows the social rules for resturants. If she gets rowdy, I take her in the bathroom until she calms down. We also eat at a resturant that has outdoor seating and a little play area alot, she loves it! But, it's so hard for her to control her impluses at times, and if she sees another kid running or hears them screaming, she will want to join in because it looks like fun to her.
 

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I have to say we have done many of the things suggested. First we have taught our boys the "resturant rules" from a very very early age. Thinks like we sit in our chairs, don't climb under the table (except to get a dropped crayon), we don't throw anything let alone food, we use our napkins not our shirts, and we ask for things instead of reaching across the table. We use inside voices (something that is norm for them at home, in the car, or anywhere else deemed "inside"), and we don't play with our food.<br><br>
We always pack extra "entertainment" for the kids and have created games and such that can be played while seated nicely at the table. We ask for crackers or fruit to be brought early, and divy it out in little bits to make it last as long as possible.<br><br>
Having said that, if one of my kids would get ansy or upset for what ever reason, DH or I would get up and take them for a walk. Point out pictures on the walls (usually not directly over another diner's table though), and look at the decor. We would check out the lobby, locate the restrooms, or any other places of interest. BUT they entire time they are out of their seats and we are not entering or exiting the resturant we are holding hands and they are right next to me, or they are in my arms. This is precisely so that they do not create a trip hazard for other diners or the waitstaff. I can control their location and watch for the waitstaff this way.<br><br>
Even with all of this there have been times when we have had to box our food up and take it to go. And there have been times when we just ordered to go in the first place if we knew that the current phase in development would not allow for pleasent dining!<br><br>
I think it is irresponsible for parents to put their kiddos in a situation where they are bound to fail and be riddled with no's the during the entire experience. It exhausts the parents, and IMO hurts the kids. There is a time and a place for learning to eat out, and if your kiddo isn't in that place order your food to go and enjoy the same meal in the comfort of your own home. Still less clean up and no prepartion! In the end each child is different and hits phases of being incapable of sitting still for that long at different ages. It is important IMO to know your own child's limits and respect them. In doing that you will also teach them to respect others.<br><br>
Blessings,<br>
N~
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>yoopervegan</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have a 21 month old now. I really do not see what is so hard about keeping children in their highchairs. Dd is spirited and loud, but with just a little advanced planning and checking to make sure we are not setting her up for trouble (like no nap, overstimulated, ill, etc....) we have never had a problem that was not easy to fix. Only once or twice have we had to leave and get our food packed to go. She was disappointed to leave the fun of the crowd and the endless cups of ice and quickly learned what behavior gets us all (self) kicked out.</div>
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I strongly, strongly, strongly disagree with this idea. Apparently your DD is not as physical as some kids are - not to say she isn't just as spirited in her own way, but there's no way you would be saying this if your DD was like mine. No way. My DD has refused to stay in the highchair for as long as she's been big enough to sit in them. I mean, maybe for about 8 minutes or so, but that's it. And for as long as she's been mobile - since 8 months and she's now 12 - she hasn't wanted to be held in our laps either. We don't go out much because of it. When we do, I usually walk around with her outside or in the lobby in between ordering and receiving our food. Once it gets to us, we eat FAST. :LOL Do you honestly believe it's because we just don't plan carefully enough? We go when she isn't tired, preferably when it's not too busy, we take lots of toys. It just doesn't matter. My DD doesn't even want to sit in the high chair at home for more than about 8 minutes. She eats while sitting on the floor sometimes. Some kids just don't like to be contained no matter what kind of toys you provide them.<br><br>
IRT the OP's question....Well, obviously I can totally understand where you're coming from. However, I do try to take her either into the lobby or outside. I would worry about a server spilling something on her if we were weaving in and out of the tables. Also, it isn't so much the toddler wandering around that would bother me, but an adult wandering in between the tables would kind of make me feel like my privacy (such as it is in a restaurant) was being invaded. KWIM?
 

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Richelle, I think we actually agree with each other. We eat out very infrequently so the couple of times we have had to leave actually represents a few months that eating in restaurants was impossible. It has only been recently that dd has figured out resturants can be fun and has been willing to sit in the chair in order to get to go out to eat with us. You know your kid better than anyone. For my dd, a little planning on schedule and what I have on hand can make the difference between a somewhat-annoying-typical-meal-with-a-toddler experience and a nightmare. All I am saying is that if the only way we could eat in a restaurant is to allow dd to wander (and I do not mean a chaperoned trip to the lobby, restroom, fishtank, etc....) then that is an indicator that dd is not ready to eat out and we will just be setting us all up to fail. Maybe we are too rigid, but that is the rule with us and dd knows it. She is to sit in her chair (with the exception of the before mentioned trip to the fishtank when applicable) or we order take-out. No one resents each other and I do not have to negotiate on her safety in order to eat out.
 

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Ds has to stick by the table and not run around. It's hard for the kids that "have to" stay in their seat to see other kids down and having fun. One entertaining thing that ds loves is playing with ice on the table. Yes, it's wet and messy but he's having fun and not disturbing anyone. We also let him play under the table, and that for some reason is very entertaining for him??
 

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I just read through this thread and for a minute i forgot i was on MDC<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"> Some of the attitudes reguarding this issue are really disheartening <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
#1 If you were following the child around and he/she wasnt making a nuisance of themselves.....grabbing food off plates, hiding under other peoples tables, then whats the big deal? I think that would be fine. I think as a mother you probably have enough common sense to keep your child out of a dangerous situation, like if they were running and might crash into a waitress. So no, you are not "that" mother, who would rather ignore her child running crazy in a busy restaurant so she can finish arguing with her husband about sending back cold fajitas.<br><br>
#2 If i want to go out to eat, i'm not going to be held hostage at home by a 2 yr. old, nor do i think any other parent should be. If we can enjoy ourselves with her there, even with a little extra work or planning, then so be it. If its just going to be a big PITA, then i'll stay home and go another time. But i think its rediculous for me to stay home because my toddler isnt capable of understanding the dynamics of table manners or the expectations of how other people think my toddler should act. If i want to go to some hoity-toity expensive restaurant then why would i take her anyway?<br><br>
#3 I am absolutely appalled to hear someone say children are not equal members of society! Would you say that to a 17 yr old? How in the world can you even say that? What about a mentally disabled person who has no capacity to do the things you mentioned (vote, buy cigarettes) are they not equal members of society!? What about children who do amazing things before the age of 18, things that really impact their communities, like neighborhood cleanups and volunteering to help the homeless and raising money for medical research....are these kids not equal members of society?!<br><br><br>
I think a lot of this falls under the "children should be seen and not heard" philosophy, and if so, times are changing. In my opinion, i'm not changing what i do to suit someones outdated paradigm of how toddlers should act in restaurants. I'm a responsible parent and i watch out for my childs safety, but if she gets tired of sitting then a stroll is needed, and i'm respectful of the other patrons and try to teach her to be as well. Its a learning experience......"I get to get up and walk around a bit but i cant bother other people" If someone has a problem as we walk by their table and she gives a cute little wave, then that's their problem and misconstrued perception, not mine.<br><br>
Sorry if my writing is full of spelling errors and run-on's, i'm a little fired up if you cant tell <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I agree that children have the same human rights as adults. But where do you draw the line when it comes to overstepping other people's boundaries? Again, I agree that being responsible and following or holding the hand of a child in a non-traffic area while they roam is fine. I couldn't care less about the kid being near my table or waving.....my concern is strictly with safety. And for many people, especially people who have never waited tables, it is hard to understand what is safe and what is not. Just because you are 5 feet behind toddler and making sure they are not bothering someone does not mean that a waiter will know that toddler is on the floor five feet away. I have seen it many times and as I posted earlier, I tripped and could have seriously hurt a supervised child. The mother was maybe 10 feet behind following the toddler. She was doing "everything right" according to some people on this thread. I would have the same problem if all or most adults felt that wandering around the restaurant randomly was an OK thing to do. It is not safe, it makes waitstaff less efficient, and yes, it does bother some people. You say you would not take your child to a shmancy restaurant but many many people do. Myself included.... We have just recently been forced to take dd to a fancy place as part of a family obligation. We set her up as well as we could in advance, packed as many distractions as we could, got ice, olives, and pickles from the bar, took her to see the fish when she started talking too loud, and was 100% ready to leave if it came down to that or letting her wander. Imagine paying $100 for your meal and having an adult wandering around the tables, waving at you, maybe asking a question, looking at your shoes, trying to get a cracker that dropped under your table. Of course everyone should give kids more leeway and of course I feel for those parents that are stuck in a restaurant with a kid that does not want to follow the social rules of our society during that meal. But if you know your kid is going to do it each and every single time, why subject your child, yourslef, and the other patrons to it? Take toddler to family freindly places to practice for a while until he figures it out.<br><br>
And it cracks me up that I am even arguing this side. Just a couple months ago we went on vacation and were pretty much forced to eat in the schmany restaurant in the bottom level of out hotel for breakfast every morning. We were time zones away from home and dd was ready to eat WAY before normal restaurants opened so we had to use the very very fancy breakfast that wa sinlcuded in our room (they started serving at 6am their time). She was really great every morning and on our last day a couple was lead into the same eating area as us. The woman very loudly proclaimed that she did not want to be seated near "that baby". We were the only people with any sort of children in the hotel so it was very clear who she was talking about. I was really offended that she did not even give dd a chance. Dd stayed in her chair for the entire meal, used low voices, and did not make a mess. But to be frank, enough people DO let thier kids annoy other patrons (and by annoy I do not mean waving, making small messes, or talking loudly) that it gives us all a bad rep.
 

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Yoopervegan - you're right. I was too defensive because I have been hearing almost the exact same statement, "What's so hard about getting her to sit in a highchair?" from people who *don't* mean it in a reasonable way. So, when you said almost the same thing, I reacted as if you *meant* the same thing, when obviously that is not the case. Am I making any sense?
 

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Yes, you make sense <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I am not saying don't take your child out to eat (unless of course you really can't think of anything else to do but wander through the resteraunt) but realy it is not polite or safe to let her wonder in and out of the dining area. Tere are plentyof other places to run around and play where she can be safe and not disruptive to dining patrons. but this coming from a former waitress who won't even let her child *sit* near the isle because something could come flying or popping at her.<br><br>
and if you must move through the resteraunt be sure your child is either in your arms or holding your hand for thier saftey and for the saftey of others. and I don't know if you comment about coffee in your hand was serious or joking but never walk around with hot liquids. what are you going to do with that coffee if you h ave to lunge after your child. at least make sure your hands are free and you atention is very focused.<br><br>
and I am not saying that well behaved children don't belong in resteraunts (and for the record I think ill behaved adults should also not be in resteraunts or other public places) and I have a lot more tolerance for children than adults. but at the same time some people go out to eat and relax and get away from the stress of children. respect that.
 

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I know that there are some who really push it and who's kids have annoyed me while out to eat. But i honestly dont think that was what the OP was refering to. I too am a former waitress from a very busy, fast-passed expensive steakhouse, and I've been around lots of small kids in these type settings, my own included.<br>
From the post, I took it that she was following around her toddler who got bored in a restaurant, enjoying her coffee as she meandered around. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion.<br>
I dont let my kids have the run of whatever place we choose to be, but i'm also not going to forgo the one meal out in a blue moon that i may get because i have to spend 5 min. walking around with a toddler. I'm also not going to expect her to stay in her seat and "act like a proper young lady" at the age of 2, because i really think its outside her cappabilities.<br><br>
I think if more people (you know the ones who give dirty looks and all) would remember what its like to have a 2 yr old and to be dying to get out of the house with your husband for a nice meal, it wouldnt be such a big deal.<br>
I know on several occations I have really wanted to offer to sit close to some young couple who looks fried from parenting and finally trying to get out only to have a baby make a big fuss, so that maybe i could play with the baby a little and give them a few moments peace. But i've always thought they would think that was incredibly weird since things like that arent the norm here in the states <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Robinna</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Would it bother you to see a parent with a coffee cup following a laughing running toddler (20m) around a restaurant?</div>
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Yes.<br><br>
Would it bother me to see a laughing, <i>walking</i> toddler holding mom's hand and cruising through the restaurant? No. Resturants are not places to run in, for all the aforementioned reasons. If your toddler needs to run, take him outside or to a closed section of the restaurant.<br><br>
When my daughter was just learning to walk (9 months), she was creamed by a 2-year-old who was careening through the restaurant. His mom was behind him, but she wasn't quick enough to catch him before he flattened my kid, who was climbing down from the booth so we could put on coats and leave. The other mom was superficially apologetic but tried to pull the "kids get bored in restaurants, what can you do?" line, as though because I also had a young child, I was fine with the idea of letting a small child run through a crowded space full of other people.<br><br>
I'm not fine with that. Call me kid-unfriendly if you like. Kids should not be allowed to run in places where it's a nuisance and a danger to others. Neither should adults.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gaiamom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think as a mother you probably have enough common sense to keep your child out of a dangerous situation, like if they were running and might crash into a waitress.</div>
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The OP did indeed describe her child as "running" though the restuarant.<br><br>
Namaste!
 
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