Thursday, March 31, 2011

dining etiquette + children part 1: crying babies

Back in the good old days when children were 'seen but not heard' dining out had one less distraction. With the exception of Chuck-E-Cheese's (and some other family friendly restaurants) there is no place in an adult oriented restaurant for a crying baby/child.  Somewhere along the line parents forgot how to deal with the situation when it arises, allow me to refresh your memories:

The solution here is easy, when a small child starts to fuss, count to ten in your head, if the child continues to makes unpleasant noises beyond these first ten seconds, stand up, pick the child up and REMOVE YOURSELF FROM THE DINING ROOM!  The allowable time frame does stretch a little when you are in a noisy diner or a family restaurant, but in casual fine dining establishments or above, allowing your child to cry in the dining room is unacceptable.  You may be used to the sound, but that couple having a romantic dinner at the table next to you are not.

This goes for a child of 3-4yrs as well.  Sitting in a pleasant coffee shop with a child who is acting up and trying to discipline your child while remaining there is unfair to the other patrons.  The key is to remove yourself and your child from the area where other people are paying for things (I can't stress this enough!).

You may not realize, but you could even cause a fine dining restaurant to lose money.  Due to your screaming child some people may choose to leave before dessert that they otherwise would have had, or even worse, the server may have to comp part of the meal (or all of it depending on the severity of unpleasantness).

Personally, I understand that part of the cost of dining out is paying a babysitter, I encourage other parents to adopt this same philosophy.


  1. Agree, Agree, Agree. It is also not acceptable to allow your restless toddler to roam the entire dining room getting in the servers way. If they can't sit in a high chair for an hour and a half. Leave them at home.

  2. I agree that noisy children are an irritant in public eateries. As are loud, obnoxious adults who shrieks loudly as if they are at a comedy club. Anyone who chooses to dine in public should respect the comfort of their fellow patrons.

  3. On the other side of the coin...Don't give me a dirty look when I arrive with 3 children under the age of 8. I know it's hard to believe but my children begged to go there. NOT McDonalds or Crabby Joes but your restarant!

    I don't mind being sat in the far corner away from the romatic couple but we do not have the plague, just kids.

    Don't offer us the kids menu. I don't even understand why they exist.

    Don't roll your eyes when they ask for water only, they don't drink beer yet. They also don't drink pop... but they do enjoy octopus, spicey curries, raw oysters and pickled quail eggs.

    Given the choice they would all have lobster and steaks but remember we have 3 kids and we are not laying golden eggs so sometimes they share. Don't sigh.

    ..and yes they will all have to go to the bathroom once. It's part of the experience to check it out don't you think?

    Although we had three children in three years we are not technically stupid. We realise there is a window of opportunity. We won't linger and when we say we want the bill, we mean ...get us out of here or one of my kids is going to scream!

    OH and tipping? We tip well and we expect the kids to chip in too!

    1. You are a moron and are very much technically stupid. God I hope karma bites you in the ass.

  4. To anonymous 3: Thank you for demonstrating that there are parents who not only enjoy food themselves, but have passed this love onto their children. Unfortunately, you are in the minority, but it is a true service delight to encounter a family like yours!

  5. In Stratford, even irony is delicious.
    I'll never go public with my "Who's the Chew?" theory... but at the Screaming Avocado Cafe Japan relief fundraiser dinner a couple of nights ago, the person I think is The Chew was seated right beside an [adorable but boisterous] infant!
    I guess revenge is a dish best served... in the name of charity.

  6. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! Keep up the good work. Table Etiquette


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