Should you take your child(ren) to a restaurant? Which restaurant? When? Yes, this is a touchy subject. There was a restaurant in Pennsylvania recently featured in the news that banned kids under 6. Is this a good idea? And—what should you do when you take your child(ren) to a restaurant?
You need to know your child first. Is your child being breast fed? Is the restaurant “liberated” for this act? Are you going to be the trail blazer? Is your child up to it? Do you want to put your child and children through the experience of being asked to leave?
Next, you need to ask yourself what your child(ren) is (are) experiencing health-wise? Is your child colicky or irritable? Is this the best time to take her or him out? Do you have a choice if you’re traveling, or juggling work and other obligations?
Other questions come up: how much can you control her/his behavior, or is your child able to control her/his behavior? Your child may be going through the “terrible twos” and be somewhat impossible. She or he may be throwing things all the time (sometimes necessary for eye-hand coordination and development). Your child may be very wiggly. Or your child may be fretful and crying a lot. Is this a good time to take your child out for an airing? As a whole, Americans are not as tolerant of young children in restaurants as are other peoples.
More questions: Is the restaurant set up for kids? Fast food restaurants usually are—with kid seats. kid food, and changing tables. Surroundings are easily cleaned, with no table cloths and tile floors. Unfortunately, they offer other distractions—other kids, bright lights, bright colors, and lots of noise. Your child(ren) may get hyped up. Sometimes there are lots of older people at these restaurants, sensitive to noise, disruption, and children running around.
What about the service people at the facility? Do they know how to handle kids? Do they bring crackers, ice water, crayons and paper? Do they actually talk to them? (By the way, if they do—tip them well!)
So—come prepared. Bring lots of toys, drawing materials, snacks, and other diversions so that everyone can have a wonderful time.