Every Thursday, I post a writing prompt that focuses on either parenting or family, as well as my answer. And then I hold my breath and pray that you readers will post your own responses to the prompt in the comments section.
Here we go.
I recently saw on the news that some restaurants around the country are starting to prohibit children under a certain age from dining at their establishment. The idea is that younger children can be disruptive to other diners and in an effort to keep all diners happy, certain restaurants have started putting a sign in their window that states no children are allowed. What do you think of this?
Oh where to start. I think it’s up to the restaurant if they want to prohibit children, but they need to remember that parents–and others–may be turned off from restaurants that aren’t family-friendly. It seems a little hoity-toity to me not to allow children, but I understand and accept what restaurants are trying to do.
What it really comes down to, though, is the parents knowing their child and what their child is capable of. If your child tends to be rowdy or prone to tantrums over small things, don’t take him to a nicer restaurant until he’s a little older.
Things I’ve learned to keep in mind when choosing a restaurant for dinner:
1. Do they have a children’s menu? If they don’t, it’s a good bet that they aren’t going to be happy with a toddler throwing a tantrum.
2. Is it around time for your child’s nap or is your child super-hungry? A lot of restaurants will offer crackers for your little one if it might be a while until your dinner is served, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a bag of Cheerios or Fruit Loops in your purse.
3. Take small, quiet toys for your child to play with while waiting to be served. Even their own coloring book and crayons can help keep them occupied in the lull between ordering and being served.
4. Have a set discipline plan with your partner for if your child throws a tantrum, acts out, etc. Sometimes the only thing you can do is remove your child from the situation in an effort to get them to calm down, not bother other diners, keep your sanity, etc. And that’s what to-go boxes are for.
Greg and I have learned all of these things after trial and error with Zoey. After a recent experience at Pizzeria Uno in which Zoey was due for a nap and was acting out because of it, we realized that we were expecting too much from our toddler. She isn’t ready for the sit down restaurants unless we take toys, snacks, etc. We weren’t prepared for this trip because it was kind of an impromptu decision and Zoey ended up not being a happy camper. As a result, we ended up leaving the restaurant with to-go boxes.
And frankly, Zoey would have been a lot happier if we had just gone to McDonalds anyway.
Please write your response to the prompt in the comments section.