Dining Poll: Is There an Ideal Age for Kids to Start Dining Out with Mom and Dad?

Whenever we ask about kids and restaurants, we get varying (and passionate!) opinions. So, we’re asking about them again. Should children begin going to restaurants as soon as their parents can tote them in a comfy baby carrier? Are toddlers too young — or just right? Does kindergarten help kids sit through a long meal? Weigh in below!

8 Responses to “Dining Poll: Is There an Ideal Age for Kids to Start Dining Out with Mom and Dad?”

  1. mckra1g

    I brought my daughters to restaurants from infancy. That said, I also left meals half eaten and dragged kids from a restaurant if they didn’t know how to behave in civilized company. My childrearing shouldn’t negatively impact the dining experience for others. Once my kids realized that being an idiot in public meant that they weren’t welcome in public, their manners improved.

  2. Hope

    Just don’t bring babies out to nice restaurants on Saturday nights when adults want to enjoy their evenings! There’s nothing worse than sitting near screaming little kids..especially when they’re not your own!!

  3. Amanda

    I think if you start them young, and teach them table manners (what they can get away with at home isn’t necessarily appropriate for a restaurant), starting with “easier” restaurants then it can work.

  4. Lisa

    We brought our son out with us on most occassions since he was an infant. Sure anniversary dinners etc were reserved for only the two of us, but We wanted him to learn that there are times/places that are special and including him was part of those special experiences. Going out isn’t just about pizza or hamburgers when including kids. The one thing as a parent I felt was important to keep in mind, was it’s not only our special night, but will likely be that for others as well. That said, I was on “high alert” and expected to go for a walk outside when he got fussy.
    Our son turned 6 recently and has developed a varied palate. One of his favorite places to dine is Roy’s Restaurant, and our local Roy’s loves having him too! In fact he gets a little mad if he finds out that we’ve gone there alone on a date (not ot mention the wait staff asks where he is).
    Dinning out is our entertainment, and we want him to experience it too. When we do go to higher end restaurants, I have confidence that he knows how to behave. Hopefully this is something he’ll pass on to his kids someday.
    P.S. He’s such a litle foodie too, trying just about anything!

  5. tanya

    I love eating out and I have four kids. I also like really good food, but I try to be appropriate, if I want
    to go to a nice place with kids, I go at lunch.

  6. Stuart

    Not to toot my own horn, or rather my parents, They started us out at a very early age at home, we would sit down
    about 20 to 30 minutes before dinner was actually served, and we as children and parents would have conversation and such just as you would in a restaurant. So when it came time for us to visit a restaurant we were totally prepared.
    Now it should be mentioned that if we did get out of line, we were promptly taken to the washroom and “tended” too.
    This only had to happen to us one time each.
    So many times parents bring there children to a restaurant and they have horrible manners, they scream, the run around the place, and are just in general ill prepared. To which I blame the parents, children learn what they are taught.

  7. Yvonne

    Children act as they are allowed to act. If the parents allow them to scream, they will. If you are a parent and take your children out, you must teach them (and not allow them to scream) so that they do not “bother” the other diners.

    If you take children out to a kid-friendly restaurant, then they still have to be taught to behave. I love children, and we have taken children with us to many different types of restaurants, including fine dining. I don’t think people should not take their kids to restaurants, I just think they should teach their children how to behave.

    I have been in restaurants where parents allow their kids to scream and do nothing about it, in the hopes that they are teaching their children that screaming will not get them anywhere. Please, teach them at home, not in a restaurant.

  8. Jerry Moore

    I think that the restaurant management is the guilty party, ultimately. Irresponsible people who by basic biology become parents, don’t care at all that they’re annoying others because the usually get away with it. Seat them in the most remote section of the dining room with the other noise makers and after that box their food and toss them and they will soon get the picture. You’re having take out tonight!!

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