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Crying Children

Children cry; everyone knows this. However, it is important to remember that the other restaurant guests around you will only have so much patience for this audible intrusion on their dining experience. It also hinders the server’s ability to communicate with your party, potentially taking away from your own experience. If your child does begin to cry or act out, gently relocate them to a more private area while they calm down.

Baby Steps How to better enjoy your dining experience, not ruin it for others and maintain your sanity.

“please, thank you, yes ma’am, no sir,” has declined. It is much appreciated by servers when much smaller humans treat them respectfully, which will in turn help your overall experience.

Preparing children to Order for Themselves

Entertainment and Attention

Children innately crave attention, and from a young age they are constantly trying to find ways to get it. If you are not able to engage your children in conversation or to give them the level of attention that they crave, come prepared with a bag of “distractions” including books and quiet toys. As a parent, you know about how long your children can stay occupied by one thing, so it is wise to plan accordingly.


Manners matter. A well-behaved child at home is more likely to have that same behavior transfer over into a public setting. Yes, there are always other variables that can come into play. But practice makes semi-permanent, and if a child is given guidelines for appropriate manners and behavior at home, it won’t be as much of a struggle when in public. It seems that in recent years, teaching manners such as

From a server’s position, one of the more frustrating occurrences can be the seemingly simple act of taking a tables order. When a table says that they are ready to order then proceeds to debate various choices out loud, it can be frustrating. When it comes to children ordering for themselves, it can be even more stressful for everyone involved. If your little one wishes to tell the server their own order, have them practice what they will say to you first. Trying to decide on the spot if your child wants a burger or chicken fingers can be taxing. If there are dietary restrictions or preferences, make sure that you or your child makes these known from the beginning. It is also likely that, should your child need their food quickly, your server can happily accommodate.

Maintaining Messes

Few things can bring down a server’s spirits more than having to pick up copious amounts of crushed crackers or sugar packets that have been thrown all over their section in the middle of the dinner rush. Yes, there is always going to be some level of mess from every table. But helping to contain this out of respect for the staff is so much more helpful than most people understand.

Make sure the restaurant allows children.

Know your limits.

Use common sense and be considerate.

Go early.

Tag team issues to remove the pressure on one parent.

Ask for table near restrooms or a corner table. Or get seated outdoors if possible.

Plan your getaway.

Set ground rules with your children. Let them know what is expected and consequences for going off script.

Treat eating out as a reward to motivate them to behave in public.

See if you can get a female waiter; they tend to be more patient.

Get friendly with wait staff. They can be your allies or adversaries.

Be prepared to order fairly quickly. It also can’t hurt to ask for the check at the same time.

Have realistic expectations and concede the experience won’t be like sharing a table with adults. Get something for them to nibble on posthaste. Don’t expect the worst. Your kids may surprise you.

Avoid restaurants with tablecloths.

Dessert should be a reward.

Tip well.


Profile for Preview 918

January 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 1)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For over 30 years, Preview has been the best resource for dis...

January 2017 (Vol. 31, No. 1)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 For over 30 years, Preview has been the best resource for dis...