Kid clustering in restaurants

We went to a local restaurant tonight with our 2 year old in tow. Everything was going fine – he was content with his book & car. And then they seated a couple with 2 kids (I’m guessing ages 3 & 1) right next to us. I can only assume they’re thinking that if they put kids together they’ll entertain each other – it contains the drama & mess to one area/server, right? Wrong. As soon as they got to their table, our son was more interested in them than in anything else. He wanted to talk to them. He wanted to flirt with the mom & the little girl (seriously – at 2 he’s already a player. *sigh*) He wanted their toys. He wanted to repeat everything they said & did. He wanted their food instead of his own. So, started out as a nice family dinner ended up with us taking turns eating at the table alone(well, really inhaling what we could in an attempt to speed up the process), while the other walked him around to distract him from the other table with kids.  And the other kids started acting up & their parents went through the same thing.

So, please – if you own a restaurant or you are a host/ess at a restaurant, remember: Kids should be seated AWAY from other tables with kids. Or offer parents blinders for their kids. You know, like race horses wear. Hmmm…maybe that will be my mom invention that gets me on the Oprah show for moms who become millionairs with their inventions? No?

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2 Responses to Kid clustering in restaurants

  1. Maiaoming says:

    Ha! This is so true. I guess the strategy is to stick all the ‘problematic’ customers in one place so that other customers can head in the opposite direction. But, like you say, it just makes things worse, not better.

    Maybe along with babysitters, there should be teens/tweens who hire themselves out to accompany parents to dinner or other places so that we can eat, shop, etc. at a normal pace… I took my daughter to the store with an older child last night, and it was SO nice to have someone else diverting her attention… I need some loaner older siblings!!!

  2. ChrEliz says:

    I have a different point of view: I consider it a success when my children are *quiet* in restaurants, not when they actually *eat* in restaurants. (Mine are almost-4 and 19 months, so I don’t think it’s realistic for me to expect them to actually eat anything when we go out to eat, but they eat great at home. We don’t go out much.) Therefore, I love sitting near other kids because my kids (by the grace of god) just sit there in their seats and watch/talk about what the other kid is doing. My almost-4 year old provides running commentary: “That little boy is eating broccoli now, oh, now he spit it out. He threw his sippy, Mommy. Now he’s starting to throw a tantrum. I’m doing much better listening than that boy is, Mommy. Aren’t I?” (Mom mumbles assent through a mouth full of food, grateful that my kids are quiet.) Then I pull out the snack trap cups, cut up whatever they didn’t eat into bite sizes (quesadillas work well for this), and let them eat it in the car on the way home. No idea why, but my kids just don’t like to eat in restaurants. That being said, I feel ya. When Toddler used to throw fits in restaurants just a few short months ago, I hated those taking turns at the table experiences. Thank god nothing with little kids lasts very long.

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