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What do you think?

Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive May 2006: What do you think?
By Jackie on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 12:48 pm:

This is a topic I saw another board. I never gave the topic much thought, but apparently others do.
What do you find acceptable for your child to bring in to a restaurant? I mean a lot of places have coloring sheets and crayons to keep the young ones busy while waiting. My kids have brought books or their own coloring stuff to keep themselves busy. My oldest has brought his gameboy from time to time. It has never been a problem. The kids play with what they brought until dinner is served. There toys get put to the side, we eat, we leave.
But, how about those portable dvd players? Do you consider this different then a child reading a book, or playing gameboy while quietly waiting for their meal?
Personally I rather have a child quietly doing something, then crying or running around.
What do you think is acceptable for kids to be doing at a restaurant while waiting?

By Yjja123 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:05 pm:

Personally, I do not allow my kids to bring entertainment to the table. I think dinner time is family time. We talk about our day and do not need stuff to keep us busy at the table. My kids have sat through several course meals when they were toddlers. They were always well behaved (because this is something they knew was expected of them)).
As far as other peoples kids... I would prefer them using a DVD player, game boy, book, whatever, over having a fussy child or worse a kid that runs around. There is nothing that irritates me more than being at a restaurant and having some kid running around while the parents ignore them. Argggh!

By Jackie on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:15 pm:

I am talking about going to a restaurant, not at home.
I just have to giggle Yvonne, on what you wrote that your kids were always well behaved and knew what was expected of them. See, my older 2 kids are night and day. My oldest we could bring anywhere, travel hrs and hrs in a car and he could very easily entertain himself. Then my daughter came along, and she was just "different" from the get go. She was and still is my wild child. It did not make a difference if the rules were explained to her before going into a restaurant, or any other public place. It did not matter that if she misbehaved she would get taken out to wait in the car with me or my husband. That child did not sit still very long(now she is older she does). My daughter could recite the rules to proper behavior when out in public. What she said and what she did were two dift things. I only wish that we had a portable dvd player to keep her in her seat.
I still sometimes like to color when waiting for my food. Yep, Im just a big kid. I love when restaurants give out crayons and coloring paper. Faith who is 20 months old, loves to scibble on it as well. It is great if people have kids who do not need to color. I find coloring relaxing LOL..

By Tonya on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:29 pm:

I see no difference in a DVD player or coloring as long as it is not disturbing others while they are eating aorund us go for it.

Jackie, Jade is just like your DD as she knows the rules can tell them to you but for her to follow them is crazy. She just canot sit still.

Timym could sit for hours and be quiet while waiting for others to eat and would entertain himself but not Jade.

By Janet on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:31 pm:

We always brought a small plastic box of crayons (the kind the kids use at school) and a coloring book. I think DVD players are a bit much in a restaurant, and it really doesn't help teach a child to sit quietly or learn any social skills. I suppose one could argue the same about crayons, but in my opinion it's different. My youngest dd is 11 and she still asks for a pen and draws on the back of her placemat whenever we go out, but she participates in conversation and such...
I do hate the wild kids in a restaurant! My dh and I were out last night on a rare "alone" date, and there was this kid at the table behind us who was punching a balloon and yelling, while his parents totally ignored him. Amazing.

By Debbie on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:32 pm:

Well, my first ds never had a problem sitting at a restaurant with no entertainment. Now, my 2nd ds just can't do it. It has nothing to do with discipline(or lack of),or not knowing what is expected of him. He is just very active and has a hard time sitting for long periods of time. We always brought a few hot wheels for him to play with while we were waiting for our food. He is almost 6 now, and I still carry a few cars in my purse, though he doesn't need them too often these days. Both my boys like to color and do the activities on the little books that most restaurants pass out. I personally, wouldn't bring a DVD player to a restaurant, but I don't care if others do. I always say do whatever works for you.

By Kaye on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:34 pm:

Ultimately I don't care what you do as long as it doesn't bother me. Noisy baby toys bother me, the kid with the whistle at chili's the other day bothered me A LOT, if you dvd player didn't have headphones it would bother me.

What about my kids, what do I do? Most of the time they are not allowed to bring extra items in. Most places do have coloring books and if not they can be part of the conversation. I expect them to look at the menu, pick out their food, place their order. Really it doesn't leave all that much time :) But there are some restruants that take much longer than others. If we are going out somewhere very nice, that I really want to escape and talk to my hubby, I will let the kids bring their game boys. Again the rules are pick out your food and order before you can play, the sound must be off.

By Tink on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:45 pm:

Ditto Janet. I do bring things into restaurants like books, crayons and paper but a DVD player or Gameboy crosses the line. Yes, I'd prefer that to a child who is up and running around but I just wonder why bring a child that can't behave into a public area where others are trying to relax and enjoy a meal? I realize that some children have a tougher time sitting still at the table (I had one of those!) but we didn't go out to eat with the kids when he had trouble with that. I cooked at home and brought home take-out until he had the self-control to act appropriately in a restaurant. I just see a DVD player as a babysitter for a child whose parents can't be bothered to supervise or entertainment for a child that can't be bothered to interact with his family.

Basically, I wouldn't be totally offended to see a family with a DVD player at a restaurant's table but I would probably notice and disapprove on some level. I certainly won't let our kids bring one to any meal.

By Vicki on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 02:06 pm:

Before I had a child, I would have thought differently about people bringing game boys and dvd players into a restaurant. But now, I say what ever it takes. LOL Dd has always been really good in restaurants and coloring is fine for her. But she has had moments at other times. LOL If a game boy or dvd players keeps your child entertained until the meal comes and it means you can go out as a family for dinner once in awhile, go for it!!

By Yjja123 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 02:39 pm:

"I am talking about going to a restaurant, not at home."
Dinner time at home and at a restaurant are treated the same in my family. We use the time to talk about our day.

By Reds9298 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 02:52 pm:

I guess this seems strange to me, this idea of bringing entertainment to the table, whether at home or a restaurant. I only have one child, almost 2, and I've never even considered bringing entertainment. I have a bowl of snacks (like cheerios) that she munches on while we wait for our food to come. Once there were crayons/paper at Cracker Barrel, but that was just once. I guess if it's there I don't mind her coloring a bit, but she doesn't NEED it. If I recall, the coloring actually caused problems and she would have been better off with nothing.

I think kids behave in public the way they are expected to behave at home. She's had her moments at dinner at home and that didn't last long, because when there's a problem, she's "done". All one warning first, the second time "you're done": throw her cup, throw her food, feet on the table, screaming for the fun of it, playing in food and not eating it. She's tried all of those but once she realized dinner is over for her, she got the picture very quickly. LOL:) She's never done these things in public, but I guess if she were just being terrible for some reason, we would all get up and leave, hungry or not.

I guess I feel like Yvonne does. Dinnertime is very important for us. I'm not trying to be judgemental in any way at all, I guess this idea of bringing toys/entertainment to dinner at any age is really foreign to me. I just thought you talked at the dinner table!:)

If I saw kids playing with things at another table, I wouldn't think twice about it though unless it was causing a disruption.

By Crystal915 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 02:54 pm:

We don't usually bring something with us, but we also don't go to a sit down resteraunt with the kids very often. I'm not opposed to bringing whatever it takes to keep small children quiet and entertained (provided the entertainment is quiet!), but older children should learn to sit and be socialable. When we do go out, crayons and paper keep the kids happy until the food is served. Actually, an appetizer is often helpful, too. Like Cori, I wouldn't be offended if I saw a family with a DVD player, but I wouldn't bring one.

By Melanie on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:02 pm:

We don't bring things for our kids, but it certainly would not bother me if another family did.

By Cocoabutter on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:04 pm:

At home, ds is usually really good at the table. But it's a more relaxed atmpshpere. In a restaurant, the environment is more stimulating, and ever since he was a toddler, we have had problems getting him to sit still. Dinner out with him has never been very relaxing. Crayons and placemats with games on them only keep him busy for a few minutes until he has done all the games and colored all over the back.

Lately we have been allowing him to bring his gameboy into restaurants on the condition that it be put away while we are eating and not touched until we leave. I have only had to take it away from him once when he got it out during the meal, but other than that, at 9 years old, he is much better behaved than he ever used to be.

I agree, older kids should be able to sit still and behave in a restaurant without going to the efforts to provide distractions. A book would be okay for an older kid to bring, but nothing else.

By Conni on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:14 pm:

We dont take things for our kids.

By Jackie on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:16 pm:

I guess what made this topic heated over on the other board as the fact that parenting issues were brought up. It is so hard. We all have different kids, we all parent differently. I can say my kids have never brought a gameboy, a coloring book, a book to our dinner table at home. I have no problems if my kids want to bring a book or their gameboys to a restaurant. My kids are very much the chatter boxes. We all talk at the dinner table regardless of where we are at.
Do any of you have the restaurant "Friendlys" by you? They have a little section with toys and coloring sheets and books for kids to take back to their tables. My kids love that. I dont love the fact of all the germs on those toys. I do love the fact that the kids can play with differnt things if they choose.

By Dawnk777 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:28 pm:

My 14yo still likes to draw, while she's waiting for her food, or read a book. Even though my kids are teens, it seems when they are done eating, they want to go. If they have stuff, it allows Gary and I to talk more. We still end up talking as a family, though.

By Truestori on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:32 pm:

Great topic! I am the unorganzied mom that rarely ever packed a diaper bag so my kids learned to behave with what the restaurant supplied! :)

Now, things have changed...just the other day my seven year old gets out with a backpack full of things. I'm like ok whats in there, and he pulls out his slippers which he proceeded to tell me were going to be put on under the table in the restaurant! It was so funny, I just started laughing.
What ever people need to bring to make their kids behave for them is fine with me. I hate the people that give dirty looks if a baby makes a wimper.

By Juli4 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 03:40 pm:

I don't bring things in for my kids ages 5,3,2. Then again we don't really eat out much with all of them. We go out when they are with grandparens or something like that. I have found that bringing stuff is more work usually. They tend to go into play mode and get louder. Crayons and paper are fine, but not too much paper because then they can get noisy. Simple is easiest for us as far as bringing toys into a resturaunt. I mean kids are going to get loud and especially if you have more than one. It is just the way it is. You teach them the best you can how to behave sociably and try to realize that they are occassionally going to misbehave in public, but you correct it and hope that it is better next time. When I see parents with a loud kid (young kid) I usually try to smile at them and let them know that it doesn't bother me because the worst thing is to be in a situation and get disapproving looks. Really though by the time they are 4 or 5 they should know how to behave and be quiet in a resturant reasonably. Any younger and I try to be real understanding. A dvd player is a bit much though I think.

By Tayjar on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 04:34 pm:

We let the kids take something to read or write on. Lately, we have been taking travel size card games or math flash cards and we play a game as a family.

I really don't care what other parents let their kids do as long as their kids aren't running around or fighting with each other. I tend to be more forgiving when it's a baby or toddler making a fuss.

By Tripletmom on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 05:23 pm:

I never had to bring anything for my DD for the most part she always behaved appropriately in a restaurant.Only once did she act up before we ordered,she got one warning and continued to act up.I called the waitress over and thanked her for her time but told her we were leaving because I wasn't buying anything for a child who didn't want to listen.My DD never acted up in a restaurant again.With the triplets it should be quite interesting.....

By Kaye on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 05:36 pm:

I think one of the things worth noting is for me the difference in eating at home and eating out is time. At home we set the table together, clean up together, and we only sit at the table for 30 or som minutes. When we go out to eat we are there a minimum of an hour and my favorite place take about 2 hours. So I don't mind on the long trips if they have something to help fill the time, as long as it doesn't interfere with our dinner and others.

Why take the kids out if they can't behave, well honestly they don't learn if they don't practice. So we do go to shorter places, for practice. As adults we have these big long meals to sit and chat over, and honestly the kids just don't have that much too say. It all depends on the age of the kids and how often you eat out. We eat out 3 or more times a week. My kids are pretty used to it and they mostly behave (the oldest two always youngest...well). But again there are some restruants that I think it is asking too much of them. For me my 3 courses take a lot of time to eat and talk, the kids meals just don't take that same time.

By Amecmom on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 05:38 pm:

As a teacher I know what realistic expectations are and are not for children. As a mom, I know what I can reasonably ask of my child and what is pie in the sky.

My son has sensory processing issues. There are times when he's fine and times when he needs to zone out or be distracted.

In the long run, anything that does not get in the way of the other diners enjoying their meal is okay with me.

What's not OK are the "looks" people sometimes give. Everybody just needs to stop judging what's good for someone else and look to judging what good for themselves.


By Dawnk777 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 06:06 pm:

I don't like kids running around, either. We were at Chili's, sometimes in the last year. The family was done eating and the kids were bored. They were running around and climbing on the booths and stuff. I was waiting for a waitress, with hot fajita pans in her hand to trip on them! I don't know why they couldn't just go to someone's house to talk. No one was watching those kids. They looked to be about 2-3yo.

By Pamt on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 07:17 pm:

Ditto Yvonne---every post. I can't imagine a DVD player at the dinner table, but then again I'm opposed to them in cars as well.

By Yjja123 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 07:47 pm:

I worry about what we are setting our kids up for in the future. Does every minute of the day need to be entertainment? I am NOT pointing fingers at anyone. I think that our generation of kids are simply too plugged in. This includes my own children. They love watching TV, movies, and playing Playstation and Game Boy. I try to limit their exposure. I am sure that IF I allowed them to have the Game boy at the table, they would jump at the chance. We would miss out on hearing about their life. Dinnertime without entertainment requires us all to relax and simply enjoy eachothers company. It is too easy to get caught up in hectic schedules and without our family dinnertime I think we would miss out.
Note: I am speaking only about my own family!

By Breann on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 08:22 pm:

We also don't bring anything to the table. Especially at restaurants. That's a great time for family conversation. Even for little ones. I especially enjoy it because I'm not the one trying to serve dinner. I can just sit back and relax and enjoy the conversation. :)

By Reds9298 on Monday, May 1, 2006 - 08:53 pm:

Yvonne- I share your concerns completely! I'm also not pointing ANY fingers because goodness knows my almost 2 yr. old has her share of what I consider to be appropriate TV/video time. But I DO question at times when do we draw the line, at appropriate ages of course, and say 'Hey, it's time to sit still and listen and partake in something that maybe you don't find too interesting but you are still expected to participate in', you know?

Kaye- I completely agree with you about going out WHEN the kid(s) have problems behaving. If it's really bad, then go to McD's, but practice, practice, practice.

By Truestori on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 12:14 am:

At dinner this evening my 13-year-old daughter said that there was a study about teenagers and the average teen only talks to the parents 5-10min. a day.

That is sad :(

My husband and I make it a point to sit down at dinner most evenings and talk to our children together about funny stuff, stuff that happened during the day etc. Its so important!

By Paulas on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 12:24 am:

If we are on a long trip my kids will have toys in the car and will sometimes bring the barbie or whatever in with them.

We have gameboys/DVDs for the car on these long trips but would never take them in with us. It's not that I am morally against them. I just think that my kids would drop them or forget them or something. We never watch tv at home so we don't at a restaurant either.

They usually color, talk, play tic-tac-toe or eye spy while waiting for their meal. Sometimes they fight too. That keeps them entertained for quite some time :)

By Insaneusmcwife on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 06:31 am:

I don't see much difference between the dvd player and the gameboy. I do let them bring in their gamboys/leapsters if we are going to a place like Red Lobster and the wait is upwards of 20 min to be seated. But to a place where we will be seated right away, probably not. We have never brought in the dvd player to a restraunt but then again the kids have never asked.

By Conni on Tuesday, May 2, 2006 - 08:20 am:

Yvonne, I agree with you too. And I am speaking only about what I want for my family as well. It doesnt bother me what other people do.

It's funny this is being discussed because the parenting mag Blake's teacher sent home this month has an article about kids being too plugged in!!!! :)

I have a severely ADHD child and another that is *super* high energy, like his Dad!! We still dont take things into rest. for them. I let one be in charge of the beeper while we wait for a table and the other can hold the door for people coming and going. lol They usually either see someone they know and go over and talk or they are friendly with other people waiting with us. At the table we talk, draw, color, play tic tac toe, biccer sometimes, figure out buttons on the cell phone, etc... Now that my kids are older eating out is great! It was a challenge at times when they were younger for sure. Many, many times I take them out by myself because dh is gone alot or working late. They love to eat out. We rarely ever eat at kiddie rest. with play areas, because I can't stand the food there. We like to eat at nicer sit down rest. with a decent menu.

At our Red Lobster they have let my youngest catch Lobsters We usually find that the servers love to go the extra mile for our kids when we go out. This means a very good tip for them!!! :)

In the magazine I mentioned there is a list of things to do this summer that are not ELECTRONIC. This is something I plan to use this summer. We have WAY too many electronics in our house. :( My dh is as bad as the kids. The kids have also told me I am on the computer too much. So, I plan to really limit myself as well. I get so much more done and feel better when I am not on the computer very much!! It's strange. My kids seem happier when they havent been playing video games, watching much TV or had much computer time. They act alot nicer??? :)

Last night we played baseball before dinner and right after dinner the whole family and the 3 dogs went for a walk around the neighborhood... (as opposed to us all scattering after dinner and getting on electronic devices) It was nice. I hope to encourage more evenings like this. But sometimes *I* just want to veg out and am good with my kids getting on the computer if it keeps them quiet. lol So, I am certainly not a perfect Mom!!! After reading the article I read, I do hope to do better. :)

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