Sound Off: Do Kids Belong In Restaurants?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Does this sound familiar: You’re looking forward to nice night out at a local restaurant, maybe even something a little special. When you get there, though, your meal is interrupted by some raucous kids at a nearby table. Or there’s no room for you to sit because too many strollers have crowded out some dining space.

Well, a restaurant in London is drawing some heat for taking its own approach to kids in the dining room, according to a report.

The London Evening Standard says Natasha Young found a £3 charge on her bill – about $5 – for taking her newborn baby into the restaurant and breast feeding him. The staff explained the charge was because her stroller and baby were taking up space, according to the report.

The report prompted a public outcry, and the restaurant in question issued an apology and clarification, saying the charge is meant not for babies but for toddlers who eat a bit, but not as much as children.

Related: Best Family-Friendly Restaurants | Top Kids Eat Free Restaurants

Back in July, a restaurant in Pennsylvania reportedly banned children under 6 due to how loud they can be. Some bars in our area have reportedly banned children. The posh restaurant Jean-Georges reportedly doesn’t allow children under 10 in its formal dining room, but will allow them in the bar area up front. Luigi Q in Hicksville, NY reportedly doesn’t allow children under 14.

We’d like to know what you think about this issue. Do kids belong in restaurants? Take our poll above, and sound off  in our comments section below.

  • TomNJ

    I dont want to smell smoke or B.O., I dont want to hear kids or any music I do not like, I want only the foods I like on the menu…. hey, I know, I will eat at home – duh!

  • Pierre G. Walker, III

    It is sad that certain individuals in American society, selfish and myopic, fail to see the necessity of teaching social skills to children by public social interaction. Children should always be allowed in all restaurants at all times. It is the parent’s responsibility to maintain control and perhaps take a screaming child to a quieter place until calm is restored, but it is essential that children learn how to act in public. Social skills can only be truly practiced in a social setting. Also, the most valuable job in life is having and raising children. It is surely the hardest yet most beneficial job for humanity. When we, as a society, attempt to mandate when and where children may be brought or “appear” for purely social functions, we further isolate our children from the community of humanity that is in great need of positive evolution. Importantly, it is not always possible to schedule or afford child care, and the parent should be allowed to bring the child with them for the base need and enjoyment of eating. Do not blame the child for its actions. It is the parent that is responsible for the child’s actions. And society must allow the learning process. Only those who have not had children would complain too harshly, and those who choose not to participate in propagating the species, always take a back seat to those that take on that herculean task.

    • raf

      I agree. Very well said. Children should be allowed at a restaurant IF the parents know how to handle the kids. Some children are more adult than their parents. LOL. Unfortunately parents who spoil their children and want to eat out, ruins the dining experience for normal folks at eating establishments b/c these maladjusted and unsocialized kids disturbs everyone.

  • my two cents

    i’m for “CHILDREN’S ONLY” restaurants. let those restaurants specialize in the needs of parents that bring children out to eat. i, for one do not want to sit next to some unruly kids while i’m trying to eat dinner but i’m sure those same unruly kids parents wouldn’t be bothered by someone else who is sitting next to them with the same kind of unruly kids.

  • Mary

    Yes, children belong in restaurants. However, parents should not have “selective deafness” when their children become too noisy and disruptive.

    • JoJo Corzine

      Well, apparently they do, and parents also have “selective deafness” in movie theaters too. Nothing pleases me more when I pay $12 a ticket to a movie I’ve been waiting to see for several months, and then during the 9:00 pm show, a 2-yr old starts shrieking and writhing in front of me. Absolutely nothing could please me more!!! [Yes, I’m being very sarcastic when I say that]

  • Jayson

    Let’s have a special section for children, another for rude adults. Keep all children out of adult oriented movies. I am furious by welfare mother’s taking their screaming kids to R rated movies.

  • JaketheFake

    It is a matter of discresion, you should be able to tell what restaurants you can take your kids and as an adult you should be able to avoid restaurants that cater famillies with kids if that bother you.

  • The Eye

    If people are paying money to be served, they deserve to have a stress-free experience in a restaurant. If you have children, then eat at McDonald’s until thy can conduct themselves. Also, though breast-feeding is natural, don’t go out of your way to do it in public.


    Take the baby to McDonald’s.

  • Torgo

    I think we should ban all dogs. That way, childless selfish people who ascribe human emotions to animals can remember that they were children once. Maybe then, their humanity will return.

  • Sal

    I can’t tell you how many of my meals have been ruined by loud, rotten kids.
    My personal pet peeve is when the parent decides to pacify a young child with a spoon to bang on the table.
    All restaurants should have a “No children under 7” rule.
    An added bonus would be a “No parent IQs below three digits”.

  • Kana

    Restaurants range in the type of clientele they wish to attract, from formal dinning to family dinning. Those with children will typically chose restaurants that are family friendly. Although there are some people that regardless of the setting feel they are entitled to do what they want and don’t care if it inconveniences those around them.

  • Cameltows

    I don’t like to eat in restaurants with blacks in them.

  • Charley

    Hell, no they don’t. I sat in a Cheesecake Factory in Hackensack, New Jersey having deinner with a friend. Two tables away from us, two little girls about a year old, both screamed at the top of their lungs for the entire time my friend and I were eating. The parents did absolutely nothing…to quiet them and no one in management even came over to ask the parents to either take the kids outside to calm down, or to leave.

    Children have no business in restaurants other than fast food places like McDonalds. And parents need to learn that this type of behavior by their children, is absolutely unacceptable! Keep them home where they belong, and where you can teach them some manners…don’t subject the rest of the public to their bad behavior!!

  • Junior

    As long as they were TRAINED by their parent and do not act like knucklheads I do not mind, if they are loud, rude, obnoxious, running around etc, absolutely not. I raised four boys and even when they were 2 and 4 years old if you didn’t see them you would not know they were there, they acted like little gentlemen. Got many compliments, and people wanting to send their grandchildren to my house….LOL. It’s a matter of trining your child, not the child training you.

  • Larry Schwarz

    I think it depends on the type of Restaurant and time of day.I think if you go to a Diner,or any type of family friendly establishment you have to expect kids,and they might be noisy.Do not even think of going to Mc Donalds if you want to get away from screaming kids.But I also believe that certain Restaurants and at certain hours some restaurants should be no children,I am talking fancy,more expensive restaurants.The one that bans Children under 14 is a little extreme.I think by age 9 or 10 they would be OK.

  • soccer mama

    Common sense ought to prevail – too bad it usually doesn’t. Throwing french fries on the floor isn’t cute, shrieking isn’t adorable, and if the baby is having a tantrum it’s time to go home. That’s it. As for the noisy grownups, I usually size up my table assignment before accepting it. If I am not pleased, I ask for another.

  • Ellen

    I don’t mind kids in restaurants like in the afternoon, but at night I do like peace and quiet. When we were kids my parents paid for a baby sitter and went out themselves for a well deserve get away, but guess things are different in this day and age.

  • Att. Hoar

    BURRRRRPP!!! Some would argue I shouldn’t be either.

  • NYCChica

    The real problem in any restaurant is rude people whether they are five, forty-five, or seventy-five years old.
    Young kids need to be taught how to behave, and should only be taken to restaurants after they have shown they can do so. It’s called parenting and too many parents don’t do it. My nephews were taught early on and have been a joy to dine with since they were little, and they display the same behavior at home as well. They ask if you are comfortable, would you like something to drink, etc. It comes from the example of their parents.
    Rude adults are a tougher issue. I do my best to tolerate rude diners but I will nicely ask the manager if they could either deal with the issue or move us to another table if it becomes overbearing. It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure all diners enjoy their meal as much as they can help it.
    I don’t think restaurants should charge a fee for kids. If they welcome kids then they should be prepared to deal with them. (Jojo, I sympathize with you. If the parents don’t rein in their unruly kids they should at least tip very well to compensate.)

  • Private Property

    A restaurant is private property and can discriminate as it see fits of who it allows in or not.

    • Bruce Franz

      Actually, no, that’s no true. Where have you been the last 60 years or so.

    • Larry Schwarz

      Bruce is correct,this is not true.A Restaurant can not refuse to serve anyone because of race,religion,national origin,sex,or a person who might be straight or gay.The whole civil rights movement was about this including the lunch counter sit in which I think was Alabama in 1955,I could be wrong about The State or date.However they can refuse service to someone who is unruly.The question here is can Restaurants ban children under a certain age and after a certain hour so people can have a nice quiet meal.My belief Diners and Family friendly restaurants (i.e friendlys,dennys IHOP ) the answer is no.But fancier Restaurants I believe they can and should.I believe no children under 9 or 10 after 7PM.

  • Debbie

    Yes children should be allowed in restaurants. It is their parents responsibilty to teach their chilren how to act appropriately anywhere in public. If the child becomes unruly in a restaurant the parent should try to let the child know that their behavior is unacceptable. If the child continues to be disruptive it is the parents responsibility to apologize and ask the waitress to package up their food and leave the restaurant. Other patrons should not be affected by a child that does not know how to behave. If parents allow their children to be disruptive and nothing is done to correct their behavior, the child does not know that their behavior is unacceptable.

    • Cece

      Whoooaaa . . . there’s a lot of “shoulds” in your post. Yes parents SHOULD control their child’s behavior but often they DON’T. Patrons SHOULD not be affected by unruly children in a restaurant but they ARE. Parents SHOULD leave a restaurant with an unruly child but they DON’T. Apparently there are parents who love hearing their children’s shrill voices and think others might enjoy it as well. And yes, children SHOULD be allowed in restaurants if they know how to behave properly in one (some do) but if your kid isn’t one of them, then don’t attempt it. A restaurant is NOT the place to start teaching kids how to behave at a table. That SHOULD begin at home.

      • Att. Hoar

        There’s only 2

  • Nancy

    I have walked into restaurants where the kids were so loud and misbehaved and I just walked out before even sitting down. In this economy a meal in a restaurant is a luxury that I don’t want ruined by some kids who’s parents have not taught them proper behavior in a public setting

  • Dorothy

    I feel like kids shouldn’t be around certain environment, Especially Restaurants that has a bar in it,Kids shouldn’t be allowed in at all.

  • Marcel Dimanche

    Children misbehave in public because parents do not discipline their children on how to behave in public. This is a parental problem, children behave according to what they are taught or not taught.

  • Terry T

    The question should be, should parent with unruly children be allowed to eat in a restaurant and disturb other patrons. There are some people with children that think that any public space is their living room and proceed to behave that way. So maybe it should be set up if parents go to a restaurant with their children, and their children wind up acting up, and the parents do nothing about it, then they should be banned in the future. Take each on a case by case basis.

  • Jojo

    I am a waitress at a diner and I can tell you that many times mothers come in with their kids who run around the diner take all the sugar and salt an pour it on the tables, napkins all over the place then the moms leave a $1.00 tip on a $25.00 bill and we are left cleaning up the mess and running around providing good service and going above and beyond.

    • UN Owen

      Nd, I’ll betcha a lot of these ignoramus’ ares either (the SCOURGE of NYC) tourists, or, people who, well – lets say, they can definitely afford to (leave you a tip). It is disgusting – especially in the past decade – this horrible onslaught of TOURISTS, who think EVERY place is a frakkin’ Chuck E. Cheese.

      As I said in my posting, I think anyone whose been a patron with these horrors should tell the management: ‘my business, or their (lack of). I never go to places where there MIGHT be a kid, and I’ve seen some throw OUT these strollers, and kids. On the few occasions where there were ill-behaved kids,mans parents (who,mreally are the ones to blame), I give them an earful.

      Wish you the best -especially as the holidays are coming.

  • Dad

    I agree with you Jimmy. There are many Kids that do not act up when out at restaurants or anywhere in public. Do we want to punish good kids by excluding them from a night out with their families. I would stay home with my kids instead.

  • the bandid

    Jimmy, you hit the nail in the head, adults now days are worse than little kids, they yap all night on they mobile and don’t care who they annoy

  • Larry

    When my kids were little, we hired a baby sitter. People should be able to walk into a restaurant after 7 o clock and not have screaming kids destroying an environment meant for adults.

    • val

      I agree with you. There are child friendly “family” restaurants where you expect a little more “loud” behavior, and there are places like Jean Georges and the like where I cannot imagine anyone would bring a child. There is a time and place for children. I have been out to dinner with my kids and without and I choose the time and the type of restaurant for each one.

  • Jimmy

    I’d rather be in a restaurant with children than one filled with the rude adults who happen to be much more common than noisy children.

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