'Why I'd ban children from cafes and restaurants'

A British TV personality has been slammed for suggesting something that, well, most of us have thought at one time, if not all the time…

Janet Street Porter had a lengthy rant in the Daily Mail about one of her top five hates: children in cafes.

She says, “There’s nothing more enjoyable in life than going out to eat — breakfast, lunch or dinner, it doesn’t matter which. Sitting with friends and having a good natter, preferably over drinks or a really good cup of coffee, is one of life’s pleasures.

“But how many dining experiences are ruined because you are forced to conduct your conversation over a cacophony generated by something small, cross and wearing a nappy?”

She goes on to lament the “role reversal” that’s taken place in her country that sees restaurants and cafes advertising themselves as “family friendly”.

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“What about the rest of us — the people who might want to enjoy a meal without a toddler (not even one we’re related to) for company?” she says before adding that most mums seem to be impervious to the sounds – and smells – their children make.

It’s not just the babies that get her goat, either: “Many mums seem to think they have a divine right to monopolise any cafe they can jam their buggies inside.”

“When I was young, children were seen and not heard in public when you were out for a meal with mum and dad. Not any more. An increasing number of parents think their kids can express themselves however they like. They imagine that their children are ‘fun’ and ‘creative’ when, in fact, they’re being loathsome.

Ms Street Porter says there should be restrictions on children in eating establishments.

“Up until 11am I want to get over the night before. I want to read. Why should a non-eating child, who is not even paying for the pleasure of being there, dominate an entire room?

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“And why should toddlers be allowed to roam at will, careering into waiters and coming to shout hello when you’re eating your scrambled egg?

“We don’t allow dogs in most restaurants and cafes, and generally they are better behaved than the average British toddler.

The TV star suggests that children be segregated well away from other customers, and that there be cut-off times in the evening after which children are not allowed.

“Sometimes, a few minutes for a quiet coffee and a sandwich are the only time we have to ourselves all day,” says Ms Street Porter.

“Please, can parents realise that children don’t rule the world?”

Do you agree with Janet Street Porter? Should children be banned from some cafes and restaurants?