Let’s Talk: Should children be banned from restaurants? 511

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It’s your fortieth wedding anniversary. You’ve planned the night for months, and picked a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to try. New clothes, hair done. You take your site, order your favourite wine. Glasses clink, and you begin to reminisce about all the wonderful things you’ve done together. It set’s to be a wonderful evening.

Then out of the blue two tables over, ‘Kidageddon’ erupts. A child has the tantrum to beat all tantrums, and the entire restaurant’s night has changed.

Has something similar ever happened to you? Do you think kids should be banned from restaurant?

First, to take the no side, kids will be kids. They don’t play up all the time, but at their tender age they just don’t have the tools to contain their anger at times. And it might not be a tantrum in the above scenario, it could just be them being happy… with extreme and loud exuberance.

Or, you might be of the opinion that children should be seen and not heard. Can you really expect these easily excited little people be angels all the time?

Second, the parents side. They might not have been able to organise a babysitter. Or they are looking to socialise their children. These opportunities to teach kids how to behave in all sorts of places can be crucial to how kids grow up. Also, it’s a special night for them too, all the family out together. Remember, it’s not their ideal night either when a child loses it.

Next, the restaurant owner and staff. I’ll bet they don’t look forward to a room full of unhappy patrons, food all over the place, and the possibility of broken crockery and glasses. Or is it a restaurant that advertises itself as family-friendly? Perhaps this is something for you to look at when you pick where you’re going to eat out.

Lastly, there’s you. Yes, you do deserve to have a nice night out. If this happens, perhaps you could finish early, and head to a cocktail bar, or, if still hungry, grab some street food and head to a scenic spot.

The world is your oyster, and disruption aside there are a lot of ways to make a night out special.

Kids gone wild is not a fun night out for anyone. Have you ever had a night made unpleasant by kids being kids? What did you do? And do you want children banned from restaurants? Let us all see what you think in the Comments section.

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  1. I don’t think they should be banned but parents need to be more responsible by keeping them, under control when they are go out. I’ve seen children running around in restaurants with food in their hands throwing food at other diners and the parents just sit and talk and don’t bother controlling them.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with Rosemary (and others )…children should not be banned, but their parents need to be responsible for having the children behave appropriately. If that does not happen, the restaurant staff should be able to quietly speak to the family with the disruptive child, and ask for improved behaviour. A child having a tantrum can be removed from the room until they calm down-that may only be a few minutes! If it is a family-friendly restaurant then people looking to have a child-free environment should not choose that place for their romantic dinner. If it is a more adult/romantic/top of the range restaurant then the children should not be there. Horses for courses…..

  2. I think it depends on the restaurant. I see no reason why a restaurant can’t be family friendly during the day and early evening and adults only after a certain time. Families are entitled to dine with their children but also adults are entitled to dine without them – accommodate both at different times.

    16 REPLY
    • That’s the most suitable option I think. Adults only after a certain time unless it’s specifically a ‘family’ restaurant.

    • family friendly does not mean kids can be out of control, parents need to teach their children how to behave, or keep them at home.

    • Training starts at home, children should be taught right from wrong at the dinner table, therefore how to behave when out dining. Yes, I believe there should be a ban on children under 12 years old at many restaurants.

    • That’s my thought as well, Rosemary. I’m thinking no children after, say, 7.30pm. I totally agree that families are entitled to dine with their children and that adults are entitled to dine without other people’s children.

    • It’s fine to say families are entitled to dine but it’s up to the parents to make sure they behave. Families are not entitled to annoy other guests, no matter what time of day it is.

    • I don’t agree with designated times at all. If you are paying good money to eat whatever time of day, you deserve to be able to enjoy your meal without unruly children. If you can’t discipline your children, don’t take them !

    • I’m suggesting that there’s a time of day when you shouldn’t have to take the risk Ian.

    • Its not about if they should be allowed in restaurant its about ignoring them and allowing them to sit at other peoples tables or running around sreaming as though they’re at play group while the parents eat their food and clock off to their kids like they must belong to someone else !

    • Perhaps limit them to a set time like 7.30

      1 REPLY
      • when if they are not already in bed they should be preparing for it! Parents deserve some quiet time too.

  3. They should be able to cater for child free times too, maybe after 7 pm make restaurants child free zones for those that need a break from kids

  4. ban the parents that don’t control their kids. I have had several special outings ruined by strangers unruly children. Elderly aunt was knocked to the floor by kids running round. Once a precocious brat kept coming over to our table and inserting herself loudly into the conversation even we asked to please go back to her parents.

    12 REPLY
    • They are worse in the shopping centres especially where bedding is…they jump all over it and the Parents couldn’t care less…and no one dares correct them…oh the stories l could tell..l worked in retail for many years!

    • oh so sorry to hear that about your elderly aunt Dawn i sure hope she was ok as many elderly could easily broken her hip xxx

    • Was out for dinner last Friday nite , a group of Bogans were at a nearby table , 4 little brats running loose , tore up the menu’s and serviettes and threw them on the floor , continually annoying each other and running between the tables of other diners whilst the Bogans just ignored them , what a pleasant evening , won’t be going back there

    • I actually told one mother she shouldnt bring her son out in the public. We were in a quew and the little bastard spat on me he was about 8

    • I am 60, and I remember as a teenager telling my mother that there should be a child free day in shopping centres so the elderly can shop in peace and not be in fear of being knocked over. I have nursed 100s of # hips over the years from falls due to kids and animals. Hope your aunt recovers soon.

    • self-entitled little brats, and the kids too !
      The word is NO for goodness sake, sometimes I think they need to put the little darlings back on their leash

  5. Don’t think they should be banished from restaurants I feel parents need to be more responsible for their children and make them behave while they are out have more respect for other diners

  6. I think it is entirely up to the business owner. Diners will vote with their feet if they don’t like the the rules.

  7. I think if it is night time and the child is under ten they should be banned. This article seems to be talking about an expensive place not Sizzlers. Children get tired and they get bored. I have seen them at the local club. They run around between the tables chasing each other and the parents totally ignore them. I have taken my grandchildren to a restaurant for lunch and people always are blown away by their good behaviour but then they know if they misbehave I won’t take them again.

  8. A lot depends on how parents handle the situation. If parents don’t satisfactorily handle situation perhaps all should be asked to leave.

  9. We always socialised our kids at a family friendly restaurant first, if there was any misbehavious at all, there was one warning then either hubby or I would take the offender outside to miss their meal, it only takes one episode from one member, nobody else wants to miss out….easy

    1 REPLY
  10. I don’t think they should be banned but they should be made to sit and not run around the restaurant. It is to dangerous for everyone with hot food being carried around. Parents should have control of them.

  11. Sorry but I totally disagree with ” If this happens, perhaps you could finish early, and head to a cocktail bar, or, if still hungry, grab some street food and head to a scenic spot.” Why should my night be ruined? If parents want to teach their children so socialise, do it early in the evening when people may be leaving in a hurry for a show or movie anyway. I’m on a very limited budget and if I have my night ruined by children throwing tantrums I am going to vent. It’s up to the parents to monitor their children’s behaviour and if they cannot copy they should be the ones to leave not every other diner. I think a no young children after a certain hour is perfectly acceptable.

    2 REPLY
    • Totally agree Lin.

      I have had many a meal ruined by screaming kids, running around the restaurant. We really go out on special occasions so it annoys me intensely.

    • I so agree with you Lin Jessop. I rarely get to go out for dinner, and when I do, I don’t particularly want someone’s little darling who is up way past their bedtime, to ruin it for me.
      I’ve seen parents just laugh when their child is way out of control, and it’s not that embarrassed one either but genuinely thinking it’s funny. So what hope does that child have of knowing the social niceties when it’s parent doesn’t.

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