Should Kids Be Banned in Restaurants?

previously posted on

Most days I let hot topics that I read go because I do not want to add fuel to the fire. It is interesting how some write opinions that they would never say in a face to face conversation. The hot topic this past week did ruffle me. The subject is banning kids under 6 in restaurants.

Social media lit up with the fire that this topic caused. The first time I read about it was on Dawn Chubai‘s (local BT Vancouver host) Facebook page with the simple status update “thoughts?” and the link. Many chimed in on how they would love it. One friend piped in when do we stop banning-go back in time? Is this really 2011?” I contributed in my personal thoughts (which I will share later here) and it got liked by many people.

Here in BC there are many places to go that are kid-fee. The bars and pubs have a strict “No Minors Allowed policy.”  When I get a rare time-out with my fellow parent friends we frequent establishments like that or lounges. Rarely will you find kids in a fine restaurant after 7pm, locally.

I posed to my peeps on Twitter.  Here is a sampling from parents including personal experiences.

@ALotOfLoves   Not all places are child friendly. I don’t think all restaurants need to be either. Obviously this place didn’t cater to kids. The age thing doesn’t actually bother me. I hear, “We are intolerant & don’t like families”. Result: I won’t go there. Ever.

@Bored Mommy I think banning kids from restaurants is just gross. Why don’t they just ban assholes instead.

@scatteredmom here’s a good story for you.

@phdinparenting My longer thoughts here:

It is sad to think that in this day and age we are resorting to ageism. My children look older than 6 but are much younger. Do I need to carry their birth certificates?  We know when to go out to eat and when not to. With the costs of eating out higher now due to HST, I value a meal that I do not have to cook and clean for. I bring a bag of tricks to entertain my girls when we go out. Many restaurant managers have stopped by our table to compliment us on how wonderful they are. In case you did not know, my daughters are 2 and 4. We might eat out 2-3 times a month.

We were at our go-to place for lunch when our youngest went into a teething crying fest. I scooped her up and walked outside faster than you could say “Check please.” After a few minutes in the parking lot, a staffer came out to check on us.  My husband had paid the bill with our oldest daughter. The restaurant had packed up my meal and included a coupon for next time. We still go there today.

My question to restaurants:  do you ban obnoxious, drunk and cursing adults? (I have personally seen that they don’t.) My children act better than some adults. It makes me mad they could be judged by other customers or places as trouble just by looking at them.

After reading the Facebook threads and Tweets, it seems that there is a consensus.

  1. To ban is wrong. To have a sweeping rule that if a customer (whatever the age) is bothering other customers they would be asked to leave. Special needs customers are excluded from that discrimination by law in most cities.
  2. It is a parent’s responsibility to teach their kids respect for others. This includes showing them appropriate behaviour in restaurants. It is a very important lesson for them as they grow into adults. If they are unruly then it’s time to leave. They will learn that the fun stops when they are misbehaving.
  3. If you want a guarantee to dine at a kid-free zone, try a lounge, bar, pub or of the like. Look around you might find a new place that kids do not frequent.

What sticks in my brain is that I have never heard of such an age ban in Canada. Yes, there are “minors not allowed” zones, but in a public place all is welcome. Since being a parent and on a tight budget, I treasure eating out with my family because it’s creating memories.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Do you go out with your kids?

2 thoughts on “Should Kids Be Banned in Restaurants?

  1. Banning children in certain establishments would be fine with me, I agree with Marilyn: I just won’t frequent those restaurants.
    I brought abby into Earls. Earls doesn’t even have a child’s menu. I noticed when they seated us in a corner, way far away from the business people who frequent Earls on top at Robson. But you know what? They also wouldn’t give me the balance leftover on my giftcard like SO MANY other restaurants do. And I’m not going to use a giftcard at Earls by myself. So I brought her in, and we split a burger. No one outright said, “She can’t come in here”. But she wasn’t welcomed, addressed or even glanced at.

    Despite the fact that most of the servers employed by these establishments only have a few years on her.


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