Can You Bring Kids to Restaurants?

Find out which restaurants are appropriate for kids and what to do when faced with a tantrum. Modern Manners Guy is on the case

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #133

As a diner and parent, I’ve been on both sides of the “Can you take children to restaurants?” issue. And having been on both sides, I’ve had the luxury to see both sets of arguments very clearly. So, can you bring kids to restaurants? Of course! How else will they learn proper manners in public? It’s like etiquette boot camp for them. Just like riding a bike -- after a few mishaps, they will learn to pedal correctly (and not ride into the bushes). Over time children will realize meatballs are much better for eating than for tossing clear across the room.

But how can you know which restaurants are appropriate for your children and what to do when your night out is ruined by an unruly kid? Read on to find out. 

Which Restaurants are Appropriate for Children?

When bringing children to restaurants, first realize that there are only so many you should be choosing from in the first place. If you are expecting to bring a child to Nobu or Ruth’s Chris, think again. Think about those restaurants that provide a child-friendly ambience. I’m not saying you should just limit yourselves to only places that have slides or ball pits. Anyplace that provides crayons and paper placemats, or an open kitchen where the kids can watch (and learn how) the food is being prepared would be appropriate.

To avoid causing a scene and inviting the glares of other diners, put yourself in your child’s shoes and see it from their eyes. What would they like to eat? Where would they like to go? What interests them? When you think of the situation this way, your outlook on which restaurant to choose will change drastically.

Here are a few Quick and Dirty Tips to help you and your kids have a successful and enjoyable dining experience—and avoid ruining the dining experience of others: