As a mom who had three kids, and thanks to work and travel often ended up having them in restaurants with us, I’m always aghast at how many children are out in the world behaving badly in them. I mean, does your child scream down the dinner table at home? Or, are they allowed to run around the entire house when they’re meant to be sitting down in their chair eating? I just honestly don’t understand what’s with this new trend of running/screaming children in restaurants. Back in the day when I was a waitress, and a bartender, I can honestly say that I don’t recall wild young sprinters having a field day in the dining rooms of any of the restaurants I worked in. Truthfully, I don’t recall a single incident. Crying kids? Well, we’ve all witnessed some of these, maybe even had a few tantrums performed by our own kids while dining out.
I’m sad to say that in my experience the wild child dining syndrome seems to be happening more and more. So what should we, other paying patrons, and the establishments do about it? Well for one, I think any and all restaurants that aren’t equipped with a jungle gym in the middle of them should have a sign posted outside the door letting parents know that if their child is caught running in the restaurant they will be asked to leave. I mean they have signs that say you must be wearing tops, and shoes, and that dogs aren’t allowed in, so what’s the harm in posting a NO RUNNING INSIDE sign?
To me I see nothing wrong with this tact. I mean you don’t need to be a rocket science to know that a dining room filled with people and waitstaff is a very unsafe place for a small child to be running around in. The servers often carrying plates of hot food, where the plates themselves can be at high temperatures. At any given time they can have hot beverages, and glassware, and if either of these make contact with the head of your small wild kid, it would be worse for the child than the drinks, or glasses. I mean it is simple common sense to not have your children running in a restaurant, so let’s just stop this now, can we?
Yesterday when I was faced with the small boy, who couldn’t have been more than two years old, who was, I might point out also running through the restaurant with his shoelace untied while his mother sat at the table NOT EVEN LOOKING AT HIM, I immediately told him to stop running and to go and sit in his seat.
He ignored me.
Then within a couple of minutes the mom came along behind him, walking; well she was walking, the boy was still running, right past our table. When she got right up to my table I looked at her and said: “If you’re going to allow him to run through the restaurant you might want to make sure his shoe laces are tied up, and give him a fighting chance to be safe.”
She replied; “Yeah I know it is, I’m going to do it up in the bathroom.”
And that was the last I saw of her or the running boy. He spent the rest of his lunch in his chair where he, all the other diners, and the entire staff were safe from any possible accidents.
To be clear this isn’t about shaming a mom for how she’s choosing to raise a child, this about bringing that mother to consciousness about the very real dangers that face a running child in a crowded busy restaurant. Because if something bad had come to happen to that little boy, I would have felt more guilt about not saying something to hopefully get the mother to protect him than I would lose sleep worrying about whether or not I offended her by suggesting her son sit down. And that friends is how I handled this week’s WWYDW!