Grandma’s View on Taking Grandchildren to Restaurants

The NBC Today Show on February 8, 2013 highlighted the King family of Washington State, with the heading, “Kids’ Good Behavior Gets Them a Discount on dinner,” and stated that the King parents “were surprised when, on their bill after a meal at a restaurant, they found they’d received a $4 discount for having “well-behaved children.”  The restaurant’s owner said he was impressed that the three kids said their “pleases” and “thank you’s.”  Cudos to the King family.  It seems that the parents were able to eat a restaurant meal without taking turns eating and taking one or more children outside periodically and without getting indigestion or dirty looks from fellow patrons!

Child at restaurantNot so in the reality of this Grandma’s life.  I know a sleeping newborn in a restaurant is going to be a dream.  However, pediatricians now seem to say not to bring the newborn out at all until three months when the child has had his or her shots.  I also know that an eighteen month old at a restaurant is a nightmare.  The toddlers cannot sit still and it is not fair for them to have to sit still.  We bring food in when we have grandchild toddlers.

Learning manners is an important training skill.  Learning to eat in restaurants is an important training skill.  We like to frequent restaurants that cater to our grandchildren, have child menus and even crayons and activity books.  We do introduce new and different foods to the grandchildren.  Our oldest grandchildren are foodies like their parents and eat mussels, Caesar salad, and the like.  If you ask our oldest grandson his favorite food, he will say lobster!  And he can consume a two pound lobster by himself at age nine.  If you ask our two youngest children their favorite food, they will say McDonald’s chicken fingers.   Whatever floats your boat.  We love them all.  Not our problem to teach them to experiment with food.  It is the parents’ responsibility.  If we introduce food, it is a game and fun, not stress or trauma.

So, are the King family children so out of the norm that they have become national news?  Is it that we don’t have other newsworthy information to impart?  Are our American children so lacking in manners that to see children with manners is so unusual?

What should we Grandmas do?  From the time my grandchildren were little babies, I used the “please” and “thank you” words with them repeatedly.  I held something out they wanted and said, “please” until I got the ”peas” back.  How cute!  We Grandmas can teach manners too.

But should we be the ones to teach manners in restaurants?  This Grandma punts.  If I take my grandchildren to restaurants, I make sure they bring their electronics.  A child hooked up to a video screen, even a baby, is a quiet patron of a restaurant.  A child playing on an I pad, I phone, DS, or the like, is a quiet patron of a restaurant.  No, I do not patronize restaurants that serve two hour meals nor that do not welcome children.

After all, I am the Grandma.  I want to enjoy my time with my grandchildren.  I want my grandchildren to enjoy their time with me.  With one toddler grandchild who is about to hit the terrible twos, we are still primarily bringing in food.  You should not be surprised that most restaurants, even exclusive ones, will be happy to provide great take-out food with

Joy,

Mema

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