Janet Street Porter has recently said that she believes children should be banned from restaurants. Especially more sophisticated, fine dining establishments. Personally I find this assumption to be quite disappointing. I see it from a different perspective. Although I agree that children shouldn’t be allowed to behave badly and disrupt other peoples evening meals I don’t think that banning them solves the problem. Instead I believe children should be taught how to behave in a restaurant environment. How will they ever be allowed to learn if they are
banished? In most of continental Europe going out to eat in restaurants or cafes is seen as part of a child’s education. Children can learn so much from dinners out with family or friends from conversational skills to a wider knowledge of what foods are available to them. Of course it is sometimes down to parents to bring along colouring or think of “eye spy” games to play with them whilst waiting between meals. Yet the confidence learned from speaking to waiters to order food, the family interaction around a table and the self discipline of learning that there are different ways to behave in different places will all help to build them into a person of character. If we don’t allow children to be a part of restaurant culture surely we will just end up with adults who either don’t know how to behave when dining out or feel out of place when doing so. Aren’t both of these consequences doing a great disservice to a child future?
What do you think about taking children to restaurants, is it all too stressful or part of their social education?
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