Having Kids Doesn’t Give You The Right To Be An Inconsiderate Jerk When You Dine Out

children restaurantsI know everyone (including myself) hates to be told what to do, but there’s a reason that many people dread sitting next to people with children at a restaurant. An absence of social grace isn’t something that is specific to people with kids. But I’ve been a waitress for a long time – and I can attest to the fact that many people believe that dining with a child gives them carte-blanche to behave however they want.

I’m a mother, too. I understand how hard it is to have a civilized meal with a toddler in tow. I still believe it is really important to bring him to restaurants so he can learn how to act while eating in public. I just choose my times wisely, because I know what a pain in the ass it can be for everyone involved. I also follow some very basic rules that make the experience better for everyone.

I’m going to tell you a few of the things that drive people who work in restaurants insane. Maybe you can see if you are guilty of any of these behaviors. Maybe you don’t care. Don’t kill the messenger.

(photo: nito / Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Justme

      I will not judge other parents when their child gets out of control in public because they’re kids. It happens. But I will judge you when you don’t do anything to correct the behavior such as taking them out of the earshot of other patrons.

      My brother is one of these people. When we all get together for family functions he doesn’t want to discipline his children because he’s just “soooooo tiiiiiired.” Yes. He is a forty-year-old whiner. But then he gets upset when his kids act like a pack of wild animals. Which one is it? Do you want to step up to the parenting plate and discipline or are you going to be content with your out-of-control children?

      Disciplining appropriately can be a hassle in the short-term, especially in public because it’s uncomfortable and an inconvenience. But I really think that consistent discipline in the present will pay off in the future and make your life with children MUCH easier.

      On a much grander scale when you teach your child good table manners (whether at home or in public) you are instilling in them the fact that they are not the center of the universe – both their positive and negative actions can affect the people around them.

      • Sara

        Right, because discipling your kid is going to magically get a lot easier when he’s in middle school. Yes, it’s hard when they’re little, but it’s a whole lot easier than suddenly trying to set boundaries and enforce expectations when they get older. It’s a lot easier to teach good habits from the beginning than to try and fix bad ones later.

      • Justme

        I read or heard somewhere that a child’s idea of right and wrong is established by the time they are ten therefore you have to do the hard work of teaching discipline, boundaries and expectations before that age.

    • http://www.facebook.com/chrissiwit Chrissi Witkowski

      It drives me insane when other peoples’ children are pains in the asses because their parents can’t be bothered to keep them under control. I get that kids are kids and sometimes get bored when out to eat HOWEVER that’s when PARENTING comes in to play. Pack a bag of goodies for them to play with while they are out, bring some goldfish or whatever little snack they like to eat to munch while you’re waiting for dinner, hell give them your cell phone to play games on if you need to. Yes, you have the right to take your kids out to eat-however don’t make the experience miserable for the rest of us, particularly those of us who have well behaved children and are trying to enjoy their OWN meal.

      • Sara

        YES. Also, the argument of “I have to take my child out in public so he’ll learn to behave in public”? That’s true, but only IF YOU ACTUALLY TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO BEHAVE and that means being proactive and yes, leaving the restaurant early if it’s necessary because your child simply can’t or won’t control himself. If you just sit there and do nothing while he ruins everyone else’s meal, all you’re teaching him is that that’s acceptable behavior.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chrissiwit Chrissi Witkowski

        totally agree. more than once I have taken my children out of a restaurant so they could get together. quite frankly it’s a matter of having respect for other people; we’re not the only ones who are paying for dinner-everyone deserves to enjoy their meal.

      • goofyjj

        just an adendum – PLEASE parents, when giving your kids an electronic game – either give the kids headphones or turn the sound off

    • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

      As a former waitress (on and off for a decade) Thank you for this public service announcement. My lands. I used to give little kids cardboard coasters to play with/tear up. Because honestly? I’d rather them do that then throw things.

    • Sara

      Okay, can I ask a clarifying question of the waitstaff who are probably reading this column? I have a 15-month-old, who tends to drop a lot of food when she eats. When we leave, I always wipe the area of the table where she was, but I was recently in a restaurant and I also went to start cleaning up the food that she threw on the ground, and the waitress told me to stop. She wasn’t rude about it, but I really got the sense that she didn’t want me to do that–not just a “oh, no, that’s okay” type of thing, but a “no, really, don’t do that” kind of thing.
      So what’s the deal? Should I leave the mess on the floor or clean it up before we leave? It seems rude to leave it, but maybe I’m wrong?

      • Lacy

        Personally, I never had a problem with kid food fallout. It’s not your job as the diner to clear the dishes and wash the table so you shouldn’t have to sweep the floor either. There’s a big difference between a kid dropping food on the floor, and a kid throwing food on the floor (and being allowed to).

      • http://www.facebook.com/chrissiwit Chrissi Witkowski

        I always clean up after my kids-big chunks anyway; I like to remind them that someone has to clean up their mess and maybe they should help that person out. It helps that my kids are almost 6 and 9 though ;)

      • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

        It’s possible that it’s a health code thing. Or just a management rule. It’s always nice when parents clean the table up (not necessary, but we appreciate it). But when you start crawling around on the floor it opens up a whole host of other issues…what if you bump you head and start bleeding? What if there’s glass on the floor and you cut yourself? What if someone trips over you and spills a bunch of food? There’s a whole host of reasons that it could be. Leave a nice tip and thank them when you leave. Also, the fact that you were trying to clean up after your kid means you’re doing a great job and this column is not about parents like you. Kudos. :)

      • once upon a time

        I’ve experienced this as well, so now I ask the waiter if they would like me to clean it up.

      • StephKay

        Mine is three now, so we don’t really have that problem anymore, but back when she was your daughters age I noticed the same thing. I always stopped to clean up, or occasionally ask the wait staff if I could grab a wet cloth if I felt the table/seat wipe down was beyond what I was comfortable expecting of them. They’d always tell me not to, and I always got the impression they really meant it. One day I finally asked about it to a waiter I’d been friendly and joking with throughout the meal, and what he told me is that if you’re the type of parent and customer that’s happy enough with your experience at the restaurant that you’re willing to go beyond the basics and clean your child’s spills, you’re exactly the kind of customer management wants to keep really happy. I think often times servers might be concerned that it will appear they aren’t doing their job well enough, forcing us to do it ourselves. Which made me feel awful! I hope I never got a server in trouble, I just didn’t want someone stuck doing double the regular clean up work because of my baby. On a lighter note, the server that explained it to me ended his talk by saying “I once had a woman who left her kid’s mess everywhere, and while we were cleaning we discovered the kid had a bowel movement under the table and they just left it there for us to handle. Everyone has a horror story like that, no one is going to judge your toddler for leaving too many crumbs.”. I try to remember those wise words :p

      • heather

        speaking as a server here… part of the charm of going out to eat, with or without kids in tow, is not having to cook or clean. even if the meal out with kids is more chaotic than relaxing, you are still relieved of those two responsibilities for one meal. pretty awesome. so, while i will admit that it can be a little annoying (ok, sometimes very annoying) to clean up a huge mess left over from kids, it is part of our job and part of good hospitality. any job has aspects about it that annoy us from time to time, and we get through it. it is of course courteous to attempt to control the situation (especially if the child is old enough to begin understanding table manners, not in your case really), but no parent should feel obligated to clean the floor. if you feel that you really want to do something to help out, you can consolidate what you can on the table, etc, but even that is not something you should feel obligated to do. offer a sincere thank you and a good tip if your server did well, and do your best to encourage good table manners and public behavior if the child is old enough. i am much more worried about bumping into an unsupervised child while carrying hot food than i am about cleaning a few extra crumbs. so sit back, relax as much as you can, and have a good time out with your family. let us handle the clean up. :-)

    • LizaB

      went to dinner recently with my husband. Halfway through the meal, a little boy started running up to our table, banging on it with both hands and running away laughing. On the third time, I followed him back to his table, where his mother and a friend were obliviously enjoying drinks and appetizers. I politely told them that while the little boy was adorable, husband ad I were trying to enjoy our dinner and we would appreciate it if they kept a better eye on the little boy. One of the women (the mother, i assume) rolled her eyes and said “Keep a better eye on him? You OBVIOUSLY don’t have kids”, to which I replied, “Actually I do, and we are on our first date since he was born. So watch your child or I’m going to the manager.”

      The look on her face was awesome, she muttered something obscene under her breath, and that was the last we saw of the kid.

      • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

        You rock!! Wish I could have seen it.

      • LizaB

        Thanks! I know we all make a lot of proclamations before we have kids, “I’ll never do THIS, I’ll never do THAT,” but this is one I will stick to if it kills me. I don’t want my children to think that the world revolves around them, and that’s the message that this kind of behavior sends.

      • http://twitter.com/ashleyaustrew Ashley Austrew

        LOVE. I’m so glad you did that. I hate it when people act like they have a free pass to be assholes just because they have kids. I never let my daughter behave that way.

      • Fred Pohl

        MY respones I would grab my crotch and tell her to “Take This Under Advisement and if she didn’t like it so what ask me do I care

    • Michelle

      Kids make messes, and sometimes, especially if you have to leave in a hurry, you can’t clean it up. In those circumstances, I leave an extra generous tip in recognition of the extra work the waitstaff has to do. And, a sincere apology and thank you wouldn’t hurt either!

      • Justme

        Kids making a mess at the dinner table is preventable. Kids do sometimes have a natural ability for making messes, but parents should also have the inclination to teach them to not make huge messes in public…..and to clean up after themselves. I do believe restaurants provide napkins, no?

      • JAN

        My almost four year old does use a napkin and makes virtually no mess, but my one year old doesn’t have that expert coordination yet, so yes, there is some mess than needs cleaned up from her “misses.” This is not her throwing food in the floor (the girl hasn’t met food she doesn’t like and doesn’t waste it, LOL). Just something to consider.

      • Tinyfaeri

        Right, so your 4 year old can clean up after him or herself, and you clean up after your 1 year old’s “misses.” With a napkin (or in the case of my 9 month old, 2 napkins), possibly as she goes along. And eventually your 1 year old will be just as good at keeping neat as your 4 year old. It’s a good cycle. :)

      • goofyjj

        thank you (and others) for mentioning TIPPING. I understand being a mom is difficult – and just think – not only does the wait staff have to clean up after your child, they have to clean up after everyone else that has brought a kid in and maybe those parents aren’t as considerate as you.

    • workingMOM

      LOVE this article.
      When I was without a child, I hated the annoyance of unbridled kids in public places. Now that I have a child, I’m very aware of her behaviour and keeping a lid on it out of respect for others.
      When she was born and we were in the hospital, I was even concerned about the loudness of her crying, and she wasn’t even a day old!
      Thanks for posting this and I hope that everyone reads it and it soaks in.

    • http://www.facebook.com/monique.o.sutton Monique Otañez Reyes Sutton

      I just can’t believe what parents let their kids do (in restaurants,stores even the dr office) yes we take our kids (and have since they were toddlers,they are now almost 9 and almost 12) to restaurants and stores yes to teach them how to behave and behave they do. ALWAYS!! They don’t run around,never did,throw food?? (never did) because we never allowed it (this goes for behaving in stores too.They don’t run around (even now that they are older,they stay with us) PARENTS NEED TO LEARN HOW TO PARENT!!!!

    • LiteBrite

      When we eat out with the kid, we tend to go to family-friendly places where we can get in and out fairly quickly. He’s five, and I know we typically have between 60-90 minutes before he’s done and ready to leave. We also try to eat early so we don’t get into the overtired and whiny zone and save the four/five-star restaurants for evenings when it’s just the two of us.

      My husband was always leery of taking our son to restaurants. What if he acts up? What if he’s a pain in the butt? My response to that was “Well, then we tell him to stop or we leave. I’m sure we’re not the first parents who have had to do that.” Usually our son is pretty good in restaurants, but yeah, there have been a few times where I’ve had to take him outside due to an unexpected meltdown, and there have been a few times where we’ve had to leave sooner than we wanted. Oh well. It happens.

      Oh, and forks and spoons make excellent trains as I’ve found out. Just saying.

    • Lilac

      Completely agree with that its not an exercise track. I was at dinner with my husband being romantic and another couple was letting there 6 and 4 year old run around everyone’s table yelling. After the third buzz by I stood, locked eyes with the mother and said. “Excuse me.” She retrieved her spawn from my table and held them squirming and crying at her table until they were done eating. It was about safety more than anything. I had just had hot soup delivered to the table and you can bet the parents would have raised heck if the little one had been burned by it while bumping into my table.

    • Vivi’s Mom

      Our daughter is now 2 and we have been taking her to restaurants since she was a newborn, if she misbehaves my husband takes her outside for a “talk”… lol She doesn’t act up much but when she does we put a stop to it immediately… We have gotten nothing but compliments when we’ve been out… :) I also try to pick up where she was eating or we leave a bigger tip than usual… Just because you have kids now doesn’t mean common courtesy should go right out the window…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486669626 Mark W. Schumann

        Oh yes. If your child was anything other than a perfect angel throughout the meal, consider tipping 25% or 30%. The server should get compensated for the extra hassle.

    • http://www.facebook.com/helen.donovan.31 Helen Donovan

      Wow! What a group of awesome parents. I thought that I was the only one who made kids stay seated at the table – even at home – until all are done. I was expecting comments along the line of “but that’s what babies/toddlers doooo.” It is so refreshing to see sane people who realize that it can be constant work to get little ones used to going out but it is SO worth it in the long run!

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Guerrilla Mom

        Agreed! When I wrote it, I couldn’t help but think in the back of mind, “I’m going to get skewered for this.”

      • Aisha

        lol…I was totally expecting to see those kind of comments too. Thank goodness there are still people out there who believe in discipline for their children! Kudos ladies and gents!

    • http://www.facebook.com/paul.white.3532507 Paul White

      Thank you! This is one of those things that *hasn’t* changed since I became a parent. Eating out with kids is fine, but they need to be behaved/controlled. If not, pay your tab and get out ASAP. If Sam starts squalling, we try to comfort him and if that doesn’t work quickly (within seconds) we catch the waitstaff’s attention and get our check and go. The rest of the restaurant doesn’t want to hear a screaming infant–even family friendly restaurants.

    • LBH

      I agree with all of these and we try to follow all of them but I do have something to ask of waitstaff: if we’ve obviously cleared a radius around the 2 year old so he doesn’t toss/make a mess, etc, please, pretty please, do not use that area to put down the hot soup or the gigantic margaritas. If you don’t know where to put something which is totally understandable, just ask me and I’ll do it. Seems like we could work together, right?

      • Lawcat

        I always viewed that as my responsibility. Plus, my 2 year old looked much older than his age.

        If i made a perimiter, Ill communicate that to the waitstaff so they know in advance. I dont expext them to mind read because they dont know my kid. But, it takes – what? – 30 seconds for someone to put an entire tables order on the table. It then takes 2 seconds for me to move it. Not that hard.

      • SusannahJoy

        As a waitress, I can say that yes, the server should know not to put stuff right in front of the baby, especially when you’ve obviously cleared an open area. That just makes everyone’s lives easier. But sometimes you’ll get a new server, or a really busy or inattentive one, which is why it’s ultimately the job of the parent. The only time I’d put something down in front of the kid is if there’s no room on the table because of a purse, or phone, or jacket or whatever, which would happen more often than you’d think. Unfortunately, asking the person to please move their purse often results in them getting angry and defensive, as if the problem isnt that they brought too much stuff with them, but that the table isn’t big enough, or we brought too many plates.

      • LBH

        I agree, it’s probably just the inexperienced ones that do this–I always try to say, “Hey, I’ll take that” and head it off before kiddo slurps on the ‘rita, but I’ve had it happen where the server just drops it and runs.. ha, now that I think about it, I would run too..

    • Anon13

      Amen to this, and thanks for putting it out there.
      I can’t help but remember, any time the subject of kids in restaurants comes up, the anniversary dinner that I had at the very expensive and swanky sushi place. Apparently, some airhead thought that the kind of nice place where you have to make advance reservations was also an appropriate place to bring her very young baby, which proceeded to projectile vomit across the carpet a few moments before our sushi was delivered by the waitress. Not only did Mommy of the Year continue to obliviously yak it up with her girlfriends while the waitress cleaned up the mess, but as a bonus I got to enjoy my expensive yummy entree while surrounded by the wonderful aroma of milk vomit because the place was way too crowded to switch tables. Of course it wasn’t the baby’s fault: babies throw up, it’s part of their charm. It was the mother’s fault, for placing her desire for a Sex in the City style girls night out ahead of the comfort and desires of everyone else in the place. Just because you CAN bring your child somewhere does not mean that you should. And if they are behaving inappropriately, it is your responsibility to recognize that and deal with it.

      And before I have to hear any bullshit about how children have the “right” to be anywhere or do anything…nobody has the RIGHT to be in any public place. You have the PRIVILEGE to be there, as long as your behavior is appropriate.

      • goofyjj

        you. are. my. hero.

    • Ale515

      Our whole family went out to a really nice restaurant. That included my baby niece. They were visiting from out of state, so no babysitter. She began throwing a tantrum and seemed inconsolable. My Brother immediately took her outside until she calmed down. The waiter said he didn’t have to. My Brother was like “Hell yea I do! This is a nice place and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone!” More people should be like that!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486669626 Mark W. Schumann

        That’s exactly what I did when my kids were small. If they got loud or disruptive I’d give it about… oh, ten seconds max… and just take ‘em for a walk outside until they calmed down. Honestly, it’s not that hard and it’s the right thing to do for the other diners. Geez.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1486669626 Mark W. Schumann

        I forgot to mention, when this happened (which was rather seldom) I never said it was a punishment. It was an OPPORTUNITY for the kid to relax, get his or her act together, and feel better. (Because what the hell, screeching in a restaurant usually means you’re tired or stressed out, right?)

        Make “time out” (in this and in every other form) a way to HELP THE KID regain self-control. My kids would almost feel grateful for a “time out” because they learned it was was empowering, not punitive.

        Example: “Hey Deli, you’re stressing out. Let’s go outside and do something different for a little while until you feel ready to rejoin the meal.” It’s magic, yo.

    • cady

      Thank you! It’s always a few bad apples that spoil the whole bunch, but I KNOW there are parents out there who require their kids to behave at restaurants. For example, I was at Red Robin a few months ago when a group of 13 kids ranging from probably about 3 to 12 sat down with three adults (and all the adults were at one end of the table). I was certain my meal was ruined, but the children were ALL very well behaved, and the few times things started to get a little bit loud — not screaming or anything, just overexcited — the older kids gently corrected the younger kids, and everything was completely under control. Parents who raise their kids like this are awesome. But parents who make no attempt to calm down upset kids or control rowdy kids (and I know it’s not easy; all I ask is that parents make an effort) are totally lame.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      “I still believe it is really important to bring him to restaurants so he can learn how to act while eating in public.”

      No. You teach him how to behave in public by starting at home, and then, once he’s displayed a certain level of mastery of and consistency with the relevant social expectations (i.e. sitting quietly, feeding himself) you take him out in public as a reward! (And if he can’t hold it together, you leave immediately so as not to bother other people.)

    • goofyjj

      YOU ARE MY HERO.

      now I wonder how many people reading this will say “but MY snowflake is different”

    • Kel

      Dear Parents,

      Yes, your child CAN sit and eat a meal. In public. Without throwing s–t. Without screaming. Without having to get up every 2 seconds. Even *gasp* toddlers. My children did it, and they did it as toddlers.

      You know why?

      Because my attitude was “You’ll do it because I expect you to do it and I’m not going to allow you to fail” versus “Oh, but you’re just a child. You can’t possibly do this.”

      More parents should approach eating out as a ‘teaching opportunity’ and not from the mindset that it’s some sort of break or ‘for fun.’ “Teaching” means that your job is focused on helping your child deal with a new environment and to adapt to it with new behaviors. If that means that you leave early, so be it. If that means that one of you needs to deal with Jr. outside while the other gets to eat, so be it. If that means that you talk endlessly about programs on ‘Nick Jr.’ versus the latest literary biography or whomever was on Charlie Rose, so be it. This is your responsibility as a parent.

    • K.

      The thing that kills me, personally, is when I see children (older children, like 5-10ish) with the video games and the smartphones and so on and so forth. I mean, fine–do it if you have to because it’s better than letting your kids run wild…but don’t you think there’s a problem if your options are video games OR hellions running around and screaming? Shouldn’t kids be able to sit through ONE meal, eating and talking with the family, just like regular old adults?

      If you are going to include your kids with the ‘fine dining’ experience, whether it’s at Chilis or the French Laundry (although, no–don’t actually bring your kids to the French Laundry), then INCLUDE them. Children, even very small children, can interact with the waitstaff and order for themselves (ours has done so from the age of like, 3). They should be taught to be kind and appreciative of others–saying “thank you” to the busboy and hostess and that sort of thing. Usually, waiters seem to enjoy it and the kids learn to behave because it’s a social norm, not just because “mommy and daddy said so.” If you are a more adventurous eater, you can allow older (reading age) kids to pick an entree FOR you. Our kid has a ball trying to find the most outlandish thing to feed to my husband (which, in the kid’s world, is something more exotic-sounding rather than actually exotic, like calamari or rutabaga or something). Share your food with them so they can try everything. Comment on the food–because some of it is likely to be things that doesn’t show up at home all that often. You can also choose restaurants that make eating out into more of an event–our child loves dim sum because of the carts and because he can pick and choose. Try a burger bar or a sushi bar where they can watch milkshakes and rolls being made.

      Eating out doesn’t have to be ALL discipline–even though, YES, you MUST discipline your kids. But if you go in with the perspective that kids will never enjoy eating out, then you’ve lost half the battle.

    • Guest

      Ever hear the whole, “So-and-so is just too active/adventurous/excitable/shy/creative/in-some-other-way-exceptional to be in restaurants.”

      WTF??!

      Your kid is exceptional when they do something GOOD. Bad behavior in a restaurant (or anywhere) is bad behavior. It’s not because your kid is speshul snowflake. It’s because you are a lazy parent. Sorry.

    • HeatherK

      We usually do take out when we don’t want to cook, but lately have been going out to eat more often with our kids: 2 and 4. First off, we only go to family friendly neighborhood restaurants that do not have reservations! Also we go at off times: lunch at 11:30 or dinner at 5:00. We always bring quiet toys for our kids to play with so they do not play with the salt and pepper, etc. I was a waiter before, so I always wipe the table and highchair afterwards, because my kids will always make a big mess. I do not clean the floor though, because I feel that that is the waiter or bus boys job and I don’t bring a mop with me. However, if I leave a mess on the floor I ALSO leave a larger tip and an apology. Here is also an FYI for waiters: my kids start to act up once they are finished with dinner and are ready to go: this is when they will make their messes. I cannot tell you how often we sit around waiting on our check so we can go. You want my kids to behave and not make a mess, then do not disappear after you drop off our food. Have our check at the ready, so if we need to get out quickly, we can.

      • Ipsedixit

        So you don’t move the food away from them when they start to make a mess or, I don’t know, stop them from making a mess in the first place? Isn’t that common sense?

      • HeatherK

        I don’t know about you with your kids, but my TWO year old (and even my 4 year old partly) is not perfect with her fork and spoon. Children, especially toddlers, tend not to have the best hand-eye coordination. I am lucky if half of the food makes it in her mouth. I guess I should be a better parent and spoon feed my kids until they go to college. But I guess I lack “good” parenting skills and common sense. Also, if you read my comment, I mentioned that I clean up after my kids : )

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Okay, calm down. You pick up after your kids, and you’re encouraging independence, these are good things.

      • Carrie

        I’m fairly sure that your waiter isn’t purposely just making you sit there so your kid can make messes and misbehave. Waiters have multiple other tables to care for and things to do and there is no way to magically know when one table is suddenly done and ready to go. I’ve had people yell at me for asking if they want the bill when they’ve been sitting at an empty table for twenty minutes, so you can never really tell.

      • HeatherK

        I know my waiter isn’t purposely making me sit there. I understand they are occupied. But taking someone’s order, or bringing out food is just as important as bringing a check. If you are not able to handle a few tables at a time: then you shouldn’t be a waiter! I was a waiter for a long time and there is a surefire way of knowing when a table is done and ready to go. When people set down their silverware, and take their napkins off their laps and put it on their plate or next to it: they are done with their food. Ask if they want dessert or coffee: if they say no, bring the check. Pretty simple if you ask me. That is how I did things when I was a waiter and was never once yelled at.

      • HeatherK

        Also, I printed out a table’s check as soon as I put their order in. That way I would have it ready as soon as they asked for it. If a table ordered dessert, I would just print out another updated check. Again, pretty simple stuff. I am not saying waiting tables is easy, but it is not rocket science!

    • Carolina

      People are generally helpful and understanding when parents try their best to contain a baby/toddler “situation”, but nobody can stand a mother and/or father that let their toddler behave like they are at the playground while at the restaurant, on a plane or at someone else home. After an eight hours flight in first class, people seating beside and behind us, told us our baby was the best ever… we were exhausted obviously, from engaging his attention while he was awake so to avoid disturbance to the other passengers. Just common courtesy!

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    • Miranda

      I agree with every bit of this. And not just for restaurants, either. Hearing other people’s kids scream nonstop in a grocery store used to grate on my nerves, so if my kid starts screaming in a grocery store, I take him outside until he calms down.

    • Fred Pohl

      To all of you folks out there who have dealt with Misbehaving screaming little tantrum throwing little brats I agree 100% I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of stupid ignorant parents who let thier brats run rampart all over the place scream shoot nerf darts horseplay and The stupid parents need to discipline these little monsters there is no excuse fo bad behavior I’m looking at Tommorow’s Juvinile deliquents In one case aske me If I can keep a eye on them Then I laid his sorry excuse out I responded “Let Me Tell You Something right here and now You have a hell of a nerve asking me to mind your brats what do I look like a daycare center? what kind of fool do you take me For? My mother didn’t raise one and I didnt sleep with your old ladya and father theses brats so Get the hell out of my face” If You don’t like what I said Huh Ho THATS TOUGH!!!!!