I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
July 27, 2011
It has probably happened to just about all of you at one time or another.
You go to a restaurant with your kids, only to find that there are no booster seats, high chairs, or kids’ menus. Or they have those things, but the waiter spends the entire time sighing when he’s asked if the kitchen can make chocolate milk, or he has to bring napkins for a spill, or one of the kids wants to order herself and he can’t understand what she’s saying.
Raising kids is tough even under the best of circumstances, but the difficulty multiplies when you find you’ve entered with them into a child-unfriendly zone, particularly when you don’t realize your kids weren’t really welcome until it’s too late.
That’s why I was as happy as any member of the childfree movement to read that more and more businesses are either establishing child-free zones or banning kids outright. From Malaysia Airlines, which has banned children in first class to McDain’s a restaurant in Pittsburgh that’s banned kids under six, the practice appears to be spreading… and I think it’s a great idea.
The last place I want to take my kids, after all, is one where they’re not really welcome. I try to use my deductive skills to figure it out, but I can’t always tell outright whether a mid-range priced, casual restaurant is going to be amenable to serving my kids or not. I will tell you that my husband and I always mull over our most child-friendly options when we’re trying to decide where to take the family to dinner. One of our favorite spots has family board games in a corner for diners to play while they’re waiting for their dinner. Another has child-sized sofas, children’s books and a train table, so that the kids can play and the parents can… *gasp*… enjoy themselves. I like those restaurants so much not because of the food, but because those toys and games might as well be a sign that says “KIDS ARE WELCOME HERE.”
So why wouldn’t things be easier for all of us if other restaurants put up signs saying the opposite?
If you’re a business owner who doesn’t like kids or want to be around them, or if you think your clientele feels that way, why not do us all a favor and let us know outright? A sign on the door stating your policy is infinitely preferable to you giving me the stink eye when I bring my children inside your business. If you don’t want us there, trust me, we don’t want to be there either.
I don’t think that the no-kids-allowed movement will gain any serious momentum, but I actually wish it would. I think it would save us all a lot of trouble.
What about you?