Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Out with Kids

I was listening to a conversation on the radio today about taking kids out with you. There were discussions as to what restaurants were okay to take kids to and which might not be. There were a lot of people who felt that kids didn't belong out at nice restaurants.

My question is, if you don't take them out, how do they learn to behave when you go out?

When we were younger and newlyweds, my husband and I had friends that had a young child and then later two (now they have 4). We would go out to dinner and activities all of the time, with their little one in tow. Because they had always brought her along, she was well behaved and though still a little one, seemed to be comfortable in different environments. This experience showed me that there was no reason not to take kids out with you. In fact, if you take them with you from the time they are young, they will learn how to behave when out and how to be flexible.

When my own kids were born, we continued living our lives. We simply took the kids with us. We would tend to go to dinner earlier in the evening than we might have before and when they were younger, we kept to "noisier" places where some fussing wouldn't be a bother, if even noticed. We also had a tendency to invite friends back to our place for the balance of the evening so that we could put the kids to bed at a reasonable hour, if not quite at their normal bedtime.

As the kids have gotten older, we have been able to expand their horizons with different restaurants and different varieties of food. We still don't eat out often, it's easier and healthier to eat at home, but at least I know that my kids can handle themselves when we are out.

We have been very fortunate, in that many of our friends either have kids that also join us or are not bothered by including our kids when we go out.

We also make sure to mix it up and occasionally, get a babysitter so that we can go out to either a quiet evening together or out with friends without kids. This is important to our relationship that we do have some couple time.

In addition, I am doing my best to introduce my kids to theater and fine arts. This weekend, I took my 3 year old to see a ballet. The story was based on the Fancy Nancy picture books. She enjoyed the show, although was a bit confused at first - "why aren't they talking mommy?". It was nice because it was shorter and clearly geared to younger children. I love going to see musicals, plays, orchestra, band and dance performances and hope that by introducing the kids young that they too will have an appreciation for the arts.

This post shared at Works For Me Wednesday.


3XMom said...

That is EXACTLY it! People who say they can't take their kids to a restaurant simply haven't taught their kids how to behave in a restaurant. And the only way to do that - is to do it! We have been taking our 3 to restaurants since they were babies. And we try and do it at least 1-2x a month. Even if it is just Chilis or Outback or something -they need the exposure to learn how to behave.

Project Starter said...

I have no problem taking my daughter out to a restaurant. She knows whether or not she gets dessert at the end depends on her behavior.