I personally love babies – other people’s babies are even better as you can hand them back! I love them when they are tiny, toddling and when they grow into nice children…. I haven’t quite got to the stroppy teenager faze with Romané yet, (my own son), but hopefully it won’t be too traumatic or painful for either of us.
However, as a hotelier it is a tricky dilemma. We are happy to have babies and children at the hotel and in the restaurant. We try to encourage residents to feed their younger children at 6pm for high tea as then the evening is their’s to enjoy a quiet, relaxed dinner without the kids getting bored and fractious. For those with young babies we try to accommodate prams and pushchairs and we do have a couple of high chairs and boaster chairs. Generally, we are very fortunate to have gorgeous, happy babies and very well behaved children with lovely manners., whose parents are aware of other guests.
Most parents are very conscious and do take swift action and remove the kids from the scene, if they do become fractious, but there are a surprising number of parents who allow their children’s crying to go on and on and become a disturbance. They do not take them out of the restaurant, but try to settle them at the table- when this fails to work they continue to sit at the table and the baby continues to cry……. Then we have to step in and ask that they leave the restaurant as they are disturbing everybody else- this is a tricky situation for us the restaurateur and awkward for them as they feel like they are being told off.
Thus I do think it’s a “2 way street”……we all know babies cry and kids get bored and noisy. It’s not the kids fault, it’s human nature, but when they do start to cry or become noisy, we do hope that the parents are considerate enough to take them out of the restaurant until they have settled. It’s not for the sanity of the staff that we hope the parents are obliging, but for the comfort and enjoyment of the other guests, who also probably love babies and kids but don’t want to have to enjoy their meals with noisy crying going on around them.
I’m not sure what the solution is. When I was a mum with a young child I wanted to eat in nice places and not just dine out in High Street pizza places. We took Romané to all sorts of lovely restaurants- he often slept under the table, but when he cried he was removed pronto and wasn’t taken back in until he had stopped crying. We certainly don’t want to have to state that babies and children are not welcome, but nor do we want to upset other diners who visit us for a relaxing and quiet lunch or dinner……. As I say it’s a tricky one.
I’d be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on the subject.
Till next week