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Why I Won’t Apologise For Taking My Kids To Grown-up Restaurants

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Before kids we ate out a lot. And I still love eating out at nice restaurants now. So why wouldn’t I want to share this with my daughters? We’ve taken them along with us since they were babies. They’re 4 and 6 now. And seasoned little diners too. So no, sorry I won’t apologise for taking my kids to grown-up restaurants. And neither should you. It’s 100% ok.

Sure, there were the lost years when they were both small toddlers. We’ve had our fair share of leaving restaurants with a squirming red-faced angry child under arm. And I agree, it’s

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rubbish if you end up next to a screamer at dinner. But equally it’s annoying being sat next to drunk shouty man (or woman). Or loud obnoxious adults. Humans be humans.

And after years of mini gourmand training, my hard work has paid off and my daughters LOVE eating out. If there isn’t a kids’ menu, they’ll share an adult main and enjoy a grown-up pudding each. We’ve never been to a restaurant that’s refused a second plate for sharing; or where there isn’t anything for them to eat. Do they always like their food? No. But that’s kinda the

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point. Like anything in life, it’s the trying that’s important. Being brave enough to give something new a go.

Just this weekend our 4 year old went off menu at a seafood restaurant and asked for squid. She loved it; and I loved watching her determined concentration as she cut up the soft rings and chewed thoughtfully. She said it was the yummiest thing ever. The older one chose octopus (with braised lentils), happily polishing it off. Selfishly, I’m super chuffed that we can go to nice places as a family and enjoy eating together like

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this.

 

At another not-conventionally-child-friendly hip restaurant – no kids’ menu, definitely no crayons – the girls got to tuck into some amazing food and brave lots of new flavours. They also charmed the staff. Including, the sous chef who struck up friendly banter and passed a couple of sprigs of different herbs for them to feel and taste.

Kids love being part of things like this. It’s exciting. And I want them to see and be a part of this: grown-ups passionate about what they do, in their flow, happy to share. I want my children to

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feel buzzed up about other people’s passions so they can find their own one day too.

I know lots of you will roll your eyes and retort that I’m one of those smug mums. I’m not. It’s all just food. Kids are little humans not a sub-species. Let’s drop the food snob factor, the kid prejudice and just enjoy delicious meals and new tastes that make our tongues tingle and taste buds sing.

I’m not saying every Michelin starred restaurant in the land should throw open their doors to the pre-school crowd and start offering high chairs at chef’s

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tables. I get that children aren’t welcome everywhere. And that’s cool. But I wish we could drop the ”kids only eat fish fingers or pizza” and ”kids are annoying” attitude that sometimes pervades, leaving families feeling like they’re only welcome at their local chain or Drive-Thru. It’s a shame for everyone. For parents who enjoy eating out, for kids who want to explore, for independent restaurants who could be opening their doors and getting more bums – big & small – on seats.

As for my little tribe, we’ll keep eating out, unashamed

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that we’ve got all our people in tow. Eating and enjoying each other’s company are two of life’s greatest pleasures – why would I stop for fear that they don’t like all the food on their plate or that they might make a loud noise or that someone might tut? I mean, let’s face it, they’re the chefs, diners and reviewers of tomorrow. Might as well get them started early.

 

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Selfish Mother LittlE Girl Eating

- 10 Oct 19

Before kids we ate out a lot. And I still love eating out at nice restaurants now. So why wouldn’t I want to share this with my daughters? We’ve taken them along with us since they were babies. They’re 4 and 6 now. And seasoned little diners too. So no, sorry I won’t apologise for taking my kids to grown-up restaurants. And neither should you. It’s 100% ok.

Sure, there were the lost years when they were both small toddlers. We’ve had our fair share of leaving restaurants with a squirming red-faced angry child under arm. And I agree, it’s rubbish if you end up next to a screamer at dinner. But equally it’s annoying being sat next to drunk shouty man (or woman). Or loud obnoxious adults. Humans be humans.

And after years of mini gourmand training, my hard work has paid off and my daughters LOVE eating out. If there isn’t a kids’ menu, they’ll share an adult main and enjoy a grown-up pudding each. We’ve never been to a restaurant that’s refused a second plate for sharing; or where there isn’t anything for them to eat. Do they always like their food? No. But that’s kinda the point. Like anything in life, it’s the trying that’s important. Being brave enough to give something new a go.

Just this weekend our 4 year old went off menu at a seafood restaurant and asked for squid. She loved it; and I loved watching her determined concentration as she cut up the soft rings and chewed thoughtfully. She said it was the yummiest thing ever. The older one chose octopus (with braised lentils), happily polishing it off. Selfishly, I’m super chuffed that we can go to nice places as a family and enjoy eating together like this.

 

At another not-conventionally-child-friendly hip restaurant – no kids’ menu, definitely no crayons – the girls got to tuck into some amazing food and brave lots of new flavours. They also charmed the staff. Including, the sous chef who struck up friendly banter and passed a couple of sprigs of different herbs for them to feel and taste.

Kids love being part of things like this. It’s exciting. And I want them to see and be a part of this: grown-ups passionate about what they do, in their flow, happy to share. I want my children to feel buzzed up about other people’s passions so they can find their own one day too.

I know lots of you will roll your eyes and retort that I’m one of those smug mums. I’m not. It’s all just food. Kids are little humans not a sub-species. Let’s drop the food snob factor, the kid prejudice and just enjoy delicious meals and new tastes that make our tongues tingle and taste buds sing.

I’m not saying every Michelin starred restaurant in the land should throw open their doors to the pre-school crowd and start offering high chairs at chef’s tables. I get that children aren’t welcome everywhere. And that’s cool. But I wish we could drop the “kids only eat fish fingers or pizza” and “kids are annoying” attitude that sometimes pervades, leaving families feeling like they’re only welcome at their local chain or Drive-Thru. It’s a shame for everyone. For parents who enjoy eating out, for kids who want to explore, for independent restaurants who could be opening their doors and getting more bums – big & small – on seats.

As for my little tribe, we’ll keep eating out, unashamed that we’ve got all our people in tow. Eating and enjoying each other’s company are two of life’s greatest pleasures – why would I stop for fear that they don’t like all the food on their plate or that they might make a loud noise or that someone might tut? I mean, let’s face it, they’re the chefs, diners and reviewers of tomorrow. Might as well get them started early.

 

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Sussex-based mum, blogger, writer, content creator, food & coffee enthusiast.

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