Some families with young children will understand how eating out at nice restaurants goes from being a pleasure to something stressful, as things can change once there are young kids in tow. Instead of being able to enjoy the atmosphere and food, parents struggle to get children to keep elbows off tables, chew with their mouths shut and wrestle run around children back to their seats.
A survey of 2,000 people in the UK has revealed that one in five parents refuse to eat out in a restaurant because their children’s behaviour embarrasses them.
One in five people have left a restaurant in the middle of their meal because their children have been misbehaving badly and 48% of UK parents own up to being embarrassed by their kids when eating out.
A hotel in London which has commercial restaurant insurance and serves food from afternoon tea to three course meals, has launched an etiquette class for children, where they can learn how they should behave when dining out.
Etiquette and manners expert, Jean Broke-Smith has joined forces with The Kensington Hotel to run lessons for children and create a guide with easy to learn tips, called ‘Petite Etiquette’.
What parents have pinpointed as being the most embarrassing, will be the main focus of the classes. These include saying please and thank you, being top of the list, and also sitting still and keeping the mouth closed when eating.
Broke-Smith said, “They say that manners make the man but I’m a great believer in the same being true for children as well. If you take time to teach your children table manners while at home, you’ll find dining out a much more pleasurable experience and can hopefully avoid those stressful confrontations.
“Whether you are keen to enjoy a decadent afternoon tea or a three course dinner, these tips will stand you in good stead and help your children to grow into polite adults.”
The study suggested that restaurants could also make life easier for families when dining out.
A third of people who answered the survey said that they would like to see child friendly cups as opposed to the to the tall glasses that are usually given, while over a half of the families would welcome the addition of smaller versions of adult main courses instead of separate children’s menus.
Garreth Walsh, General Manager for The Kensington Hotel, said, “At The Kensington Hotel we believe dining as a family should be a relaxing experience, and an opportunity for you to enjoy quality time together.
“We know that dining out with kids can put pressure on parents and even cause them to chose not to go out. Whilst we already have many things of offer for families staying with us, we are always looking for new ways to make family dining enjoyable for all.”
According to the survey, the manners children struggle with most are eating with the mouth shut, sitting still throughout a meal, keeping elbows off the table, using cutlery instead of fingers and wanting to leave the table because they are bored.