Earlier this month Babble contributor Rebekah Kuschmider wrote about “a new sushi place opening in a trendy area of Alexandria, Virginia“ that was banning kids under 18 years old. While I understand why some places may choose this option, it alienates so many families who want to dine at kid-friendly restaurants.
Before we became parents, Joseph and I went out to eat all the time. We both love food, but we don’t love cooking (or cleaning up). After our son Norrin was born, there was definitely a limit on the number of times that we could go out. As a new mom, I was nervous about bringing my baby and I knew the experience would not be enjoyable for me.
As Norrin got older, we were hesitant because he was so restless and could not sit still. After he was diagnosed with autism, his restlessness made sense. With the help of our ABA therapist, some time, and a lot of patience, we were able to teach Norrin how to sit and behave in a restaurant. Now Norrin is seven-years-old and we go out to eat as a family all the time. He still gets restless, but we can sit for up to an hour at a restaurant and have a nice time.
I don’t know what we’d do if a restaurant we loved decided to ban kids. Eating out is one of the things we enjoy doing as a family and it’s a great learning experience for Norrin. Luckily, there is no shortage of kid-friendly restaurants that provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
These are our personal favorites:
What do all our favorite places have in common? Great, fun kid-friendly menus, plastic cups (with lids) for little hands, and if they don’t provide crayons/coloring sheets, there’s a small (safe) toy or special treat offered.
What’s your favorite kid-friendly restaurant?
Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.