What’s your opinion on “kid-free” zones?

The hot topic on the Internet this week has been “kid-free” zones in certain places — essentially banning children from certain events and arenas.

The buzz really got going when a Whole Foods Market in Missouri announced a new event: two hours of free babysitting while you go shopping, every Friday in August. Parents can drop off their kids — the young ones can enjoy crafts and books; Mom and Dad can shop without the grabby hands or whining.

People misunderstood this as banning kids from Whole Foods. Understandable, because local venues are hopping on this trend: a quiet, casual restaurant in Pennsylvania announced this summer that children under 6 are no longer allowed.

A restaurant in North Carolina has made it quite clear with a sign on its doors: “Screaming Children Will NOT Be Tolerated!” Malaysia Airlines recently announced that children are banned from first class.

In Austin, my hometown, Alamo Drafthouse has a strict no kids allowed in all their movies, offering instead kid-friendly hours and movies during certain times and days.

There are times and places where children shouldn’t be, for their sake as much as the other people involved. But as a culture, are we becoming less and less tolerant of kids?

Photo from flickriver

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. When you hear a local restaurant is banning kids, do you feel “persecuted,” or do you do understand their perspective? Companies have a right to do what they want — but do you feel like it’s a good move on their part?

Does this say anything about how our culture views — and deals with — children? As a parent, how do you feel when you see someone else’s child making loud noise in a store, an airplane, or some other public place?

(And perhaps most importantly, how awesome would it be if there were more restaurants and stores that provided childcare? This is just one of the many reasons we love Ikea so much.)

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. I know this old but just read it from a link from another blog and had to share this with you. We were on a road trip and popped into a cafe for lunch and saw this sign: Loud and/or crazy children will
    be given an espresso and a new
    It is a trend and I think as a society we are becoming less tolerant of everything including kids. I am a responsible parent and do my best to keep my girls at an appropriate level of noise and remove them for an ‘adjustment’ if they do not respond to me but have noticed some people do not. Maybe this is why the trend began? But we do need to have respect and tolerance for one another no matter the age!

  2. MOST adults would NOT have a problem with well mannered, respectful children in a restaurant or on an airplane, HOWEVER, far,far too many parents do NOT bother to teach their children MANNERS or proper etiquette in public. They get really upset IF an adult complains about their loud, rude or untamed child(ren)!! My children WERE NEVER allowed to run a muck or act up and disturb others in a restaurant or airplane or doctor’s office, because my wife and I BOTHERED to teach our children good manners and they always knew what we expected of them!! Those parents who are upset about the brat ban are the guilty parents who are often NOT very polite themselves in public and DO NOT care about others if their child is acting horrible in public. In fact, they are often the overly permissive type parents who think loving their children is never saying no, allowing them to run a muck and being super permissive everywhere they go in public, but in the end, they raise spoiled, out-of-control brats as opposed to raising decent, delightful children!! The few decent, caring parents who ARE doing the right thing wouldn’t think of allowing their child(ren) to ruin a quiet dinner for others or make their flight a living hell for several hours. Notice that the parents who feel “persecuted”are the ones who could use a few lessons from Super Nanny!! The brat ban IS FAIR for parents who love AND discipline their kids AND care about their fellow man in public. Why do the lousy parents feel their monster child has the right to act as they wish in every restaurant or on every flight, but the huge number of adults who’d like a peaceful meal without kids are made to feel guilty for it? WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE??Why do they feel that their child has a right to ruin other people’s flights or meals out (holding the public hostage/captive audience to their monster’s deplorable behavior)? They feel that any of the rest of us DON’T have a right to reject their child’s rudeness or have a problem when their baby screams for hours? THEIR LACK OF TEACHING MANNERS OR DISCIPLINING THEIR KIDS OR TAKING THEIR SCREAMING BABY AWAY FROM THE REST OF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEACEFUL FOLKS IS NOW FORCING BUSINESSES TO CREATE BRAT BANS!!! Shamefully,it’s not the kids fault they’re brats, it’s their parents!! These whimpy, rude parents should be ashamed to be in public!! THEY raised the monster children!!! They know who they are, they’re the ones who have the brats who the school teachers secretly resent, who the waitresses have to bite their tongue until they leave, who the others without kids or with well behaved kids shake the heads at or report to the manager and who flight attendants want to drug or throw off the airplane!! NONE OF US SHOULD HAVE TO PUT UP WITH OUT-OF-CONTROL SCREAMING BRATS IN PUBLIC!!! Perhaps there should be a ban on these parents who are disgraceful and feel it’s their child’s”right” to act as a monster in public places and demand the majority of the rest of us to tolerate!Well… THE MAJORITY WINS and those parents whether they realize it or not..are out voted (one brat to dozens of decent, polite people) Most respectful parents who bother to teach their child(ren) proper public behavior..agree that there SHOULD be some kids free zoned restaurants, flights,etc. My wife and I will continue to go out on QUIET romantic dinners without kids who by the way are very well mannered and quite happy!! In fact, we’ll go out of our way to find restaurants that HAVE brat bans and WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THEM!! It’s high time that there’s some place we can go that offers peace and quiet. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH children learning that the world doesn’t revolve around them and YES there are some areas that are off limits to them!! Parents who raise monster kids should stay home!!(they don’t know what common courtesy and proper public etiquette is so they can’t possibly teach it to their kids) Until these permissive type parents get some good parenting classes or consult Super Nanny and actually TRY to raise good kids with proper manners in public, it’s a welcoming sign THAT SOME RESTAURANTS are NOT “family” friendly(or I should say “brat” friendly)

  3. I have to very average acting grandchildren who are now at the age I love to take to special times out. BUT a few years ago they were not the kind of kids that I wanted sitting at a table or booth near me. Consequently they did not go out to eat unless it was a kid-friendly place like Chick-fil-A or McDonald’s. By the way, we have manners night at home. The boys seat the girls, they mind their manners and have a great time.

  4. I fully support no children zones. Get a clue parents! If you can’t exhibit responsible behavior and control your kids in public, then it is actually you that this ban is punishing. Further, when I was growing up, there were many places my parents did not take me because it was an adult space, not designed for children. This was common sense, something parents today seem to lack. Some will be offended by my comments – good. I hope it makes you think and adjust your parenting accordingly.

  5. I am sorry but if you bring your child to a restaurant don’t be mad when are tables discussion quickly turns to how Santa is not real.

  6. i disagree why should children be banned from certain places we were all kids once and kids like to know what they can get away with they are human beings like the rest of us not animals

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