46 answers

Do You Let Your Kids Order for Themselves?

When you go out to eat, do your kids decide on their own what to eat/drink? My kids are 5 and 3 and we are trying to let them decide what they want rather than have us choose for them. And we also have them tell the waiter/waitress what they would like. Do others do this? From the point of view of those mom's who waitress, is it annoying to have a little kid (sometimes very slowly) order their own food?

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the great replies! I'm glad to know that many others are also trying to get their kids accustomed to politely ordering at a restaurant.

Featured Answers

I was a waitress in high school and college and it never bothered me when the kids ordered (they were cute)! I think that's why I always had my daughter order. I liked to see her ordering with manners..."may I please have the XYZ"?? She also got in the habit early of treating people in service industries with respect and thankfulness.

5 moms found this helpful

I think it's great! I have been a food server for 20yrs and I think it's so cute when they order for them selves. They look so proud at the end of their ordering and they are more apt to eating it all when they get it because it was what they wanted and not what we thought they should eat.

2 moms found this helpful

We will let him pick b/w two "okay" choices on the menu and absolutely let him order for himself. He's 2.5 so sometimes we have to translate for him, but we've never had a server roll their eyes or get frustrated. Then again, we take him to places where kids are welcome, so I guess that would make a difference!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I was a waitress in high school and college and it never bothered me when the kids ordered (they were cute)! I think that's why I always had my daughter order. I liked to see her ordering with manners..."may I please have the XYZ"?? She also got in the habit early of treating people in service industries with respect and thankfulness.

5 moms found this helpful

My dd was always a bit shy when the spotlight was on her and this was great practice for her with that issue and with manners and waiting her turn, appropriate tone of voice, volume, etc. We ate out ALOT when she was young at sit down places..alot of Applebees, Red Lobster, other family type places etc. We did alot of meal sharing, as she never much liked the kids choices, so she would start by saying, "My mom and I are sharing, so we would love an extra plate, please!"..hilarious!

But she would order dressing on the side, minus onions, blah blah. No ice in her Apple juice, etc. She got pretty good at it all, as she and I are both pretty finicky (and tip well if its all correct!). Now at age 16, she orders great and has wonderful manners in such situations. She knows how to get what she ordered without being nasty and orders it in the least complicated manner to make things easier on the waitstaff and cooks.

Its a great skill to empower your children with! So many other lessons are learned here..with the manners elements, etc. I would much rather see children involved in the process and using appropriate restaurant manners (even tho we always ate out alot, it was still a treat and excellent behavior was expected...). I heartily HATE seeing wild children standing in a booth, crawling on the floor, yelling and screaming...as parents attempt to just eat over the craziness. I paid the money to eat out too and don't want to hear and witness all of that. This ordering aspect is just another piece of the manners needed for being in a restaurant, IMO. Good for you for starting them young with the process!

3 moms found this helpful

I think it's great! I have been a food server for 20yrs and I think it's so cute when they order for them selves. They look so proud at the end of their ordering and they are more apt to eating it all when they get it because it was what they wanted and not what we thought they should eat.

2 moms found this helpful

My son is almost five. He's been ordering for himself since he was three. When we are out to dinner, he usually asks me what I want and then orders for both of us when the server comes. :) He noticed that my stepdad does this and so he likes to do it to.

He's become quite the restaurant patron these days. He asks for details about items on the menu or asks to hear the specials etc. It cracks me up.

2 moms found this helpful

I let my kids tell them what they want. My oldest is 9 and can order down to the last detail where my youngest is 3 and usually will say "I want x" and points to the picture. I have never had a waitress be annoyed with it or appeared to be annoyed with it.

2 moms found this helpful

We not only do this... but in certain restaurants (like dim sum or indian where we know the staff and they've treated him like a little man for ages)... kiddo pays with the debit card (although we sign).

From a waitress point of view I always *loved* it when kids would order for themselves as long as :

- parents weren't yelling at them (then I'd be the one saying 'take your time')
- they actually knew what they wanted (some parents push them to order but they don't know what they want)
- they were polite (some kids use snarky or bossy "fetch that for me scum" kinds of voice. They don't have to say please, but snottiness at any age is unattractive.

I DO NIX:

- lobster, anything "market price", etc... when my son is ordering it's after we've negotiated what he's allowed to order.

2 moms found this helpful

My 6 and 3 year olds order for themselves (pre approved by me of course) and I've never had a waitress get snippy or impatient. He/she usually looks over at me after each item to make sure I nod yes and if the oldest tries to sneak one by (like Sprite instead of Chocolate milk) I can just fix it right then.

2 moms found this helpful

YES.
My kids are 4 and 8 years old. I have been letting them order themselves since they were younger.
Of course I don't let them order dessert for dinner.
I let them decide what they want to eat... other than that.
My kids know what they want, what they like, what they will eat or not.
And for any drinks... my kids know that NO soda or soft drinks are allowed... but they can have fruit punch diluted with half water. They tell the waitress that. The Waitresses KNOW that this is commonly requested by parents... they are also NOT bothered, by a child, ordering their food themselves. My kids have received many compliments, by the Waitress, for doing so and they are always patient.

My kids know what they can have or not, or they always... ask us... if not sure. We don't commonly let them have stuff like 'fruit punch' (which is commonly sold here in restaurants), but when we are out, it is a treat for them. They know that.

all the best,
Susan

2 moms found this helpful

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