I have different rules for my own son, than I do for other people's kids.
For my own son it SERIOUSLY depends on the restaurant. For example; Canliss is High (Western) Manners, and DimSum is ChineseRules, and McDonalds is SchoolRules / PicNicRules.
High Western Manners include things like:
- Sitting up straight
- Mellow voices
- Asking others if they want X, when you want X, before asking for X (or taking if it's near you)
- Making eye contact at nearly all times
- Left or Switch with flatware
- Outside in
ChineseRules mean that dinner is playtime either by yourself or with children from other tables. Nosh, play, nosh, play. Note: In most asian cultures it is VERY RUDE to eat quietly, so in most asian restaurants, we try to eat with as much crunching, smacking, and slurping as possible.
McDonalds is casual seating (lounging. forearms & elbows won't get askance looks), louder voices / antics are totally acceptable, waiting turns, etc.
I have A. ADHD kid... so it's been very easy in restaurants. He's a very keen observer, and he likes the 'game' of different rules in different locales.
For OPK's... I follow Jo W's AirplanRule. As long as other parents are trying EVEN IF IT'S NOT WHAT I WOULD DO in the same situation, they get a pass.
**Except** when there's a 'new' white family at our dim sum place. Oftentimes westerners don't know that it's encouraged for children to play in 'real' chinese restaurants. This is a huge place, but we're usually the only white folk there. When I see a family with young kids, I usually whisper to the mom so the kids can't hear that management encourages children to play and run around. I've done this may 6 or 7 times out of the few hundred times we've gone (it's dim sum, cheaper than cooking at home!). EACH time, stressed out mom kind of looks up, looks around at all the other kids like she's seeing them for the first time and breathes a HUGE sigh of relief. Soon enough, their kids are running around with everyone else's.
I whisper it, because as a parent
a) I take odd times to teach manners (randomly requiring xyz level even though we're at abc place... like high society on a pic nic), and it's not my place to tell anyone what level they should be asking of their kids
b) It's rude to get kids excited about something their parents are going to say 'no' to. Both to the kids and parents.