Restaurant Give Customers With Kids 'Rule Cards' -- Great Idea!

Texas restaurant creates children

What's a business to do if children who come with their parents not only run around, but also cause damage to their establishment? Owners of the Mexican restaurant Cuchara in Houston, Texas, created a controversial solution with mixed reviews. Tell me, would you be offended by a restaurant that has a "rule card" for kids?


Ana Beaven and Charlie McDaniel are the owners of Cuchara (that's Spanish for "Spoon") and aren't trying to wage a war against parents -- they simply want them to pay a little more attention to their kids when it comes to eating inside a restaurant. Once they realized that asking parents to help step in didn't work, these owners thought of another solution: a card that kindly reminds people dining with kids to be considerate of the space and of others.

After hearing stories of kids jumping on chairs, damaging authentic Mexican artwork, and scribbling on the wall (some damages cost over $1,500), is it that far-fetched to think a dining establishment wouldn't look for ways to make their message more clear?

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Here's what the "rule card" says:

Children at Cuchara don't run or wander around the restaurant. They stay seated and ask their parents to take them to the restroom. They don't scream, throw tantrums or touch the walls, murals, windows or anything of the other patrons. They are respectful!

Honestly, if I saw something like this (the card reportedly gets passed out with the menus), two things would come to mind: How many kids did enough damage to cause such a card, and please let me know of a child who sees this "rule card" and says, "Okay, no tantrums -- got it."

While some of the things on this rule card are specific, it doesn't bother me.

Yes, I can see how some parents would take offense to the idea of such a card -- and even how certain things are worded (I'm a firm believer that please and thank you go a long way). But overall, I think it speaks to certain incidents that have happened at Cuchara and tries to provide some sort of a courtesy reminder.

Obviously kids of a certain age will cry, possibly scream, and maybe throw a tantrum. As a parent, it's our job to try to help our child through his or her frustration, so that we can have a Coke (or glass of wine) and a smile. If a parent is trying his or her best to remedy a situation, I don't think it would hurt to give a little wiggle room to do so.

With that being said, there are parents who must be so excited to get out of the house that they completely tune out their kids in public places. There's no reason why a child needs to run around a restaurant like it's a track, jump on chairs, or use the edges of a coin to draw a tic-tac-toe board on the wall (creative, but not appropriate). Just as parents don't want anyone else telling them what to do with their child, we should also return the favor by trying to make sure our children aren't a nuisance to others.

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Look, I love my 1½-year-old and 5-month-old boys -- but if one of them started acting up in a restaurant, check please. Thankfully (at least for now), my husband and I do our best to keep them on their schedules, and provide enough entertainment when we go out. Things, however, can and will always happen. Rather than make everyone else deal with my crying child, I choose to leave and not keep him in a situation that's already frustrating enough.

At the end of the day, people will do what they think is best. Just don't be surprised if more restaurants start passing out "rules cards" if kids start treating their property like a playground -- or worse, possibly try to ban them (then I'll have an issue).



Image via KHOU 11

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