I had the misfortune to be seated in a booth next to a family whose adults were steadfastly ignoring the two little girls with them. The younger girl stood up in her booth, and hung over the back to stare at me as if she had never seen anyone eat before. Her older sister was up and dancing in the aisle. To my right, on the other side of the aisle, was another woman dining alone; in the booth next to hers, and across the aisle from the family was an empty booth. The older girl was jumping up and down on the bench in the empty booth, and chanting. The other woman got up to go back to the buffet, and the girl grabbed the fortune cookie from her table, and danced around singing about how she'd grabbed the lady's cookie. Mama ignored her awhile before telling her to put it back. The piece de resistance was when the girl came over to my booth and started singing and dancing to 'I have to go to the bathroom!' The dance was an attention-getting maneuver, not the sort of desperate dance of a child in need of help. While the child may have correctly intuited that she was more likely to get my attention than her mother's, I still was not about to take a stranger's child to the bathroom, nor do I care to dine to that sort of stage show. After several choruses, she went back to her family's table, and did her song and dance. After a few repeats, the mother snapped, 'So GO!' The child was younger than I'd send to a bathroom by herself, but the mother sighed and groaned as she got up as if an elephant had sat on her, before taking the girls to the bathroom (which was out of line of sight of the mother, AND adjacent to the back door, which struck me as even more of a concern).
Is there a polite way to tell someone, 'Please keep your children with you, and entertain them yourself.'?