Headed to a restaurant with a young child? Does the behavior of your young child leave you feeling as though you can’t even try for fear of creating a scene? You really can eat out without your kids being total zombies – making you want to die of embarrassment.
Although dining out can be a challenge, there are some proactive steps you can take to do everything possible to make it a pleasant experience for you, your child, and those around you.
Here are some tips to eat out with your kids & not have to leave in shame!
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In this way, preparing for eating out begins long before you ever leave home. I spoke of teaching children manners before and here. You will also want to tell your kids to speak quietly and to stay seated. They will then to focus on the listening using the skills they have been practicing (these are mentioned in the manners post). Make sure your child understands that especially in a restaurant setting, good manners are essential. Playing restaurant at home is a great way to prepare them.
Plan your trip to the restaurant at an appropriate time
For me, the most important thing in choosing wisely is to make sure that my young child is well rested. If they have had a bad nap that day, I wouldn’t even try it. This means you may have to cancel plans. If a cranky child is going to greatly affect the trip out anyway, it’s better just to postpone it for a better time. It can also be a smart idea to head to a restaurant during non-busy hours. Avoiding long waits or the typical dinner rush can really be an advantage. You know your child best, if they are not having a good day, it could be best just to stay home.
Set clear expectations
Let your child know what to expect while still at home. Prepare them by describing the atmosphere of the place you are going. Tell them who will be there. Tell them how long you think the whole visit will take. Then, let them know what you expect from them. Having a reward for good behavior in place works well for me. Then, review these things on the way to the restaurant so it is fresh in their mind. While there if they get off track, remind them of when you talked about these things.
Bring some entertainment
With all the electronics these days parents of young children have it so much easier, at least in my opinion. With my oldest kids, we didn’t have the option of putting on favorite show right on our phone, but that is something I truly appreciate with the young children I have now. Whatever entertainment your child prefers, you will be so glad to have things for your child to do to keep boredom at bay. This is another time that our going away bag comes in handy.
Eating in a restaurant can be such a special treat for both you and your child, and planning ahead can only help. These simple yet effective tips might be just the thing to help.
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