Do you want your children to behave when you take them to a restaurant? Today’s video chat has tips to help you teach your kids to behave when you are dining out. Click the video below to watch.View Transcript
How Can I Make Dining Out With My Children Enjoyable
Dana Obleman: Hi, I’m Dana, welcome to this week’s video chat. Today, our discussion revolves around eating out with your children. Sue is asking, “How can I make eating out with my 2 year old enjoyable?” I love this question. I would say that it is a little bit of a pet peeve of mine when I’m out to eat with my family and I see other children misbehaving, because I think there’s always a solution to problems.
My husband would tease me that I’m fairly judgmental when it comes to certain things. Again, I think that there’s a solution to these problems. I’m going to give you a few tips here today for dining out with children. I have three kids and two of them are 15 months apart, I get it. There was a time in our life where we thought “We can’t ever eat out, it’s too much work. It’s not enjoyable, let’s forget it.” Then I started to realize I enjoy eating out, it’s something I really like to do.
I’m not going to put that on hold for the next five years until my kids are of a better age where they might be able to cope with this. My husband and I sat down and thought, “OK. Well, we need to teach them how to behave in a restaurant. We have to practice.” Once a week, we would go out as a family to practice “How do you behave in a restaurant?” Tip number one is to go over the rules. Sometimes we assume children know what we expect of them without giving them any insight into what it is.
When we were in the car, before we would even go into the restaurant, we would go over the rules. “What are the rules?” You need to sit in your seat. You need to talk with an inside voice. You need to say, “Please” and “Thank you” to the waitress. You need to have cooperative behavior. “These are the rules. These are the things that need to happen while we’re in there.” When you get into restaurant, you need to have some consequences around behavior that is not a part of the rules.
When our kids would stand up, talk loudly, whine, that’s a common thing I see in restaurants. One warning consequence “If you can’t sit down in your chair, you will have a timeout.” I cannot tell you people how many times my husband or I had to take a child to the car for a timeout in a middle of a meal.
If you do the work and you actually follow through and you take them for a timeout, eventually, you will have children who know how to behave in a restaurant. It’s not fun when you’re going through it and your meal’s going to get cold but if it’s important to you and this is something that you want to do with a family, then do the work. Have the consequences, go over the rules. You can even set up some positive incentives around this.
I don’t want to make it sound like it’s going to be a nightmare every time but we would say to our kids, “Listen, If you can sit in your chair, say please and thank you, use an inside voice, then you can have a reward after the fact.” For my kids, they are sweet junkies, they love sweets. It meant that they could have dessert if they had good behavior. That is a super, excellent way to keep this positive. However, if they can’t cooperate and didn’t follow the rules, then no dessert.
But now, we have enjoyable meals out. Occasionally, they need a reminder or two and that’s fine because you’ve implemented one warning. That is so important. If it’s one warning, it can only ever be one. The minute you give your warning, behavior is in check because they now know “Next time, I’m going to the car.” All right, I hope that helps. I hope you enjoy your dinners out. Thanks so much. Sleep well.
Transcription by CastingWords
Also, if you are looking for a way to fix some of the most common behavior challenges in children aged 2 -12, check out Kids: The Manual.
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