No one enjoys dining out with children who are out of control. They make the meal miserable for everyone – including the restaurant staff. Unfortunately, age does not guarantee good manners; but here are a few things to keep in mind when dining out.
You are not at home! Public dining is just that – “public.” There is a growing attitude of entitlement when it comes to public dining. Many boldly proclaim that it is their right to eat where they like; after all, isn’t the restaurant being paid to cook, serve, clean, and meet every request with joy? Personal responsibility has been limited to paying the bill, tip optional.
Exhausted from a long day at work, parents just want to unwind and get support in feeding their children. Forgotten is the couple seated next to them who has hired a babysitter and would also like an evening of relaxation. As one client told me, “I look forward to a nice romantic dinner with my wife and don’t want to be interrupted by a young screaming child demanding a soda.”
3 questions to ask before you leave home:
Is the Restaurant Age Appropriate?
Select a restaurant that will be a pleasant experience for all family members.
Be realistic. A two-year-old is not mature enough to manage their behavior during a leisurely evening meal in a five-star restaurant.
Is the Restaurant Family Friendly?
There are many options in every community from which families can choose.
• Will you be seated quickly?
• Do they have high chairs or booster seats?
• Is there a children’s menu?
• Are there child-friendly activities such as crayons or a playground?
• Will you be able to place your order quickly?
• Does the food require the use of a knife and fork?
• Will the food arrive quickly?
Does My Child Have Appropriate Dining Skills?
• Do they chew with their mouth closed?
• Do they use their napkin?
• Do they say please and thank you?
• Will they use an indoor voice?
• Do they eat neatly?
Practice and patience are essential to teaching children appropriate behavior. Start at home and then provide bite-sized opportunities in public for your child to practice his or her public dining skills.
©2013 What Would Mrs King Do? If you would like to use this article in your newsletter or blog, you may do so. Please include our credit information: Written by Deborah King, What Would Mrs King Do? © Copyright 2013. I would also appreciate it if you would send us a copy for our files to [email protected].