How to Avoid Restaurant Dining Nightmares with Your Children

How to Avoid Restaurant Dining Nightmares with Your Children

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].

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