If you have children, at some point or another you’re going to go out to eat. For those that have already been there, you know nothing ruins a pleasant family outing like unruly, obnoxious behavior. Some parents would rather stay home than go through another painful restaurant experience. My daughter, Christine from MommyMatter is one of those parents. She dreads restaurant outings with a passion.
While it’s understandable that small children won’t behave and listen like teenagers, they still can be taught proper behavior. It all just takes repetition and a little patience. Read on to learn how to teach a child good restaurant behavior.
Start at Home
In order for a child to behave in a restaurant, she needs to know how to behave at home. Teaching your child proper table manners should be a common practice. Your child should understand the table is a place to sit and eat, not misbehave. Furthermore, encourage your child to be polite and say “Please” and “Thank you.” Give her praise for following directions, but also explain that there are consequences for disobedience.
If you know you’re going to a restaurant, tell your child what is expected of him in advance, Also, bring table-friendly activities such as crayons or books to entertain your child before the food arrives. For a child, nothing promotes restless activity or disruptive behavior like boredom.
Practice Going to a Restaurant
Yes, practice really does make perfect. So why not take your child out to eat during non-peak hours and help her become familiar with the restaurant environment. Make it fun. Maybe describe who the workers are in the restaurant and that they each have a job to do. Explain that your child also has a job to do and that is to be a polite customer. All this is to keep your child interested while you enforce good table manners and pleasant behaviors.
Once you’ve explained what is expected of your child and you’re sure he understands, be firm. If there is something a child wants, she will try to manipulate the situation if possible. Let him know you do not appreciate disruptive behavior and she has to be considerate of others. If he continues to be disobedient, remove a favorite toy or eliminate certain privileges so she realizes there are consequences for refusing to follow instructions.