April 3, 2012 1 Comment
There is a window of time in a baby’s first year when you can take them to restaurants without incident. As soon as a baby identifies his or her own mobility, dining in a restaurant with a toddler can be one of the most stressful challenges of parent. I firmly believe that it is possible to “train” for this at home. Establishing a meal time routine indicates your expectations for them.
For example, in my house, Scarlett eats every meal in her high chair. At dinner, the high chair is wheeled up to the table with the rest of the family. If she is being fussy I will cue up Netflix to play a television show for her or I will play a Baby Signs DVD to distract her while she eats. This helps her sit still and eat quietly. Sometimes just being around everyone and modeling our behavior is enough, sometimes it isn’t.
Dining at home is very different from dining out because she does not sit down until it is absolutely time to eat. At a restaurant, this poses a challenge. I refuse to have my child be the screaming running restaurant terror. I have devised a few tips to help with this.
1. We only take her to kid-friendly restaurants. This could be based on noise level or atmosphere. For example, Scarlett loves to go to our favorite Mexican Restaurant, especially on Mariachi night. Nothing occupies her like a Mariachi band or a fish tank.
2. Order quickly. This is not the time to pour over the menu and ask for more time.
3. Crayons, Smartphones, and snacks. The big three for any toddler entertainment. Crayons before, Netflix during and snacks throughout. Also, save a favorite toy as you wait for the check.
4. Be nice to your server and tip well (you never know what goodies they can procure for you).
1.Talk casually while your kids screams like a banshee.
2.Go to a restaurant that is not suitable for kids.
3.Dine unprepared for your child
5. Ignore bad behavior.
In my experience, a child with any training will be able to sit at a restaurant without issue by 3 years old. However, it is a learned behavior starting heartily around age 2. Take the time now and condition your child it will make dining out for the rest of your life easier.