Taking your child out to eat

Taking children out to eat can become more of a pain then fun, which leads us to not do it as often as we should. Unfortunately this is not always the best option because we need our children to know how to behave and act in public. I've got a few do's and dont's when taking your child out to eat! 

DO NOT start trying this at a fancy restaurant. FieldStone is not where you want to start this journey! You will become frustrated with your child's behavior and other people will look at you and all too quickly you will give up.

DO start someplace that can be noisy and kid friendly.  McDonald's is always a good place to start but soon branch out if you can because your child needs to know that not all restaurants have play areas, and lets be honest sometimes at McDonald's the kids don't behave like you would like to see. :)  Try somewhere like Culvers or Texas Roadhouse. Both of these places are louder and are used to having children around!

DO NOT show up empty handed. If you go to a restaurant even the best child will not just sit for 10-20 minutes and wait for there food. They need something to do. Which leads to my next do! 

DO bring along something for your child to do. Crayons and a coloring book, one of their favorite story books, a favorite toy (OR THREE), iPad or iPhone. These will just keep there little hands and minds busy while you can try to relax and enjoy your meal! Search for those toys at the bottom of the toy box that they haven't played with in a while.

DO be mindful of the time. If your child eats at 5 show up at 4:30 and order so you know food will be there around the same time they usually eat. Sticking to a schedule is important...which will be one of my next posts!

DO NOT show up at 5 or 6 on a Friday or Saturday night and expect a table right away. You will end up waiting around 45 minutes to an hour on these nights. Go early or stick to a week night! 

DO tell your child the rules for going out to eat. Some common rules include: quiet voices, stay in your seat, listen to mom and dad, any whatever else the rules are at home! 

If your child breaks one of these rules there needs to be consequences. If your child is loud and disrupting the entire restaurant my suggestion would be to tell them "You need to be quiet or you will go to the car." If your child continues to yell or break your rule make sure you are ready to follow through. Have one parent take that child to the car while everyone else finishes there meal.  While you are in the car DO NOT talk to them or give them any positive attention, this will reinforce there bad behavior.  If this is a common problem you can also have a baby sitter or friend come and be ready to take them out of the restaurant and then the rest of you can finish your dinner.  If you do this make sure the baby sitter or friend knows that they aren't to play with your child that this is a punishment!  Make sure you are ready to follow through on whatever you say or your child will continue the negative behavior. 

I hope everyone is able to take there child out to eat every now and then! I must say all of your children have great manners at school so I know they can do it at a restaurant!