Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I can't take them anywhere!

I remember (not so long ago) my husband not wanting to go out to eat with our children because he felt like they couldn't behave.  They were young (four kids within 7 years) and although I thought well mannered, crazy nonetheless.

I remember him saying, "we are not taking you to a restaurant again until you can learn better manners" which they did and we did.

It's not always pleasant to sit next to the family with kids screaming for their dessert before their dinner, the kid who pops up from under your table when his is next to yours, or the constant badgering that goes on between parent and child while trying to enjoy a meal whether as a family, a couple, friends, or  quietly by yourself.

I worked very diligently with my children to teach them good manners and helped them to understand that eating out was a privilege, eating was a right.  Once that concept melded into their little minds, they began to look at it as a treat, much like I did when I was young.  I remember fancy dinners at lavish restaurants and being on my best behavior knowing that this was a privilege (although I always had to "use the restroom" to check it out...a fact my parents still tease me about because my girls do the same thing).

Here is an article from about how to help your children have good manners while dining out.  It has great tips on making sure that you help them realize that this is a privilege for them and helps you take control.  It can be found HERE.  

My best advice is to let your children know your expectations ahead of time and don't be afraid to enforce the rules.  If they think you might be afraid to carry out your consequences (such as taking them out of the restaurant and going home), they will walk all over you.  Follow through and consistency are tremendously important in helping your children learn responsibility.  No one is perfect at it, least of all me, but we must get back on that proverbial horse and try, try again.

1 comment:

O_o said...


I plan in advance for going out to eat. Luckily, we are always going places (library, parks and rec classes, nature center, etc), so we always have bags packed with quiet entertainment (coloring and books to read) and snacks ready to go.
I do that expectation explaining ahead of time, too! I take it a step further do a pop quiz in the car on the way...usually close to the destination so it's still fresh in their minds.
When in doubt, there is always paper and a writing utensils for the box game:

On a related subject, what are your thoughts on: (the tic-tac-toe with knives bit specifically)? Obviously, not something to do at a nicer restaurant, but let's say a hole-in-the-wall diner?