Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kids Who Behave in Restaurants

Whenever I am talking to people at work or something and mention we went out to dinner, people always say, "Oh, I can't take my kids to restaurants". It makes me want to scream. The reason why kids "can't" go to restaurants is because the parents don't take them to restaurants. The only way kids learn how to behave in restaurants is to go to them. We make a concerted effort to go out with the kids every two weeks or so.

Now, I'm not saying we bring them to Ruth Cris Steakhouse or some high-end restaurant (although we do occasionally)..but just going to the neighborhood joint or a chain restaurant like Chilis or Olive Garden or something is enough.

And you can't expect little kids to just sit there, wait for their food, and make polite conversation. You have to be prepared. We carry crayons and coloring books, as well as aqua-doodle sheets and pens. It is not always easy. Especially with Big Man - keeping him in his seat is not an easy task.

Some times it is a nightmare, and we end up getting our food in boxes and leaving. But I think that has only happened once. More often we don't have a leisurely dinner, but more sort of rush through a bit so that the kids can handle it. But most of the time it works out just fine. The kids understand how to behave, amuse themselves with crayons or the like, and we have a nice family dinner.
But we think it is important that our kids learn how to behave in public. And the only way that will happen is if we do it. (And it means we go out for dinner without paying $15/hour for a babysitter.)

15 comments:

pixie4bears said...

I agree with you. It is great that you take them out. Where I live, most restaurants do not carry highchairs so we are left with take out food, but we do try to take him to the ones that do. Keep it up!

Sarah (GM) said...

Absolutely! I am all for going out for dinner and taking the kids. It is an important lesson and definitely cheaper when it comes to babysitting (depending on how many kids that is).

Julie said...

I agree. The only way to get them to learn to behave in those situations is to put them in them.

Also, picking the right time to go makes a big difference.

Wani said...

Its so weird with kids... sometimes we go and they're just angels... and others I want to hide my face and say "those aren't my kids"!

Sabrina said...

Pet Peeve: Getting the kids food first, waiting around for your food and by the time your food gets there, your kids are done and you're gulping down your food in the "time" you have left!!!!

Laura said...

We are so on the same page...or is that at the same table!!! Well said.

Totallyscrappy said...

How will they know if we don't teach them?! Although, now that my kiddos are almost all in elementary school it is almost a break even with the cost of their dinners vs a babysitter. (Of course, babysitters around here aren't making 15 an hour, either.)
:)

Nicole said...

Great post!

I TOTALLY agree. I am at the point now that I love going out to dinner with my husband AND my 4 yr old son...
ps- I always have crayons in my purse :)

Teff said...

Definitely agree. But that's like anything with children. They can't learn if you don't expose them to it. Going out for supper. Going out to events. Shopping. Etc. Looking before crossing the street even. If you don't expose them to it, they'll never learn. But definitely agree with you

Jodi said...

great post - our little guy is 21 mos and unfortunately we eat out way too much...I'm such a cooking slacker! Anyway...we've been very diligent about always putting him in the high chair and strapping him in as soon as we get there. He most always behaves very well and sits through the meal with little to no difficulty. I have a niece who's 3 days older than him, and she's always being held by a family member and passed around the table and when she does sit in the high chair, she's never strapped in, so she cand stand up and reach for folks whenever she wants...she is much more of a nightmare in a restaurant. It's all about that training and consistency and as early as possible. Her mom has since realized and is now trying to keep her in her chair more, but already, at 21 months, that is fairly difficult. Such an interesting thing to watch firsthand! Thanks for your post!

Audra Krell said...

Preach on sister.....you are so right!

Anonymous said...

WE HAVE BEEN TRAVELING WITH OUR KIDS SINCE THEY WERE BORN AND THAT INVOLVES EATING OUT. THEY LEARN, BUT YOU HAVE TO START THEM EARLY. BY THE WAY WE DROVE ACROSS COUNTY WHEN THEY WERE 4YRS, 2 1/2YRS AND 6WEEKS OLD. THAT'S A LOT OF MEALS OUT BUT WE REALLY HAD A FUN TIME!

ShannanB said...

Amen. You can't expect them to remain silent and entertained waiting for dinner. I have a bag I keep in the car of fun items that I use when we go out to eat. It's got crayons and paper, a few small books and a couple random toys. It really helps the time fly.

B Boys Mom said...

I so agree with you. My kids are older now but when they were little we went out to eat. I was always so proud when someone would come over and tell us how good our boys were. Wow $15.00 a hour for a sitter. I'm so glad I don't have to get one anymore.

Wife and Mommy said...

Yep, I agree! We dine out frequently with our three kids and I think it's a good experience with for them...and us!