I felt sorry for her. She obviously needed a day out with her girlfriend but her children’s behaviour was earning her dirty looks and the annoyance of those seated close to them. The youngest kept standing up on his chair and yelling. The older one was clinking her glass loudly with her spoon. Mom would take away the spoon and she would find something else to bang on the glass. When she took away the glass, she started banging on the table. I overheard her girlfriend mention how much “fun” this was. The waitress brought over crayons and a sheet to colour and it seemed to settle the older one down but not the boy. He was intent on entertaining the restaurant by singing the song of his people all while standing on his chair. Nothing she did could get him to sit and be quiet. Finally, their meal came and they both ate rather quietly. Mom didn’t hang around too long after they were done and left rather quickly.
Children’s behaviour in restaurants has been trending off and on in the newsfeed lately. Either with the restaurant owner who yelled at the crying child or restaurants banning crying children. It is an issue that is hotly debated. Either way, here are some tips to help make the restaurant visit a positive experience for everyone.
- Practice at home first. Teach your child what behaviour is expected by having a pretend dinner out. Make it fun by giving them choices (chocolate milk or orange juice?) and helping them make decisions.
- Pack appies! Have some carrot sticks or crackers to tide hunger over if the meal is slow or your child gets hungry a little bit sooner than usual.
- Do not go right before nap time or bedtime. There is no logical reasoning with a tired toddler.
- Take some quiet toys or a crayons and a colouring book. Keep them busy till the food arrives.
- Go to child-friendly restaurants a few times before heading over to the classic 5 star Italian place.
- Be prepared to leave if someone is having a bad day.