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My Child Was Screaming in the Middle of the Restaurant — That’s When a Stranger Did This!

Quick Tips for Dining Out With Littles

Melissa and her husband clearly handled the situation well. And, all parents have been there. Here are a few quick tips for when you want a nice meal with your kids.

  • Let them nap that day. Throughout the day, be sure to follow their schedule for eating and naps. It’s hard for anyone to have a nice evening out when he or she is tired or hungry.
  • Set them up for success. Prepare a small bag of activities that will keep your children occupied at the table. What can feel relaxing for adults can seem boring to the littles. And, if they’re a little older, let them help pick out quiet activities or small books to bring to the restaurant.
  • Set expectations. Especially if it’s been a while since your kids have been to a sit-down restaurant, be sure to remind them of what to expect. What can they be excited about? How should they act when at the restaurant?
  • Give them choices. As you’re ordering, let them choose between two items on the menu. This gives them a bit more buy-in for the meal and lets them participate in the process.
  • Include them. Be sure to include your kids in conversation throughout the meal. If they’re willing, let them order their menu item from the wait staff.
  • Celebrate. Let your kids know what they’re doing well and how much you’re enjoying the meal.
  • Calmly deal with challenges. Just as Melissa displayed, stay calm if your child chooses that moment for a meltdown. If the child is inconsolable, take him or her outside for a reset.

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