- May 8, 2011
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A few days ago my husband and I decided to take our kids out for breakfast. It was a nice little unexpected treat.
Once we were settled at the restaurant I began to realize that this was probably the third or fourth time that my son has eaten in a sit down restaurant type environment. I was prepared for battles, him wanting to get up and explore, or just basic grumps while waiting for his food. There was the initial confusion about his whereabouts, but after that I was pleasantly surprised. He sat in the highchair patiently, and was more than content to sit with the whole family and color on his menu with the provided crayons. Yay for crayons and kid menus! This is why it all worked out for us.
When we are at home, we expect our kids to have the same manners and attitudes that they do when they are out and about. We often put our kids at the table to complete small projects or coloring pages while I finish preparing dinner. So my kids are accustomed to sitting at the table before the food arrives. We don’t allow our children to get up once the meal has started. And even when they finish their meals they aren’t permitted to get up and wander around. Instead, they are offered their crayons back and are expected to stay at the table while everyone else eats. It was no big surprise to them that this was the same procedure while we eat in other places. We also do little things like play the manners game, and make a big deal about family meal times.
Family meal happens at least once a day at our house, and it means we turn off the tv, phones, or whatever distraction there is and focus on each other. We make a huge attempt to include our children in any and all conversations my husband and I have. We ask their opinions, even when the responses are silly. These things are what I believe to be our secret to success with well mannered kids in restaurants.