Misbehaved children in restaurants has become such a problem that some eateries have banned children under the ages of 6, 10 or even 18, according to ABC News and the Huffington Post. Most parents would prefer to keep their children entertained and well-behaved while in a restaurant and not terrorizing other diners with screams or flying dishes and forks. From playing games to taking walks, here are a few ways to enjoy a meal with your kids in public.
1. Restaurant Games
The Child Development Institute recommends assembling a bag of special toys that your child is only allowed to play with when you’re at a restaurant. By restricting the coloring books or small portable games, you’ll always have activities in which they’ll remain interested. Alternatively, draw dots on your napkin or a piece of paper to play Capture the Squares, gather the condiments into a group in the center of the table then have your child hide his eyes while you remove one item, then have him determine which one is gone. You can even play I Spy or do a letter hunt using a menu or the paper placemat. Tablets are terrific for playing games in restaurants, too—download memory match games, fun apps such as Make Me a Princess or jewel quest from iWin. These games are sure-fire ways to keep kids busy while you’re waiting for your food.
Photo by michaelaion via Flickr
2. A Learning Experience
Children act out when they feel ignored, so include them in the conversation. Better yet, use the time spent waiting for food to teach them. Use condiment packets to teach colors and numbers or math and counting. Use the silverware to teach etiquette and proper table setting.
Photo by .Larry Page via Flickr
3. Stretch Your Legs
It’s tough for a child with an excess of energy to sit still for the hour or more while you’re in a restaurant. After you’ve ordered, go for a brief walk. You can amble around outside if the weather permits or just take a leisurely stroll through the waiting area and vestibule of the restaurant if it’s cold, wet or dark outside. Finish your tour in the bathroom for a potty break, and to wash up before dinner arrives.
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr
4. Order Early
Usually kids’ tastes are limited, and your child probably orders the same thing no matter where you go. Since you already know what he wants, place your child’s order when you order your drinks. Doing so will ensure that his meal will be served earlier than yours, nipping low blood-sugar tantrums in the bud and giving your child something to keep him busy while you wait for your meal.
Photo by Joelk75 via Flickr
–Written by Jaime Gomez, a mom who is trying to start a small stationary business from her home.