Many parents of young children may feel that going to a restaurant to have a sit-down meal is a gamble. You never know what’s going to happen when you have young kids. Are they going to get tired and throw a tantrum? Are they going to make the entire experience painfully difficult? Some parents think it’s best to stay away from restaurants completely for fear of something going wrong. However, when parents understand how to address behavioral issues when they arise in these settings, things are more likely to go well. And, parents can gain the confidence they need to take their kids wherever they want to go – even sit down restaurants.
Fortunately, there are a few things parents can do to make going out to eat a bit easier with small children. These tips can help to provide some help with the challenges parents of small children typically face in these situations. Some things you can do as a parent to prevent behavioral issues in restaurant settings include:
Go Earlier: It can be easier to walk into a restaurant and sit down right away during earlier hours. This doesn’t necessarily mean going at 4 or 5 pm. But, at around 6 pm, restaurants tend to be less busy than they are at 7 or 8 pm. Not having to wait to sit down and ordering right away may help make the whole process of eating out with small children much easier.
Choose a Family Restaurant: When a restaurant is prepared and equipped to serve children, eating with children may be a bit easier at these establishments. Child-friendly restaurants usually have kids meals, which makes it easier for parents to order. And, will likely offer some type of activity to keep your kids entertained like crayons and coloring materials. All around, being at a restaurant that encourages parents to bring small children can help parents feel more confident.
Bring a Snack: Sometimes it can help to take a snack from home when taking young kids to restaurants. You never know when your child may not like whatever you order for them to eat. And, bringing something from home they’re comfortable and familiar with can help to prevent total meltdowns. Other things you may want to bring from home include utensils that are small enough for your child’s use and maybe a toy to keep them entertained.
Leave Early: The longer you sit at the table, the more restless your small children may be. So, rather than waiting for your server to clear your dishes, ask for the check earlier. For example, as soon as you finish eating. This way, you can pay your tab and get out of there faster, before anyone gets too stir-crazy.
Have Realistic Expectations: When parents have the right expectations for these kinds of situations, they’re bound to have more success. Remember that your small child is just that, a child. And, even adults can get cranky when they have to wait for food, a table, or their waiter at a restaurant. So, be sure to place realistic expectations on your children and not overreact when things go south.
Many parents may dread going out for dinner with their young kids. But, in all reality, it can actually help to curb behavioral issues in children. This is because it’s basically practice for any other type of social setting. Use these situations as an opportunity to teach your children proper table manners, how to order their own dinner, and use various utensils. When kids get to experience and practice social settings with who they’re most comfortable with (their parents), they’ll be better equipped to understand what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not.
If you’re reading this blog because you’re worried about your child or children developing behavioral issues, there are some things you can do as parents. As well as learning how to become more confident in social settings with your small children at places like restaurants, you can invest in early learning.
Early learning environments, like the locations of Ivy Prep Early Learning, can help to prepare your young children for social settings. In early learning classrooms, your child will learn to take instruction, socialize with peers, and utilize problem-solving skills. To learn more about how early learning environments can help to prepare your child for a lifetime of learning, contact us today to schedule a visit.