Well Behaved – Anywhere!

Written by Christy Whitman November 15, 2012
childWstraw-byErnstVikne

Whenever my husband and I are with the kids in restaurants, we have complete strangers walk up to us and tell us how well behaved our children are. Even my parents are completely blown away with how well behaved they are in restaurants. I thought about what we do and thought I would write it down for you. Having practical applications is so important. Once again, this works for my children, so see if it works for yours. Every child is different.

Before we go to a restaurant, I always make sure we have the following items:

1. Little matchbox cars
2. Straws (If I don’t have them with me, I will make a run to the bar and get the small little straws.)
3. Cheerios

Before we walk in, we tell them, “We are going into a restaurant and so we need you to listen to us, eat your food, and have good manners.” (This means don’t be too loud.) When we get to the table, I will take out their cars, go get at least 4-6 straws for each of the boys and make them a road, and have the Cheerios ready. I recommend having something where you can interact with them (such as crayons, paper, or straws) so that they are still present with you. I see so many families in restaurants where the child is playing with an iPad or a video game. When children have these electronic toys, they are not present with you. This is a time for all of you to enjoy each other and connect. For example, Alex will ask me to make him a house, a spaceship, or a road. I then play with him and there is much interaction and laughter. All the while it keeps them occupied and they are really well mannered.

If they do get “too loud” we remind them by holding onto their arm, asking them to look at us, and then we tell them “too loud.” They will listen. If they don’t, we will tell them, “If you enjoy coming to restaurants (which we know they do) then you need to lower your voice, because other people are trying to enjoy their dinner.”

When we go on an airplane ride, I always make sure to plan for the trip. I figure out how many hours we are going to be traveling and I pack small toys, a CD player with many DVDs, snacks, crayons, paper and even playdough. This way I can keep their attention for the entire flight. I also make sure that they are drinking something when we take off and when we are landing. Think about how much our ears pop as adults and how that is painful. If your child is drinking during these times, it helps prevent their ears from popping.

Whenever you are going to a public place, make sure to plan ahead and think of the things that your child or children will enjoy playing with. Brings those with you so that you all have a pleasant experience.

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