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Your Child's Behavior Away from Home

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Restaurant Rowdiness

What a combo—a hungry child trapped in a small space, waiting for food, forced to be quiet. Some kids are fine in restaurants, even the most solemn and ornate ones. For other kids (the high-energy ones), you might as well chain them to the wall, it's that uncomfortable. At their worst, kids in restaurants can become the opposite of well behaved. You, the parent, can have the opposite of a relaxed, calm dinner. The chances for humiliation are endless.

Luckily, while restaurant nightmares happen, they happen less frequently than you might think, and there are many ways to avoid unhappiness and disaster. The rule of the public child comes into play here. Here are some restaurant survival tips:

  • Almost any restaurant is fine to take your child to. Don't feel restricted to just fast-food joints, coffee shops, or pizza parlors. If your child is not very restaurant experienced, hold off on the fancy, romantic, candle-lit ones until she's learned the restaurant ropes.
  • Don't take your child to a restaurant when she's hungry. This is totally counter-intuitive, I know; after all, you go to a restaurant to get fed, but a hungry kid is rarely as well behaved as you like. The solution? Snacks in the car, just enough to take the edge off. There's often bread at the table, too.
  • Bring toys, books, and coloring books for the long wait until food arrives.
  • Let your child eat what she wants to eat (within reason, of course).
  • Order some “safe” things (well, there's always the bread), but encourage your child to taste at least one new thing.
  • Encourage, encourage, encourage.
  • At the least sign of trouble, out you go for a walk until the food arrives. This is mostly true with babies and toddlers, but there are eight-year-olds who lose it and need a break.


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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to a Well-Behaved Child © 1999 by Ericka Lutz. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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