Last Friday, Doc and I took my sisters and Little Bird to a restaurant. We had appetizers, dinner, and dessert. Little Bird did great!
Believe it or not, Little Bird does fantastic at restaurants the majority of the time.
We had a few little training tricks we used to help her become familiar with what is expected at a restaurant.
#1: Eat out at Breakfast! Diners that serve breakfast are a great place to introduce a kiddo to eating out. Morning is Little Bird’s best time of day, so we had her eat with us at BBD (Brookside By Day) on a few mornings. Restaurants are less crowded if you go early and you can take your time explaining how things work.
#2: Explain how things work. “We will be given a table for us to eat at. We will each sit in our own chair. In a restaurant, people move around a lot, so we will try to stay in our seat so we don’t fall or knock people over.” As well as, “the waiter will bring us our food. We have to tell them what we’d like and they will bring it to us when it is ready.”
#3: Have them order. When Evelyn orders her food, she accepts responsibility for that order. It gives her some control. She also orders her drink and says please and thank you to the waiter.
#4: Games. Make shapes with sugar packets (emphasizing that we will have to clean these toys up when the food comes) or stack jellies. You are teaching your child ways to occupy themselves when waiting is hard. It’s a good trick.
#5: Talk. Have normal conversations about what you will do later that day or that weekend. Involve the kiddos. Talk about the food. What is delicious? What don’t you like very much? Talk about the kind of foods you are eating.
Following these steps have made mealtimes out and about not only relaxing, but FUN!
Sure, every now and then we have a spill, or we have to chase a little girl who is racing for the bathroom, but most of the time…it’s actually nice to take our kid to a restaurant.