How to get your child to appear civilized in a restaurant:
I have to admit, I'm proud of this one. Here's what you do. Pick a day and announce to your little darling that we are going out to lunch! When they are not looking, eat lunch. Make sure the kids are good and hungry.
Mission: You are going to the restaurant with the purpose of leaving.
When you arrive at the destination lay out the ground rules....it should go something like this...I expect you to......and if you can't follow these rules: WE ARE LEAVING. Now if this tip catches your attention at all then I know your pain...you are hungry, your kids are hungry, and you are hoping that today is the day that they will show some signs of restaurant self control. And when they don't, the threats start, people are looking over at you, the food is already ordered, your committed....and you have to suffer through the whole miserable experience.
Today is different though. Today is the day that you hope they act up! That's right, because you have already notified the server that you really are not there to eat but to leave(trust me, if you pick a place that is somewhat kid friendly they will understand the plan) .Okay, so what next....you sit, and the minute one starts to act up you give one reminder. ONE. When a second offense is committed, your done. You get up and you leave. You do this whether their poor behavior starts in the first three minutes or when the server has just placed the plates on the table. (This little adventure might cost you a little with nothing to show for itself but empty stomachs, but the payoff is huge) You abruptly get up and march your little ones out the door, go home and make them their least favorite lunch, but edible.
This works, it really does. It may take a couple of times depending on how much your child tests limits, but well worth it. What I really love about this idea is the fact that instead of feelings of dread when you take them out to the restaurant, your actually in a good mood, calm, and feeling in control knowing that you are in fact going to do what you probably would never do in this setting.
You see, what I think is that kids are very smart. They figure out very quickly when a parent is most likely not going to carry out an impending consequence....restaurants are one of those settings. You can apply this approach to many places and situations. You could set up fake play dates, movie trips, the library.....the learning experiences are endless!! Pretty soon your little loved ones will know that you mean business and that while they might think your a little trigger happy...they will acquiesce...In fact, I'm convinced that if we were half as good at manipulating them as they are us, parenting would be a breeze. QAnnie