About a month ago, my family and I went out for dinner for my birthday at a fairly nice place. Even though my nephew had been cranky the past week or so, we still brought him. And of course, he threw an absolute fit. The. Entire. Time. He’d settle down for about two minutes, enough for us to get a few bites in, before screaming his head off again. Nothing worked- not the crayons, not his toys, not even when the food arrived. Basically, for the whole meal, one of my family members was outside with him. I still enjoyed spending the time with my family, but it would have been nice to savor the food and not be constantly worried about the scene he was causing. And it would have been nice if everyone was present the whole time. Needless to say, he hasn’t been out to eat since. We’re waiting until he’s a bit older and can be taught basic table manners.
And of course, toddlers just need patience and help. Not every day is going to be a complete meltdown day, and you just have to keep trying. If you are nervous about dining out with your toddler too, check out this post by Kristy at the Seven Graces Blog for tips:
-Be prepared: bring snacks for them to munch on while waiting, crayons, paper, and other entertainment.
-Keep the type of restaurant in mind- if it is a loud, family friendly place, you’re good to go, until they’re old enough to handle something a little fancier.
-Practice going out to eat at home- so they know what behavior is expected of them!
-Redirection games- if they start having a fit, do everything you can to distract them. Ask them to name the ABCs. Count to ten. They will often forget what they were upset over!