I just read the article about dining out with children and wanted to add my one cent (frugality prevents me from adding two cents). When our children were very young, infants and toddlers, we introduced them to dining out. We never, and I mean never, had a bad experience.The main thing that helped me as a new mom and helped dad spend time with his sons was a walk around the area. In inclement weather, they just walked around the restaurant. While I ordered our meals, I sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet while my wonderful husband took the babes in arms (or by the hand) and walked them around for five or ten minutes. When the food arrived, I cut up the portions and received the men back for an enjoyable meal. Dad was even able to have an extra cup of coffee before the boys became restless. As they got older, I still ordered two adult meals and two children's meals. (I just started eating one of the children's meals and gave the older boy the adult meal.)
We also shunned the fast food places for the finer restaurants. As was stated:
Be the first at the restaurant.
Split the meals.
Require proper table manners. (Of course, you have practiced at home.)
Bring a small toy, book, or other quiet object.
Expect proper behavior.
We now have the privilege of taking our two-year-old grandson out to eat and follow the same procedure. We still receive the compliments of how well-behaved our boy is. I wasn't just looking back with rose colored glasses. It worked thirty years ago and it still works today. Help your children to be the sort of person that people want to have around, not the dreaded disruption so many youngsters are allowed to be.
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