Going out to eat with kids can be, well… terrifying. For some people who have perfect kids who act like angels everywhere they go, this may not be a problem. However, I strive to teach my children the correct way to behave in public and they still get crazy at times.
I went to breakfast with my youngest son this morning and was stunned when he sat politely in his high chair, ate with his fork the proper way and used his inside voice. Who is this perfect child and where did he come from!? It seems like just yesterday when my oldest son was little and I felt like I could never go out to eat because I was that mom who got stared at for having misbehaved children.
When my first child was born, I thought I will never go through that because I’ll teach my kids right from wrong. But, the fact of the matter is, kids will be kids. I did everything I could to prevent meltdowns, accidents, and loud voices in public. But at the end of the day, I had to just accept the fact that these kids of mine are just being kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t let them run wild or ignore them when they’re acting inappropriately. I take them to a quiet place (a bathroom for example) and have a short talk, explaining why their actions aren’t okay.
However, what I have learned after having two kids, is that I can’t stress myself out when my kids are crazy and I shouldn’t worry what other people think. After all, I breastfed two babies anywhere and everywhere. You should have seen the dirty looks I got from public onlookers because I didn’t use a cover! I’ve become accustomed to these reactions and could honestly care less who looks at me with a judgemental glare.
I don’t claim to know everything about how to teach children to behave in public, especially since each child is different. But here’s a list of things that helped me and my kids (I’ve also included some links for examples):
Things to keep in a small backpack or diaper bag:
- A few matchbox cars
- Grab and Go Coloring Packs
- Tablet or game device
- Puffs or Cheerios
- Small bottles of water
- Small non-electronic games
- Small toy for babies, such as a teething ring with bright colors to keep their attention
- Silicone jewelry for mom to wear, to keep baby’s attention
Verbal games to play for toddlers and older:
- Teach them about table etiquette and make it a game
- Play I Spy while you’re waiting on your food
- Play the Letter Game (name a food beginning with letter A, continuing through the entire alphabet until you end with a food that starts with letter Z)
- See who can count the highest (kids love to show off their counting skills)
If you have any helpful tips that are different from mine, please post them in the comments! Though all moms have different ways of teaching and parenting, we all have the same goal: to teach our kids and help them grow to be successful adults.