M.M. asks from Murrieta, CA on February 14, 2009
17 Mo Old Throws Tantrums in Restaurants!
I have a very very active 17 month old boy who behaves generally well at home! He very rarely throws tantrums, once in a while when he doesn't get his way, but not always! However, my husband and I have found it impossible to take to restaurants due to his behavior in the restaurant! He will not sit in a highchair, he wants to run around the restaurant, or wants us to walk him around the restaurant He always wants what he can't have, he throws food if he doesn't get what he wants!! I tried putting him in the booth with us and that usually works for about 10 min if that!! I look at like why go to dinner since we can't enjoy our dinner that we are paying for! Also, I hate to ruin other peoples dinner because they have to listen to a screaming child!! I am really hoping it is a phase he is going through, a short phase! :) He is quickly approaching the terrible 2's, maybe he is there now, I don't know!!! Does anyone have any advice on what I could do or is this something I need to just wait out??
J.M. answers from Los Angeles on February 14, 2009
I've been a mother for 38 years,however,this doesn't necessarily make me or my ways of parenting any better than a new mother with excellent skills,and some(common sense)Its my thought,That you can raise your child to be a wonderful individual,with much love,patience and nurturing. You need not force your child to FEAR YOU,to gain their respect. Your expectations are to high for your toddler. Do you really expect A child this age to sit there and understand proper etiquette? Demanding this, would be no different than expecting him to sit through a (Ballet or Opera.only to clap in between acts. lol The idea of going out to dinner,is to be able to relax and enjoy your meal. He's not enjoying it,because he doesn't understand, why hes expected to sit there amongst a noisy room,with alot of strangers,and be the perfect little prince. Your obviously not relaxed and enjoying your meal,so why push it?I've never believed, that a public place was the ideal arena to teach a toddler proper etiquette. Give him the proper amount of time to learn at home,then you can reprimand him,if he messes up in public.In response to other suggestions here.I find it almost offensive using the word (Obedience) for a child. It suggest that individual is seeking submission from one so small.A DOG should be Obedient.Using the child's crib for time out or any form of disapline,is A very bad idea.Soon,,each and every time your toddler reaches his bedtime theres a good chance he will think it a punishment. This could create sleep problems for him and you.My suggestion is, to limit the dinners out with him, until hes old enough to comprehend what rules are,and while MANY ADULTS have trouble with this.... He Learns how to be patient,while sitting there waiting for a (SLOW WAITER)I wish you and your darlin son the best.
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on February 14, 2009
Great suggestions here.
Just wanted to add: (from experience with my daughter as a toddler).... for some kids, restaurants can be very over-simulating... and noisy, and too much going on. For my daughter, she didn't like certain restaurants (even the kid friendly kind) because it was just TOO noisy for her... and she'd basically get fussy/screaming/uncooperative, and just not at her best.
Once she started to talk, she basically told us "It's TOO noisy... it's too much..." and we had to learn from HER... that some venues was just not the best for her. ESPECIALLY when she was tired as well. So, we learned what restaurants were conducive to her and which were not. THIS affects their behavior, too.
For young children, they don't have the best "coping skills" yet... and thus, they act out, and this is merely a way for them to "shut-out" what is discombobulating them. It's a "hint" to US... as to what is uncomfortable for them.
So, it was not a matter of her being "difficult" when we went out to eat... it was a matter of she not being able to handle certain places... the noisy, busy, bustling, over crowded restaurants. And her "having to" bear it, because at that age, it was all just too much for her.
So, there are these aspects as well, for some children. We have to observe what and where we take them. Some places just not being positive for them. For my son on the other hand... he's more noise tolerant and not as "sensitive" with these places. But he is just a typical busy active 2 year old who can't sit still... so, we adjust to that, and don't go to restaurants when he is tired (which is not a good time for him to be "patient" for US). Or if some restaurant is just too over-stimulating... he will basically tell us "not happy. Go home, now..."
So, see what makes your child tic. This can make all the difference sometimes. Sometimes, there is a reason for their behavior at certain places. And especially at this age... they just CANNOT sit still and be quiet and be "mild" at restaurants. It's just hard for them... they feel confined.
When/if you go to restaurants... ALWAYS ask for take out boxes right away... just in case you have to leave, due to an unhappy baby/toddler at the restaurant. This is what many parents do... plan ahead and be prepared to just leave. Many parents also simply do not go out dining at this age... because it is too hard, or just a hectic ordeal. When a child is able to, then it gets better. It's all about "ages and stages." Keeping in mind, that from t his age up through 3 years old... it's tricky going to restaurants.
All the best, just some ideas,
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L.D. answers from Las Vegas on February 14, 2009
I've found that packing a backpack full of new and exciting items really does work to keep children seated in their seats and their voice level down when you go to public places where you know they may cause a commotion but shouldn't. At any given times, my children's "bag of tricks" could include happy meal toys, crayons, Oriental Trading Company catalogs, board books, plastic animals, trains, cars, puppets, flashcards, stickers, etc. Unfortunately, your child will want to share everything with you so they won't be distracted enough to allow you sit there and have an adult conversation with your partner but you will be able to eat out as a family without the other restaurant patrons cringing everytime they heard your child scream.
Hope this helps.
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S.A. answers from Honolulu on February 14, 2009
It's just a tough age. Toddlers (especially boys) really have a hard time sitting still at this age. You could always try and bring books with you to the restaurant if he likes to be read to. Or maybe a small new toy would keep his attention long enough for you to enjoy a meal (a small something from the dollar store or whatever). If all else fails, get a sitter! lol Eventually he will grow out of his "ants in the pants" phase. Good luck 'till then! :)
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M.B. answers from Los Angeles on February 14, 2009
All great suggestions I would like to add if your child doesn't want to sit still order take out or get a babysitter. I can remember a time we had to stop eating out with our kids it is just too much to ask of them. THIS TO SHALL PASS. Also working in a restaurant remember it is a safety hazard to let your kids run around when people are carring hot food & drinks. I once found a little boy under 2 all the way in the kitchen I picked him up and brought him out his parents had NO clue.
J.C. answers from San Diego on February 14, 2009
I would limit my outings in restaurants to times where he is either asleep soundly or with a sitter at home. Or order from the "to go" menu and pickup your food and eat at home. It is so hard to expect children to behave in restaurants until they are about 5-6 years old and can learn proper behavior at home first. Best of luck.
J.L. answers from Los Angeles on February 14, 2009
From like 16 months to close to 2 years old, we gave up on taking our kids out to restaurants. Around 2, they were better able to understand the concept of how to behave and as long as we provided activities for them and structured their time, meals in restaurants were again tolerable.
B.S. answers from Reno on February 14, 2009
The other posters have great ideas! Take some "eating out only toys." Also try odd times to eat so there aren't as many people there and make sure your son isn't tired! Don't push him! I take my boys out a lot, always have so they are very aware of how to act. But it's hard at first. Maybe try non formal resteraunts like fast food or places like panda express/Qdouba. The more you do it, the faster he will learn how to act. However, you have to enforce rules with him even when out. If he gets away with stuff then he remembers he can. Use time out in the car if he isn't acting right. Before you go explain to him what is going to happen and how to act. This was the age we started doing that wiht my oldest and we started using time outs. Anyway....take toys, be consistent and try odd times/odd resteraunts. Good luck.