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Q: Behaving in Restaurants. How can we get our small children to behave well in fine dining restaurants?†--  DE (Ref:1110)

A:  Talk to the children beforehand and explain exactly what happens in a restaurant of this kind and also explain exactly how you expect them to behave. You might do some role play and act out some common restaurant situations. Tell them that †the food wonít be like home and that the restaurant might not have everything they want. But do tell them the good parts too. It can be fun for little ones to dress up, try new foods, and have some choices in what to order, plus there is no setting the table or cleaning up to be done. ††Explain to the the children that if something happens that they donít like, they need to use their quiet voices and ask a parent for help. But do warn them that not everything can be fixed in this setting. And no matter what happens, they must not annoy other people in the restaurant. Try to time the outing so that the food will be served at approximately the usual meal time. If you think there might be a long delay, or it is late bring a small snack. While waiting for the food to arrive, make sure your children feel included and important by involving them in the conversation. If the wait is truly long, be prepared by bringing a few small quiet amusements. A new small pad of paper and pencil for each child can go a long way. Do whatever you can to keep the meal pleasant and donít worry about a balanced diet on this special occasion. -- Linda Byard April 19 2005

Links: http://www.parentlineplus.org.uk 

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