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For those who take their kids to McDonalds...

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
I know not everybody here let's their kids have McDonalds, but I have a question for those who do. We eat McD's occasionally, usually just when travelling but every now and again....just because.

Today I took dd in for lunch as we were running errands. We sat down, I opened her super fabulous toy , and we ate. She alternated between playing with her toy and eating. In comes a mom and her little boy. Now, I have no idea what their day had been like before they got there, have no idea what she might have told this child before coming in, and so on. They sat down, she wouldn't let him have the toy until he had eaten, and he proceeded to throw a ballistic fit. Now, having been part of tantrums in public before, I do have some symathy. But, I guess I don't get it. This is certainly not the first time I have seen this. And, to me, seems like an easily prevented problem.

So, my question is, do you make your child eat their food before giving them the toy? Why do you do this?
post #2 of 142
Mine aren't here yet, but my SIL did this when my niece was 3-ish and we were on a road trip. Now, that must've "just been the way it worked" for her, because she didn't flip out or tantrum over it, and I think the idea was that then she wouldn't piddle-putz around toy-fry-toy-fry-toy-nugget when FIL was already tapping his foot to get back on the road?

If it were something that was going to cause *more* heartache and possibly cost more time when you're pressed (like a tantrum) then, yeah, I totally understand your point.
post #3 of 142
I don't go to McDs, but I always bring a toy into restaurants to keep my son entertained. It's always small and non-obtrusive, quiet, like a car or animal figure. I also have a few books. So I would give him the McD toy at the beginning.

Maybe the kid plays with the toys too loudly or throws them? Gets distracted and won't eat? Is likely to throw a fit if it's the "wrong" version of a toy? There could be a reason, but it does seem odd at first.
post #4 of 142
no, I hand over their happy meal with all the contents. They eat and open their toy at the same time. If we sit in the play area, I usually don't even make them finish their food before hopping off to go down the slide. They can come and go as they please. I know other moms are strict about having them eat, then play. My mom used to hide our french fries from us until we ate our burger. I can't recall if she did the same with our toys, but I sure remember having to wait for the dang fries!

We don't go to mcdonalds very often, though, b/c no one besides DH and my youngest two boys even like the food. So, when we do go it's usually more for the playing in the playplace aspect which is probably why I don't care if they have a bite and run off.
post #5 of 142
I just hand each kid their bag. They're usually equally excited about the food and the toy so I have no problem letting them play and eat at the same time.
post #6 of 142
I've been known to hold back the toy until after eating. I've had toys dipped in ketchup and then used as a comb... But DD doesn't throw a fit about it.

Our most recent toy was a sweet little American Girls book with paper dolls. That definitely didn't get opened until we were home.
post #7 of 142
DD is only 6 months old, so I haven't had this issue with her. I'm sure she will at some point have MD's. I'm a fast food person, especially when we're out and about, so it'll happen at some point.

Anyway, this was my mom's rule when I was a kid. I could have the toy after I ate my meal. I never thought twice about it and happily ate my meal and even more happily got my toy after eating. I don't know what her reasoning was, but I don't remember throwing a fit about it. I just knew that's how it went.
post #8 of 142
I don't give DS the toy until we are done eating, mainly because he would get really excited about the toy and not eat anything. But, we don't go often and he's still young enough to where he doesn't realize that there is a toy in the bag.
post #9 of 142
A little different, but at Chic-fil-a I won't let my DD go play in the play area until she's finished eating her chicken and fruit. I guess that's the same sort of idea.
post #10 of 142
Originally Posted by Mal85 View Post
Anyway, this was my mom's rule when I was a kid. I could have the toy after I ate my meal. I never thought twice about it and happily ate my meal and even more happily got my toy after eating. I don't know what her reasoning was, but I don't remember throwing a fit about it. I just knew that's how it went.
This was my mom's rule too when I was young. I'm pretty sure had we thrown a fit we wouldn't have received the toy at all, and there wouldn't be any trips to McDonalds for a long time.
post #11 of 142
No. That's just silly. Also, I have friends who don't let their kids play in the play land until they've eaten. I consider the play to be healthier than the food, so I let mine play away.
post #12 of 142
I take my kids to McDonald's. I always open the toy for them as soon as I open their food, and the first time I did it, I actually felt like I was breaking some kind of parenting rule. I've always seen: "You can have your toy when you finish ALL of your food", maybe its just a straight-up bribe to get their kids to eat. (?) Just a thought.
No offense to people who wait to give the toy, but thats a feeling I got from some moms I've seen there.

I can understand wanting to wait if you're in a hurry to get back on the road, etc.
post #13 of 142
It just depends. If the kids are already distracted and acting up then I make them wait till they are done eating. If they are being very focused and eating then I let them have it then.
post #14 of 142
I ask that the kids not play with the toy until they have made a significant dent in their food because: 1) it inevitabily gets covered in condiment goo, 2) it is distracting from the food, which gets cold and gross quickly, and 3) we aren't there for the "free" toy, we are there to eat. I am not a total hard-ass about it, but it is my standing expectation and the kids understand that.
post #15 of 142
I think it falls into the category of she's the mom and that's the way she's chosen to do it, so we have no place to pass any judgment (not that I think you were). Having no idea what her prior experiences have been at McDonald's, it's impossible to know the reason.
post #16 of 142
We don't 'save' toys for after eating. I understand why some parents do that, but we don't.
post #17 of 142
I wouldn't make my ds eat a McDonalds meal. Usually when we go to McDonalds is because we're running errands and don't have the time to get home; I figure if he's really hungry he'll eat something. Now, if he got a toy in a restaurant, I might ask him to eat before playing.
post #18 of 142
My kids are all too old for happy meals now but, when we did get them one.
They got the toy with the meal. Opened the toy and set the toy down and ate their meal. If one got too distracted by his/her toy i would hold it until
said child finished their meal. That rarely happened though.
post #19 of 142
I just give them the whole bag .
It's a major deal to them to get a Happy Meal, well the 'idea' of it is anyway, as we rarely ever go. Where we are it's a lot of money for what you get (McDonald's 'food') , so we really have to think of our other options for the money involved. Happy Meals run close to $6 with tax, so times that by three, plus a $6 (or more!!) salad for me and a meal for DH, and we could buy groceries for a few days, or take the kids downtown to the blues bar and feast on ribs all afternoon plus hear great music..... In other words, my kids really only get them if we have gift certificates or someone else is buying.

So in the very rare occurance that they actually get a Happy Meal I just say go for it, enjoy, and not place any rules or restrictions on it.
post #20 of 142
I have recently started suggesting a milkshake in lieu of a kids meal (aka toy) on the rare occasions we go out for fast food. The toys are such garbage. But, I admit to keeping the toys in the bag (not letting the kids see them) until they have eaten some of their meal.
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