Dinner Disaster.... - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here lately, ever time we take our daughter out to eat, it almost always is a crying screaming disaster. My almost 2 year old screams and cries the entier time. I try telling her to be quiet, I try giving her something to play with; coloring books, reg books. puzzle, watch tv on my phone. Nothing works. When she is ready to go, she lets everyone know. It is so embarassing. I don't even want to take her anymore. Advice????

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:55 PM
 
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I think that going to a restaurant can be too stimulating for many toddlers - lots of strange people, noise, interesting foods.  It seems fun for a while, but then the child breaks down.  Two of my children used to be like that, especially if we were going out to eat with friends or family.  Honestly, we just stopped going out to eat for a few years, or went a lot less, because it was too stressful and exhausting. 

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Old 05-18-2013, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is very stressful. But I don't feel like we should stop going just b/c she throws a fit.... Maybe that is me being selfish! help.gif

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Old 05-18-2013, 09:14 PM
 
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My DD goes through phases. When we're in a difficult one, we avoid the stuff that sets her off. When she's more calm then she tolerates the same things better. Honestly I feel like eating out with a screaming toddler is a waste of money so we get take out or better yet pack a picnic and go to the park. She will eat for a while then she can play while DH and I finish up. I think there's plenty of time to eat out as a family; it's not a high priority for me at 2 years old. In fact preferably she goes to visit grandma for a couple of hours while mommy and daddy have a lovely, calm meal and reconnect wink1.gif
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:17 PM
 
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I think in the last few weeks I've seen multiple threads about this exact subject, how funny how we're all going through this now!  I think the general consensus from the other threads is that, really, it ISN'T worth it! The only thing that works for my 15 month old is to realize in advance the longest time that she will be able to sit still, which for her is about 15 minutes under ideal circumstances  Then plan to walk her around the entire remaining time of the outting.


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Old 05-19-2013, 12:07 AM
 
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Yep, yep, yep. We don't go out for fun at the moment. We eat out for family obligation - usually birthdays. Sometimes it's better than others but I go with the expectation that I will be "on duty" not sitting enjoying a meal and a conversation. I have found that this is the best way for me not to feel resentful.

We have found that not sitting down until the food is on the table works best for us.

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Old 05-19-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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We stopped going out to eat for a while. It isn't their fault they're overstimulated, though I did miss going out too. We did take-out and it was really much more enjoyable during that phase than going out was.

IMO, you have to weigh three things:

1. Your desire to eat out and how enjoyable it is in these circumstances.

2. Your child's ability to handle it.

3. How it affects everyone else in the restaurant.

For me, when I weighed those three issues, it made me decide to do take-out instead of going out for a while.

And toddlers throw fits in situations where they're overstimulated and out of their ability to behave well. They can't really help it at that age.
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Old 05-19-2013, 07:19 AM
 
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We rarely take our almost 2 year old to any restaurant that isn't a fast one. Not McD's but we have several local restaurants that cook fresh food right on the spot, 5 minutes of waiting if that. Anything else usually ends up with one parent waiting outside with the toddler. If my kids can't sit still and be quiet in a restaurant (which is really a task for an older child to accomplish), then we don't belong there, it's common curtesy to me. 


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Old 05-19-2013, 07:29 AM
 
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I think it's very normal to have a phase (or phases) where you just can't go out to eat with your toddler. Sometimes it only lasts a short while. Our son (almost 3) has always been relatively easy and well-behaved in restaurants. We go out quite often. However he's had some phases and we just didn't go out for a few weeks and then it was over. Not a big deal.

 

In one way, yes it is selfish of you because you are not considering that it must really annoy the other people trying to have a nice meal out. Even other parents might get annoyed if it is a huge screaming tantrum. One way to avoid that would be to go very early, like at 6:00. In a way, if someone is out that early they can only expect it to be "family time" and it's sort of their problem. KWIM? When we go out to eat it's usually early and if any scene were to erupt I'd feel less guilty about ruining other people's meal because hey, it's fracking 6pm and what do you expect?

 

But really, more than anything, it is ruining your meal. Why bother then? It's just a waste of money in that case. Save your nerves and do takeaway. Try again in a few weeks or a month or two, and it may have passed These things always pass.....

 

Good luck!
 


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Old 12-13-2014, 12:43 AM
 
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It's funny because we've realized that toddlers do not even need to be present to cause a dinner disaster. We shared our toddler dinner disaster at http://www.toddlertyrant.com/dinner-disaster/
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:13 AM
 
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Yeah, haven't been to a sit-down restaurant since he was like 6 months lol (he is 26 months). I think that soon he will understand and be more patient, but until then I stick to take-out, picnics and homcooked meals

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Old 12-20-2014, 06:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyloveC View Post
<p>Here lately, ever time we take our daughter out to eat, it almost always is a crying screaming disaster. My almost 2 year old screams and cries the entier time. I try telling her to be quiet, I try giving her something to play with; coloring books, reg books. puzzle, watch tv on my phone. Nothing works. When she is ready to go, she lets everyone know. It is so embarassing. I don't even want to take her anymore. Advice????</p>
I don't take my toddler out to dinner. I just don't. I get a babysitter so I can sit and enjoy. Otherwise, it is a waste of money because it is WAY too stressful and I don't think he likes it either. My 6 and 8 year old are great out to dinner, so I occasionally take them out for fun. Don't torture yourself is my advice.

Joyful mama of 3.
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Old Today, 10:01 AM
 
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Hmm... does this mean she used to be good in the restaurant? Because if so, I wouldn't give up yet. I'm a little selfish too in that I don't believe the first answer to parenting ills is personal sacrifice. If she has never been patient, then maybe it's too much to ask still.

If it's a family meal as opposed to a date for mom and dad, then I think the main thing is that you are interacting with her. I've noticed that my DD gets very cranky very quickly when she hasn't seen us all day and then at dinner she isn't getting as much attention as we are giving each other. Does sitting her on your lap ever help? That's one of our main solutions to a cranky toddler. Just cuddle her n your lap and learn to eat one-handed .

If you are a SAHM trying to get peace and quiet or this is a date, then definitely, get a babysitter.

My thought with a lot of parenting stuff is that kids need time to get used to things we either need to do or value doing. Within reason, of course. An overwhelming sports bar or a lingering 3 course meal is not the same thing as a diner breakfast that takes maybe 45 minutes to enjoy and then leave. Also, I only take her to family-friendly places.

My daughter went through this closer to 13 months, when she was learning to walk. She would shove all the food in her mouth as fast as possible then demand to be walked around the restaurant. We definitely didn't go out as much as we did when she was happy to play with a straw and a napkin for half an hour, but we didn't stop going out. We would do things like take turns taking her for a walk around the place or outside in nice weather. Then the other person can linger over their coffee or whatever.

Now, at 16 months, she is perfectly happy to sit through a meal for an hour or so, which is usually just enough!

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