For those who take their kids to McDonalds... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#2 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:42 PM
 
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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.

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#3 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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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.
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#4 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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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.

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#5 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:45 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:50 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:53 PM
 
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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.

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#9 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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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.

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#10 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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Quote:
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.

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#11 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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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.
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#12 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:58 PM
 
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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.
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#13 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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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.

 
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#14 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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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.

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#15 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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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.

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#16 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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We don't 'save' toys for after eating. I understand why some parents do that, but we don't.

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#17 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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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.

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#18 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:19 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:26 PM
 
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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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#21 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
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.
This! When we go, they might eat 1/2 their food, but they expend more then 1/;2 the calories! They can have the toy right away...but I don't like them taking it into the play land

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#22 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:30 PM
 
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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.
Bolding mine

Wowza. $6 for a Happy Meal? That is pricey! I think ours run around $2.99-3.50.
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#23 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:32 PM
 
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DD has to start eating before she gets the toy. Normally she'll eat some, then get bored, we'll give her the toy which she plays with for awhile, then we direct her back to eating.

If we gave her the toy first she wouldn't eat anything. We normally only get fast food when we're starving and about to eat each other. And she has trouble remembering that she's hungry is there's any kind of distraction. So she has to eat a bit. Once that starts to hit her system she's happy to keep eating.
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#24 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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Well, usually the idea of a fast food place for me is for the eating to get done, well, fast. With three kids, if they're all playing with their toys, there's very little eating getting done - there's more fighting (over who got what toy or who made someone else's toy fall in the ranch dressing or the cars getting driven off the table so they have to be retreived, etc) and less eating. If they were satisfied to toss what wasn't eaten in the time we have, I wouldn't care. But usually, it ends up meaning meltdowns and cried of how they're starving when I try to end the meal. So, if we're eating at the fast food place, they generally don't get the toys until they are done or nearing done with their meals. If we grab on the way home, they get the toys on the ride home to distract them from the food I won't let them eat in the car.
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#25 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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Bolding mine

Wowza. $6 for a Happy Meal? That is pricey! I think ours run around $2.99-3.50.
Same here. I can get a burger, fries, small pop cheaper than buying the happy meal so that is what I usually do.

 
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#26 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:43 PM
 
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My kids always eat their food before getting the toy. They are not allowed it otherwise they don't eat their food. They do not throw fits over not getting the toy either though. Also, they don't usually get a happy meal unless we're travelling & the toy is for in the car. If we go just because they share regular meals so no toy.
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#27 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:45 PM
 
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we have the toys 'watch' us eat.. my DD is 3.5 and does really well with thsi, we get the food out, then sometimes the toy waits in the box and sometimes it gets out to watch .. she has never once thrown a fit about it.. she use to ask to play with it first and i told her she had to eat first, no big deal.. i don't make her finish her food or anything, just eat til she is done.. if i think that she is not eating because she wants to say she is done so she can play, i will let her play for a few mins then go back to eating.. we're flexible really, but the general policy is toy comes after food..

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#28 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:47 PM
 
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What's that country song that played a year or so ago? The one that had the quote ... "Riding down the road, just my boy and me, happy meal in his booster seat, knowing that he coudn't have his toy till the nuggets were gone" -

I could care less if ds eats his McDonalds happy meal. The best part of that meal is the apples, and heck, those are even peeled. As far as I'm concerned he can play and eat something later at home if he gets hungry. Of course, for some odd reason ds thinks McDonalds nuggets are like golden treasure and eats them faster than any other food I've ever seen.

So he gets the whole bag, I don't care if he eats any of it or not. But I really don't care what other people do - and to answer the OP, yep, I think it's pretty common to see parents require their kids to eat before getting the toy.

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#29 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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We always hold the toy until the kids are done eating. Not, mind you, until they have eaten every single bite of food or anything like that, but until they are ready to throw away anything that remains. The toy is not a bribe to keep them eating. When we've let them have the toys earlier it ends up taking FOREVER to eat, and also the kids don't pay enough attention to where their ketchup is in relationship to their toy. It's been our policy for awhile that we eat and then play. If I let them play while eating, I would inevitably end up cleaning things up while DS screeched "I'm still EATING!" even though he was obviously playing, not eating. Same with the playgrounds in fast food places. Eat all you're going to eat first, then go play. Otherwise, the remaining food would be a stalling technique to keep us in the restaurant for endless amounts of time.
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#30 of 142 Old 09-15-2009, 06:50 PM
 
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My dd would also eat, and play with the toy at the same time. But, maybe if I had a child who only wanted the toy, and not the lunch, I might.... but, I doubt, I'd do that. It's not a hill I want to die on. Eat or don't eat.. I don't really mind. It just means more fries for me!

What I WILL do, is "no seconds on drinks, til you eat some of the food".
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