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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Keep in mind, that my son just turned 3 in April. I know there are a bunch of NT three year olds that can't sit at restaurants for any length of time.<br><br>
We usually don't take Jayce to restaurants, unless its the Taco Bell we've been going to for 7 years where everyone knows us. I don't count that as a restaurant, because we have extremely relaxed expectations there.<br><br>
However, whenever we try a "real" restaurant, my son seems to not be able to handle it. As soon as we walk in, he wants to leave. Sitting at the table is not an option. He wants to watch the front entrance door open and close (and therefor get in the way of other customers trying to come in or out). Bringing a bag of toys never works. There is no food he'll eat at a restaurant except ice cream (which keeps him in his seat for all of 3 minutes) and he usually refuses any food I bring from home.<br><br>
So, should we stop all restaurant outings? Keep trying? Expect more of him?<br><br>
Any experience you can share would be helpful <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We skipped eating out at that age. It is just too hard, too much to overwhelm him. If it started to go south, we would just take it to go. It is not fair to anyone, else the child, to expect them to cope with that environment.
 

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Mine gets antsy because the food takes too long. I could keep him entertained with crayons for 10 minutes or so. And when he's finished eating, he wants to GO NOW <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> We just avoid sit down restaurants if possible.<br>
Jessie, when was your son born? Mine just turned 3 in April too!
 

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We skipped restaurants at that age too, for the most part. Around 3 1/2-4 is when he started to get better at restaurants. Now he LOVES going to restaurants (and will request his favorite one often <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">). That's not to say he sits down the whole meal (he doesn't!!), but he does okay. We take him to places that are more relaxed (applebees, fridays, chilis, a local sports pub that sponsers Jason's soccer team- we go every thursday night during the summer after a soccer game. That's his favorite restaurant. They have games and stuff he can play while waiting). Bag of toys never worked for us either (a train or 2 sometimes does) and we still have issues with finding food he'll eat. If the place has fries then we're fine. We've found he'll eat some of the kids pizzas too. If it has a fruit of some sort (mandarin oranges or applesauce) then we're doing great.<br><br>
I would, personally, take a break from restaurants and try again in a little while <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We have been going to restaurants with my parents now for a few months. Before that we avoided restaurants for the same reasons as you. But now it has therapeutic eating value for my DS. The added distraction of my parents seems to buy us some time. We bring a bag of things including crayons and a plain pad for scribbling on. Somebody pretty much has to pay attention to him all the time. We take turns. This is where it helps to have my parents there. When he gets tired of being with us at the table, we all take turns waking him around outside the restaurant until everyone else is done. BTW, we use a soft booster seat that attaches to a regular chair. DS never wanted to sit in one of those restaurant high chairs.
 

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We have a couple of restaurant strategies that mostly work (DS is now 5, but these have worked for a couple of years now). I should say that we don't have eating issues in general so it's not a problem for us to find things he'll eat.<br><br>
One option is to go to a place where the food shows up really fast, like a diner or for dim sum. (Dim sum is awesome because the food comes around on carts, so it shows up instantly and constantly and also is entertainment.)<br><br>
The other option is to go to a restaurant with built-in entertainment nearby. So, DS loves escalators. A restuarant in a mall is good. Then one of us goes in, gets the table and orders the food for everyone. When the food shows up the designated sitter calls the parent with DS to come eat. We love our cell phones. (We also do this with a local restaurant that is near a park.) This solves the waiting for food problem. Then we've pretty much mastered asking for the check before we are done eating to minimize the waiting to pay problem.<br><br>
Of course, if what you are going for is teaching your kid to behave for the length of a restaurant meal, this isn't going to work for you. But if you are going for a relatively pleasant meal out where the other patrons aren't disturbed, these are the strategies that have worked with our kiddo.<br><br>
Catherine
 

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we found a chilli's with a huge fountain right outside the window, and we only sit where the fountain is.<br><br>
We found a Joe's crab shack WITH A PLAYGROUND on the patio.<br><br>
These are the only 2 "sit down" (non fast food) places we go.
 

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We don't.<br><br>
Period. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br>
I haven't eaten out in years.
 

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Mexican restaurants work best for us because 1) there are chips on the table immediately; 2) it is usually loud (music, people, etc); 3) there's usually a tv on and 4) a cheese quesadilla is my child's favorite thing in the world to eat. If we have to wait for a table, forget about it. It's best for one of the adults to get a table while ds and I wait in the car.<br><br>
If we go to a fast food place, I put ds in a stroller. Otherwise, we eat in the car or at home.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sidshappymamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11532952"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Mexican restaurants work best for us because 1) there are chips on the table immediately; 2) it is usually loud (music, people, etc); 3) there's usually a tv on and 4) a cheese quesadilla is my child's favorite thing in the world to eat.</div>
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This is one of the only things I miss about Texas living: tex-mex restaurants... they eat regal mexican food here in Los Angeles and it is stupid. Neither I nor my kids are interested in blanched truffle fresco sour cream souffle with delicate pico de gillo relish. I want a big ole fried mess, covered in queso. And I want chips on the table. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Buffets rock my world (waiting for food is HARD. Plus if I bring snacks for the wait, then they aren't hungry when I'm eating and they want to leave.) If it wasn't for buffet places or, rarely, mom'n'pop Chinese restaurants run by people who adore small children, I wouldn't be eating out anywhere more upscale than Chik-Fil-A. But unless there is cheese pizza or fruit, DD still won't eat anything at a non-fast-food restaurant (chicken fingers aren't enough like chicken nuggets, for example. *sigh*) DS will eat those, plus naked pasta or any kind of lo mein, and is willing to wait for them now at the advanced age of 5, which really expands the possibilities <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> (well, it does actually, but there are still places where you can't get those of course.) But being semi-able to eat at a restaurant is "important" enough to me that we put in time practicing every month or two so that when relatives visit it's not an unmitigated nightmare, in part you gotta decide whether you care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mylittlevowels</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11531212"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Mine gets antsy because the food takes too long. I could keep him entertained with crayons for 10 minutes or so. And when he's finished eating, he wants to GO NOW <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> We just avoid sit down restaurants if possible.<br>
Jessie, when was your son born? Mine just turned 3 in April too!</div>
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He turned 3 on April 28th <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Happy belated birthday to yours! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sidshappymamma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11532952"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Mexican restaurants work best for us because 1) there are chips on the table immediately; 2) it is usually loud (music, people, etc); 3) there's usually a tv on and 4) a cheese quesadilla is my child's favorite thing in the world to eat. If we have to wait for a table, forget about it. It's best for one of the adults to get a table while ds and I wait in the car.<br><br>
If we go to a fast food place, I put ds in a stroller. Otherwise, we eat in the car or at home.</div>
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That's funny you mention this, because the BEST Jayce has ever done in a restaurant was on Cinco de Mayo this year <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So, I think what I learned from this post is:<br><br>
1. I'm not alone!<br>
2. Its okay to stop eating out right now<br>
3. We can try again in 6 months to see if he handles it better<br>
4. He can always learn to sit at a restaurant later when he gets older<br><br>
Thank you all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>JessSC</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11535243"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">So, I think what I learned from this post is:<br><br>
1. I'm not alone!<br>
2. Its okay to stop eating out right now<br>
3. We can try again in 6 months to see if he handles it better<br>
4. He can always learn to sit at a restaurant later when he gets older<br><br>
Thank you all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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I think that sounds about right <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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We quit eating out for a couple years. When we reintroduced the idea, we went to smaller (i.e., quieter usually), darker (literally, lower lights) restaurants with booths. Our ASD child has sensory issues, so part of his problem was the noise and activities of the restaurant and other patrons.<br><br>
We also went at off hours (usually still, although we rarely go out), so we would go have dinner around 4:30 or 5:00 or lunch at 11:00 or 2:00. We would only take a couple small toys to give him something to hold but not overwhelm him.<br><br>
We know that we might have to leave, or that one of might end up walking the rest of the meal as Ds explores. For the most part, since around his 4th bday he's been able to go to some restaurants under the right conditions and in the right frome of mind. If he's tired or cranky-- forget about it.<br><br>
But eating at home for several years didn't hurt us. We did do pick-up occasionally to let someone else do the cooking.
 

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i've used this analogy before and it assumes that you don't like golf.<br><br>
i would never in a million years say "we're going to play golf now. behave yourself. this is fun" eating out is a RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY. it's so commonly enjoyed that it seems essential but i once had an entire relationship with a man that did not involve restaurants. i don't see the point of forcing someone to engage in recreational activities they don't enjoy. kind of sucks all the fun out of having fun. isn't that the only reason to go out to eat? i would never say "hey, you know what would be fun honey? lets go out and do something we both hate."<br><br>
when i finally came to the above realization we stopped going out to eat with the kiddo. when he began to get a little older and have an easier time with slightly crowded places we tried every couple months just to see how he liked it. now that he's almost 5 he enjoys going out to a casual place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
That was a great analogy and I really dislike golf! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ShaggyDaddy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11533435"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is one of the only things I miss about Texas living: tex-mex restaurants... they eat regal mexican food here in Los Angeles and it is stupid. Neither I nor my kids are interested in blanched truffle fresco sour cream souffle with delicate pico de gillo relish. I want a big ole fried mess, covered in queso. And I want chips on the table. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"></div>
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You can at least get a margarita, can't you?!?!?!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 
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