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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd is very spirited but responds well to time-out. She's normally very good in public. She'll be 3 in December. So today we went to a casual Indian restaurant and she started jumping on the seat and would not stop despite me asking. Then she started shouting and screaming obnoxious noises. She knew she was getting a rise out of me and when I asked her to stop she liked at me like "yeah make me" and kept doing it. If I shared part of my mango lassi with her, she demanded to hold it and said, "NO it's MY drink! You can't have it!" She grabbed part of dh's meal even though she had her own meal and said, "Give it to me!" I mean, it was embarassing. We don't talk like this at home to her. She was acting like a snot. She's acted pretty good at restaurants in the past and is a very sweet little girl (albeit quite assertive).

I'm a very reasonable person and don't expect her sit prim and proper in her seat. I don't mind her being wiggly and playing with sugar packets or standing up near our seat as long as she's not running around. But jumping and screaming is not acceptable and she knows it. I think she picked up on the fact that I couldn't put her in time-out very well at a restaurant and she could do what the heck she wanted.

What would you have done? We couldn't just pack up and leave like I felt like doing since we'd just gotten our food. I was going to take her out to the car for a time-out but dh didn't want to be left there by himself.

Thanks!
Darshani
 

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My dd sounds very similar....spirited, usually well-behaved in restaurants, 3 in Feb....and we have had similar experiences. I always give her lots of attention in restaurants, and that usually gets us happily through the meal, but sometimes she can get a bit obnoxious. I will first try to get her engaged in a game/activity/conversation/etc, but if she is clearly too excited or upset, I just scoop her up for a walk outside. Sort of a time-out, but more of a break--nothing punitive about it. She will usually get upset and *want to go back in, and then we talk about indoor voices, sitting on chairs, etc and give it another shot.

If dd is still unable to behave "acceptably" (considering the other patrons) after taking a break, then I would have the food wrapped up and go home. If she is usually cooperative in restaurants, I would chalk it up to a bad day and let it go.

One last thing: if dh didn't want to be left there by himself, maybe he could take her outside for a break? Then you could enjoy a few moments of peace
 

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My ds normally behaves better than most grown ups in resturants but the other day he pulled a doozy on us. It wasn't his fault really, the service was horribly slow, he was tired and had spent 3 1/2 hours with us buying a car. Poor thing. What almost always works is to go to the bathroom, wash his hands and face, maybe talk a little. Anything to take his mind off the fact that he is not happy. It almost always works.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by USAmma

What would you have done? We couldn't just pack up and leave like I felt like doing since we'd just gotten our food. I was going to take her out to the car for a time-out but dh didn't want to be left there by himself.

Hi Darshani,
I am a pretty mellow sort of mom, but I do draw the line at naughty restaurant behavior because it affects the enjoyment of other diners who are trying to eat in peace. A little noise is okay, but behavior like you described (and believe me, my kids have had their moments
: ) and I tell my husband "have them box it up" and either I take our child (the one who is doing the naughties) or my husband does--but it is a HASTY retreat to the car where they can scream all they want. My husband will join us with the other kids and the food in containers and we go home. Usually I will say something like this to the offending child "It is too bad that you could not show your good restaurant manners tonight and we have to all go home to eat" and I will give a little
face.

After that I will let it go--but the next time we go out to dinner I will pre-warn the child that exactly the same thing will happen again (won't get to dine in the restaurant) if they misbehave again. I find that this *warning* works very well for the next visit to the restaurant.

Hang in there--it sounds like she is doing very well for her age. After 3 kids we have beat a hasty retreat from LOTS of restaurants and now we seem to be finally growing out of that phase.

Hugs,
Lisa
 

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That's why we've only had take out the last several months.

The problem is that *I* can't handle it when he starts acting up which he always does. It really puts me on edge and my ds is quite spirited too.

Easier for me to eat take away at home and let ds be his usual wild self.
 

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we dont go out a whole lot.. mosly cause were broke..lol
but DD is usually pretty well behaved.. a few months ago she acted up similiar to your DD& I took her to the bathroom..I told her firmly she could not act that way.. I was unhappy with the way she was acting & she needed to stop..

we went back & she behaved all of about 5 mins & DH suggested we leave... so I got her & DS & went to the car while he got our stuff boxed & paid for
 

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I would have taken her outside. Too bad for your DH but I really don't think his desire to "not be left alone" comes before disciplining your child. Like someone else said, maybe he could take her outside, but either way I would have gotten my child out of the situation ASAP.
 

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My very lovely spirited daughter has had some rather unlovely moments while dining out. For various reasons we eat out frequently and so have a huge gameplan.

We first tried the take a break and walk routine however my daughter began to see this as an opportunity to talk a walk whenever which led to the pattern of wild behavior and then taking a walk every 5 minutes. I understand if she has been cooped up all day but I make sure she gets active time prior to entering the restaurant, even if this means a walk/run around the edge of the parking lot, yes supervised holding hands etc.
We do take walks if things are going slowly.

I do not expect her to sit still and be silent. Frankly, I allow for much more noisy and active behavior then I ever imagined I would but I am also trying to show her how to get enjoyment from discussion and eating out rather then jumping around like a crazed monkey. So jumping, running, leaving ones' chair unless going somewhere specific and screaming (unless basketball is on a tv somewhere in the restaurant) is not expected behaviour. Granted all of these things do happen on occasion.

I bring some items to keep her occupied which helps. However if her behavior is incompatible to eating out we leave. (there is prior discussion about how one must act in a restaurant etc and how we must respect other patrons by acting appropriately etc) This means we leave midmeal and one gets the food boxed and pays while the other leaves the restaurant with my daughter. We do not punish, threaten, etc but we also make a point of not doing something immediately for pure pleasure ie we go directly to the car instead of going to the bookstore first. I have eaten dinner in the car on several occasions but it is getting better and my daughter is enjoying eating out most of the time. We also have meals where she gets to pick any restaurant she wants and it is her special treat. We also try to give her choices as to where to go.

sorry so long

lula
 

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We had a night like this last week too. We went out for a birthday dinner with the ILs and spirited dd had missed her nap. It was a recipe for disaster. The ILs were late so we had to wait to order and when they arrived dd wanted to climb out of her chair and go visiting. I let her lap hop a little before the food arrived, but she was a fidigity mess and didn't eat well and so on. She ended up taking walks with her uncle in a vacant section of the restaurant (it was raining outside) so I could finish my meal. What really topped off my embarrassment was that FIL said, "She never does this when we take her out."
: I feebly made excuses about her not having had a nap and eating late and how she rarely does it with us either, but the excitement was too much, yada, yada, yada. We tried the bathroom trick and everything. All that to say, I can totally sympathize. Usually it's about timing, but there are times when you just know it's going to be rough and you still have to make it work. In those times, you have to use all your resources. I would have asked your dh to take her to the restroom or outside if he didn't want to sit alone. Sometimes it's more effective for dh to talk to dd than for me to do it. I think she thinks I'm always on her case and if he says something it must be serious. He often gets a more immediate response (she'll cry at the slightest correction from him and ignore me completely.)

Something else that often helps is talking about expected behavior before you get to the restaurant. Then a gentle reminder here and there usually suffices. We've even been known to resort to bribes in a sticky situation although I don't recommend it as a habitual method.

We're in this together. If you need a shoulder I've got a spare anytime you want.
 

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This might sound really really silly but.... my mom sent my little sister to "resteraunt school"

Well, it was in our playroom with our play dishes (I got to be the waiter) but my mom would sit down with my sister and teach her the appropriate way to behave in a resteraunt (she was about 3 at the time). I'm not sure how many "classes"it took though.

I do remember going to smaller resteraunts for "practice". Plus if the next time we went out she misbehaved...we went back to resteraunt school.

To my sister it was a blast (mom was playing with her) and she seemed to pick it up pretty quick.

Just an idea...I may use it with my son as he gets older....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You all are so awesome! Thanks so much for the support. I thought our timing was pretty good. We choose to go at around 3 PM when most of the lunch crowd would be gone, and she had napped. She had just had 12 hour stomach flu a couple days earlier and we totally let her do whatever she wanted within reason so maybe she just needed a discipline "tune up." But I'm glad my instict to take her out was on track. We did forget the pep talk about behavior before going in. And I guess we'll just tell the waiter next time to be prepared for us to possibly have to leave early if she acts up.

I have never been mad *at* my dd before. I've been mad about her behavior but not at her personally. Yesterday was just really bad. I'm 20 weeks pg and had a craving for Indian food and just wanted to a nice familiy meal. Sigh. Maybe in about 10 years. At least most places do carryout. That sambar was heavenly-- I'm going to have dh bring some home this week sometime.

BTW that restaurant school idea is great! Dd's into pretend play, we'll have to try it out. Dh and I can take turns being the waiter.

Darshani
 

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Whenever my dd has acted in a similar way in the past, either dh and I go outside with her, or walk around the restaurant. We then spaced our restaurant outings....keeping them at a minimum. Now we go out every Friday and sometimes a weekend morning and dd loves it and usually is pretty well behaved. As long as we go places where the food comes fairly quickly....otherwise dh will walk around outside with her until food comes. We also time our restaurant outings for when we know its the least busy, eating dinner at 5pm instead of during a rush time.

I think the school idea is great too!!
 

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We eat out a couple times/week and the kids are usually fine. My 2 yo has had a couple of bad days, though, and I've carried him out to the car, put him in his carseat and then sat in the front and ignored him for a couple of minutes. Then, we talk about his behavior, etc. I agree that if you take them outside for a walk, etc., it can be a reward.
We do an alphabet program (zoophonics) and as soon as he looks like he may be getting antsy, I review all of his letters w/him. He
this as each letter is an animal and you have to act it out and say the sounds. So, I'd say, catch them before they misbehave and redirect that energy.

Good luck--at 20 weeks, you deserve a relaxing meal
 
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