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My daughter just turned two last week. We used to be able to eat together, and she would hang out in her high chair or booster seat but now she wants to GO GO GO! It hasn't been much of an issue, since I usually feed her a separate meal when we get home from work/daycare and then my husband and I eat something together later, after she goes to bed. We just went on a vacation for 7 days with my in-laws (Disneyworld/Cruise) which involved eating dinner in a restaurant every night and I realized that she's pretty out of control. She can sit in her seat for maybe five minutes and then it's GO GO GO! My husband and I were rarely at the table together, as someone was always on toddler patrol.<br><br>
I know this is all probably normal for her age, but can anyone share strategies or tips on how you teach a child to sit in their chair (and eat) at meal time? Will it change once she reaches a certain age?
 

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Sorry, can not help you there very much, our toddler is 25 months old and luckily still eating well behaved at the table, in restaurants and elsewhere he seems to be better behaved than at home, as there are so many different things to see. That keeps ds pretty busy normally, or paper and some crayons, on which we also draw sometimes if he gets really bored. We invent stick man and draw funny shapes.<br><br>
One thing might be of an issue, ds is used to eating all his meals at the table and almost all of them toghether with the whole family,....besides breakfast and sometimes lunch during the week when hubby is working at that time, but I am always at the table with him.
 

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Make sure they can eat their meal in less than 10 minutes.
 

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When we are out at restaurants we bring fun stuff like crayons and paper, I have a little bit of playdough in the diaper bag, pens...I can usually find something to hold her attention. I do agree though, it is much better when the food is fast. I know I read somewhere to have a child's meal brought out early, like an appetizer. We have not done this, but maybe it would help? Dd eats all her meals at the table with one or both of us with her, she stays in her highchair seat until we are all done....we didn't plan that, it's just what we do....we try to make meals fun too I guess, we all joke and laugh and make funny faces at eachother which helps her want to hang out.
 

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I wish I had a good suggestion, but I don't. (I have my own ill-mannered 2 year old.)<br><br>
I just popped in to say thank you, because the title of this thread made me laugh for the first time all day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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<a href="http://www.magicalchildhood.com/index2.htm" target="_blank">Here are suggestions for eating out with a toddler.</a>
 

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We have a "you cannot walk around in a restaraunt" rule. My daughter rarely sits in a high chair and she can go from her chair to my lap to someone elses lap and that's fine with me, but there is no walking around. Of course we make an effort to be fast, nursing can help if you have to tell them "sorry walking around isn't allowed," toys and playdough especially are a great help. I usually order something for my daughter to nibble on the second I sit down - steamed broccoli is my go to selection - that way she is somewhat entertained by the food.<br><br>
I do think this depends partly on the child but a lot of it comes from the routine of doing it and knowing what is expected of them. A kid who eats out once a year is going to have a much harder time then a kid who eats out 3 times a week.<br><br>
IMO if it's important to you, you can set a firm limit without being mean or unreasonable about it.<br><br>
We did have a rough time around 18 months because my in laws had started letting her get down and supervising her in a restaraunt and we didn't really realize it until we went out to dinner alone and she thought she could wander all around and go look at everything.
 

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I might get flamed for saying this, but I don't think it's all that reasonable to expect a 2 year old to sit still at a restaurant for an entire meal. My wonderful DS is a monkey. He likes to run around and see things and jump and talk to people... so we avoid restaurants that are sit-down types. We go to family oriented or fast food and that is it. I don't expect him to be still and I don't want to ruin other patrons time (since I know I find time out to be precious myself!) So anyhow, in short I don't have suggestions. I do understand your frustration, but I think it is just a phase, and these toddler years go by so fast!
 

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Ds has been easting fingerfood since the beginning of his solid food endeavors so I've never had to 'help' him and can eat while he eats.<br>
At restaurants we go for a lot of walks while we wait for the food to come...we go outside and look at the flowers, we run around the patio (if we can)<br>
We haven't tried crayons yet, but we will.<br>
He loves chewing on straws, he loves eating puffed kamut and will eat that for quite awhile.<br>
I just don't expect him to sit longer then 10 minutes so I try to make that 10 minutes when the food arrives so I can eat and he can be at the table. Otherwise if he's at the table sitting too long he will want to get up when I want to eat.<br><br>
Dawn
 

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We do not do restraurants that don't have a smorg. Its just not worth it. He might be allowed to get down from the table if I am just finishing my meal.<br>
Its too hard and not worth the fight IMO.
 

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We try to get a booth so our toddler isn't "trapped" in a chair. We often call ahead and pre-order our food so the wait is less. We don't have the children sit at the table until the food comes, or we have lots of activities for them to do. We tell stories to amuse them. We pretty much assume that we will need to focus on them and not adult conversation. We only go to restaurants that are friendly to our children. One of them is a brewpub, surprisingly. Or, if we don't feel like cooking, but can't bear to manage our way through a restaurant, we get take out! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Good luck. It does get easier. <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 #12
Thanks for the responses...keep 'em coming!<br><br><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;">IMO if it's important to you, you can set a firm limit without being mean or unreasonable about it.</td>
</tr></table></div>
I like the idea of bringing playdoh or something special. Maybe this is more of a gentle discipline questions? How to set the limit without being a bully. Or set up the meal so that she wants to stay in her seat, with us.<br><br>
My friends children are able to sit through meals, but she yells constantly, and I don't want to be like that.<br><br>
Generally, if we go out it's to a small, casual restaurant, and it doesn't matter if she's up and about it really doesn't matter. She's good with manners in general, she says please, thank you, and excuse me unprompted. She's also getting more reasonable so maybe sometime soon she'll understand the concept of sitting in your seat at a restaurant.
 

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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>madskye</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7984638"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
I like the idea of bringing playdoh or something special. Maybe this is more of a gentle discipline questions? How to set the limit without being a bully. Or set up the meal so that she wants to stay in her seat, with us.<br></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
I totally agree with you. I have a friend who eats out maybe three times a week and at least one weekend night. Her daughter is perfectly content and she is the MOST GD mom I know (I learn a lot from her). They pay a lot of attention to their daughter when they are out to eat but she stays in her high chair (or maybe nurses) - no walking around. That's because if she was allowed a little room to manuever it would get out of control. On the other hand my daughter does much better in a booth where she can stand or sit, basically have a little more freedom then a high chair and that causes her to be content not to escalate the need to move. In the cases of <i>our</i> daughters it is very reasonable to expect them to sit through a meal, but we know what works and honestly it just isn't very hard work with them. Partly that is because we have been setting the same expectation for a long time and partly we are just plain lucky.<br><br>
AND I always think that somewhere down the road it could change. The simple expectation of appropriate (to me) behavior will not be enough to ensure such behavior, but such is life with an active, opinionated kiddo.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/truedat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Truedat"><br>
We do not have to force our son to sit still during meal times nor do we yell at him, he just does not know mealtimes to be any different and is pretty happy when going out, as previously mentioned he behaves better in a restaurant than at home,...I guess he is a ham and likes it when everybody at the restaurant says how good he behaves ;-)
 

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We LOVE to go out to eat and that did not change when we had kids. Ds (our first) was in a restaurant w/ us at 5 days old!<br><br>
Here's our routine now:<br><br>
1) Let the kids run around wild outside while we wait for a table (we usually call ahead but there will still be a 5-10 min. wait at least).<br><br>
2) When we sit down, we ask for a high chair but dd does NOT go into it until our food arrives. I usually nurse her and then she sits on my lap/dh's lap and plays until the food arrives. Ds is almost 4 and he brings a backpack of toys and books and is usually entertained. Dd loves to play with anything that's his, so that's how we entertain her when she's not nursing.<br><br>
3) We order our food to arrive at the same time. If the kids' food arrived first, they'd be done and have little to do while we finished ours.<br><br>
3) When dd is done eating, she goes into the lap of whoever is finished eating, or she nurses again, or she stays in her highchair to play/color if she's content.<br><br>
4) One of us usually takes the kids back outside while the other waits for the check and pays.<br><br>
Things usually go pretty smoothly but the other night we went out w/ friends we hadn't seen in a while and both kids had no manners<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Oh well, we'll try again next time!
 
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