Thursday, January 11, 2007

A Quick Tip

As a quick follow-up to "Restaurant Manners" I want to pass along our tip for managing public behavior. We set up a "Restaurant Bag" with coloring/activity pages, learning activities and washable writing implements. This bag is also useful for Dr.'s visits and the like. Rotate the content of the bag so it's always a surprise for your child. Keep the bag in the car at all times... you never know when the urge for dinner out will hit.
Remember it is not the establishment's job to provide entertainment for our children. That's our job, we're the parents. While many do provide crayons and coloring sheets, these can just supplement your "bag." Temper tantrums, by adults or children, should not be thrown because a restaurant ran out of crayons, I've witnessed this way too often. Another benefit to setting up this activity bag is that you get to participate with your child while you're waiting. Flash cards are fun, some compact travel games are also fun and pass the time quickly.
Finally, Long Island Dad does not support the use of portable DVD players to entertain children in public. There's a time and a place for everything. I have no problem with them in my minivan, as I use it often. But, while dining with the family, a child should be fully engaged in the conversation and activity at hand. This is how they learn proper behavior. I've seen, all too often, when the DVD ends, a child screaming for more... while the "adult" conversation continues. Just my opinion. Thanks. Any thoughts, folks?

P.S. This concept works for us church goers too. Just replace the activities with those of a religious nature, based on your faith. It's not sacrilegious if a two year old doesn't listen to everything during a service, God knows they don't have a long attention span... He made them. I am an advocate for taking your child to service, rather them dropping them in the nursery, as long as your church supports this. Usually, it will, when they see how respectful and well behaved your child is. One of our biggest compliments is when people turn around and say, "I didn't even know you had the children with you."


Oh, The Joys said...

That is a GREAT idea!

Angel said...

A great tip long island dad.

How do you feel about gameboys. My son plays his sometimes while waiting for the meal but knows when the food comes he hands it over and we all talk to each other while we eat. At home there is no TV during dinner except on special nights when we rent a movie and order pizza and eat in the family room. He loves those treats.

Working Gal said...

I could not agree with you more about restaurant behavior. My husband and I met waiting tables in college, and he works in that capacity a couple of nights a week. We demand good behavior, and I only had to take Brandon out of the restaurant (kicking and screaming) once when he was 3, and now he knows I'll do it!

PLEASE TIP YOUR SERVERS!!! THEY MAKE $2.13 per hour!!!!!!!!! They aren't all college kids earning beer money. My husband's tips buy our groceries. Besides, you just spent $5 for a margarita - would it kill you to toss a couple of extra bucks to the poor guy who had to schlep it to you?

Long Island Dad said...

You tell 'em WG. While we no longer survive on tips, there are a lot of those who do. My wife has teachers working for her who have to supplement their income by serving. These are the same people teaching are kids... even some of the college students NEED to serve.

Mike said...

God knows they don't have a long attention span... He made them.

He knows this about me too, right?

MyBestInvest said...

Great tips. We've employed the restaurant bag for a while, though I think yours is better equipped than ours.

We took the kids on a plane trip last year, and we must have had a dozen ziplocs packed for Daughter. She would get tired of the book bag, so we'd open up the marker bag, then the puzzle bag, etc.

It worked very well. Great post.

Long Island Dad said...

Thanks folks!

Mike - He does know that about you too, that's why He invented iPods.