You want to eat out with your kids, but you picture this:
- Kids whining at the table
- Siblings kicking and picking at each other
- Kids’ tantrums, outbursts, and demands
- and you shudder at the thought and drop the idea.
Wait! You need not do this. It is possible to manage the above problems with a simple and straightforward approach.
Eating-Out: The Three Strike Rules Always Wins!
For kids…the message is…
“Guess what guys, from now on…when we go out to eat…We only eat in peace. As long as things are peaceful, you can stay and keep eating.
“If you kids do not eat in peace (whining, complaining, negative, hitting, kicking, arguing, or fighting) , I will tell you, “That’s strike one. This is your only warning kids.” End of discussion.
Explain to the kids that they are “free to eat out as long as you do not complain, whine, hit, kick, yell, or show tantrums.” The first—and JUST THE FIRST—time they are found getting out-of-hand, they will get the FIRST Strike warning.
“Strike two will happen if Mom or Dad has to step in to your misbehaving a second time. When that happens, we will say, “That’s strike two. We are going to the car to take a time out.” Tell them, if they break this rule, mom or dad will take them to the car at once for a time-out. The time can be 5-10 minutes. If they remain quiet during that time, they are in. If not, then they remain in the car. It must include 5-10 minutes of parent enforced silence…not child controlled time. After this …
We return to the restaurant. You have one more strike. If you still do not eat in peace, you get THIRD Strike and you are out!
Explain to them that a third strike means you will lead them to the car again and they will remain there until the rest of the family finishes their meal. Moreover, mom and dad will not pack any food home. Make them realize that mom and dad are serious and you will have them skip the meal.
You will not have to repeat this many times to make your kids realize that you are serious about the eating out rules. They must come to appreciate that you will not concern yourself with their not getting to eat…until next mealtime…and that they will go hungry if they act out during dinner out.
Some kids are really stubborn. Kids that are more stubborn require extra trips to the car over the first week or two, before they learn.
Do not make the rules unless you are serious about them.
You have to be serious about the rules before implementing them, or else you weaken your credibility and effectiveness on your kid.
Be steady in your decision.
Be more stead in your follow-through with clear consequences in public. Don’t be afraid of taking action. Instead, cherish the possibility to teach every time it’s available to you!
Whatever be the situation or your stamina level, you have to be steady in your execution of your game plan. However, do not expect your kid to learn immediately or at the first trip of eating out. Teach your child from the consequences, and not from the threat of consequences. Even if you are too tired to take your kid to the car for breaking the rule, you have to take him or her. You must honor your word. If you skip, then your rules will have no effect.
Do Not Nag, Preach, Remind, And Correct Constantly
Avoid paying attention to your kid’s unwanted behavior, or else you will encourage it to grow. When your kid starts showing minor behavior, turn your attention elsewhere, and try to ignore. If tantrums unfold at the table, simply give minimal attention to it and take him or her to the car. Correcting or lecturing will not help.
Notice Your Kids When They Are Behaving Properly
Acknowledge your kids with a smile, a nod, or a touch when they are quiet and under control at the table. This encourages the development of healthy behavior, at home and outside.
Remember, kids learn by experiencing the consequences, not just by hearing the threat.
That’s the bottom line version: Kids learn from consequences, and you will need to plan that YOU WILL TAKE ACTION. This means a calm, plan-fully executed, and delivered with agenda to preach, demand or force the learning. It will happen, but not because of what you say…but because of what you do!
Best of luck! And do consider my specialty parenting programs, to help you with public behaviors and acting out. My suggestion is that you consider the Essential Parenting Home Study Package. It is the most comprehensive package I offer, and it is chocked full of powerful, life changing strategies that get you…and your kids…back on a healthy track for life success!