Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Family goes out to dinner and it turns into a big commotion

​Question:

Every time our family goes out to dinner it turns into a big commotion. The kids always fight over where each one is going to sit, then they don't stay seated. What can I do? 

Answer:

Try preventive teaching. This technique involves practicing a situation before it actually occurs. You can practice with your children at your own dining room table.

First, ​tell your children exactly how you want them to behave when being seated at a restaurant. For example, tell your children to take the first unoccupied chair they find at the table. Teach them how to ask permission if they want to leave their seat. Give your children clear messages about how they need to behave, and include reasons.

The next time you go out to dinner, you should praise your children the moment they behave as you expect them to. If your children misbehave, teach them an alternative positive behavior. And finally, always follow through with a consequence if they disregard your rules or expectations. Sometimes, parents fall into the trap of threatening to use consequences, but never really do.