Saturday, October 28, 2006

Day 250 - Get in the Habit - Eating Out at a Restaurant

Today's first time parenting tip - Use a daily family meal to prepare your child for a trip to a public restaurant

Part 3 of the Good Habit series - Good behavior at a restaurant

We've all seen the hapless (or oblivious) parents at a restaurant. Their kids are running amok, throwing food, tearing around the place, etc.

Kind of makes you wonder what meal time at home is like.

Having a daily family meal isn't just good for bonding and spending time together. It also helps teach social skills for when you head out of the house. If your child doesn't ever sit at the table with grown-ups or stay still for an hour or so at home, what makes you think they will outside the house?

While your baby is young, make a point to all sit together at the table and eat. Give him some finger foods or a bottle he can feed himself with while you eat, and then if he needs to be spoonfed, do that before or after you're done. Talk to him and make him part of the family conversation.

As he gets older, you can begin to add time at the end of the meal to talk or enjoy each other's company. Try to increase this time little by little as patience and age dictates.

That way, when you all go out, he'll know what's expected and will have practiced it in the safe (not embarassing) comfort of your own home.

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