Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Parent to Parent: Eating Out
Anybody with children knows going out for dinner has the potential for disaster. But if you come prepared, taking the famiy to a restauarant doesn't have to ruin the evening. In tonight's Parent to Parent, our new parenting expert Dr. Debbie Glasser shows us how everybody can enjoy eating out.
WSVN--It's a small sign that started a major debate.
Recently, a Chicago restaurant owner posted this sign -- "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices".
Dan McCauley: "We thought it was just a sweet, kind of reminder for people to be considerate of others around them."
But for many people this sweet reminder wasn't so family friendly, even if they can't always control the kids.
Dan McCauley: "Enough, stop!"
Going out to eat doesn't always go as planned for the Berman family.
Paul Berman: "We've had to leave restaurants and take the food to go before because they weren't behaving the way they should behave."
"We really try to enforce when we're out, you really need to stay seated at the table."
But 7's new parenting expert Dr. Debbie glasser knows that's not always as easy as it sounds.
Dr. Debbie - who's married with three kids of her own - says you have to set the rules so that mealtime doesn't become playtime.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "When you take you kids out from time to time, it teaches them how to be around other people. It exposes them to new experiences."
She suggests parents talk to their children about the restaurant and make your expectations clear.
This will let your child know how the meal should go.
Next, think about the timing.
Try going when the restaurant isn't packed.
And only go when your kids are well rested.
Dinner might be too late for some children.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "Young kids are not designed to sit still for long periods of time. They're still learning self control, their bodies are still growing, they need to stretch."
That's also why parents should choose family friendly restaurants where it's okay to walk around.
Bring crayons and a book, and snacks in case you have to wait.
Then when your waiter comes to the table, order quickly.
Keep the meal short.
And most of all, be patient.
Lynn Martinez: "What I hear you saying is that really parents need to change their focus when they go to a restaurant in addition to teaching their children how to behave?"
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "It's a little bit of both."
And if things still aren't going well, don't be afraid to ask for a to go container and try again another day.
Paul berman: "They like eating out. They like it for the experience I guess, for the adventure."
Lynn Martinez: "Dr. Debbie says if you have to leave the restaurant that's a lesson in itself. If you want to talk about it, focus on what went right not wrong during the meal."
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. DEBBIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
DR. DEBBIE GLASSER'S WEBSITE: