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While your children are your pride and joy, other people may appreciate them as much as you do, especially in a restaurant.  People who don’t have kids of their own or who have gone to the trouble and expense of finding a sitter prefer not to deal with other people’s children. 

You know what I mean.  You have all seen parents who let their children run from table to table or scream, cry, and disrupt the dining experience of every patron in the restaurant.  It’s not pretty.  

You would never let your children behave like that way, but children do get bored, tired, impatient, and otherwise disruptive sometimes.  It’s really not their fault, or yours, and you do what you can to keep things under control.  Still, let’s face it, kids just aren’t going to be perfect in restaurants. 

The good news is these tips will help you keep your children calm and make the experience more enjoyable for all involved:

-Bring something along to keep your child busy.  Not every restaurant offers coloring books and crayons, but there is no reason you can’t bring a small activity book and pack of crayons with you.  For younger children, a quiet toy or a favorite book will work. 

-Ask the waitperson to bring a snack.  If you don’t want to order an appetizer, ask for some crackers or something for your child to nibble on if the food is going to take a long time or if your child is particularly hungry.  The waitperson won’t mind if it means keeping the peace.

-Include your child.  Many times, adults get involved in their own conversations and unintentionally leave children out.  When they don’t feel included, children are more likely to act out.  From time to time, ask your child a question, or with a smaller child, give him or her your full attention for a few minutes, before going on to the next adult topic.