Greetings! In this week’s Five for Fridays, I will highlight a few interesting videos and articles related to toddlers and restaurant manners. I started the week with 7 ways to handle bad manners when eating out with kids, so this seems like an appropriate way to reinforce the message! Let me know what you think and share your favorite tips.

How dinosaurs eat their food

This video is sure to catch the attention of your little one because of the dinosaurs who show really bad table manners like burping,  belching, making loud and rude noises, throwing food etc. In a funny way, it can teach your child what not to do!

Needs first, manners second

A very interesting perspective is offered by Dionna in her article Mind Your Manners, where she suggests that we pay attention to the child’s underlying need behind the behavior that shows bad manners. It may be a physical reason such as hunger, fatigue or sleepiness. Or it may be psychological reason such as frustration, jealousy, anger or need for attention. Adults have these needs too – and if you think about it – they too do not show good manners and friendly behavior if they are feeling that way. In those moments, it is not helpful to lecture about good manners with a don’t do that, or a do this. Rather, you have to pay attention to the underlying need and find a way to fix it before a meltdown!

Toddlers and mealtime manners

Excellent tips on mealtime manners from the Better Health Channel of the Victorian Department of Health from Australia! A range of mealtime topics such as sitting down to eat, making a mess, wasting food, table manners and reward systems are covered and several practical suggestions are provided under each. I really liked their perspective on why getting angry or worrying whether your child has had enough to eat is not useful. Kids are very perceptive and usually reflect back your anger and anxiety through unruly behavior. Keeping your emotions in check is the key. Have realistic expectations which are appropriate for age and development level. Keep your cool, stay firm and be consistent. And by the way, persuading children to clean up their plate because there are hungry children in the world does not work!

Parents speak out on teaching children to behave at restaurants

I liked this discussion about teaching restaurant manners to children because of a range of opinions and tips from parents based on real life experience. Consensus opinions seem to be training at home, family meals, early exposure to restaurants, and being ready to leave when things get out of hand. One parent advises good luck, patience and understanding, while another suggests involving them in food selection and engaging in a conversation. Another interesting suggestion is to go out in a group with other friends and their kids. Lots of interesting comments here!

Can you teach my alligator manners?

This is a funny series on Playhouse Disney which features a young boy named Mikey and his alligator pal Al, who is fun and cute but has no manners at all! The music is catchy and animation fast paced to capture the short attention of young kids. The great thing about it is that it asks the kids to recognize when Al is being polite and when he is not by picking one of the two color-coded squares which show these behaviors. Very good reinforcement indeed!

In this particular clip about restaurant manners, kids learn about eating with a fork and not their fingers, eat without making faces or noises, and not burp!

The alligator series is one of our favorites; have you seen it?

Enjoy and let me know what is on your mind.

©2010 Littlestomaks.com

4 comments

  1. Cool! My kids are watching the dinosaur clip as soon as they get up in the morning – no wait, maybe AFTER breakfast…

    I’ve joked with family about how often I take my kids for ‘cafe training’ – i.e. Mum wants to go get a soy latte. Now that they’re 2 and 3 though all that familiarisation is paying off. They’re great to take out. As long as I’m fair, they are too (most times.) That means, don’t push it for too long, make sure they also have something nice to eat and drink, have something with me to amuse them or visit a kid-friendly place that has at least a few toys in a box in a corner. One of our favourite cafes has a kids corner decorated with the kids colouring in.

  2. Cool! My kids are watching the dinosaur clip as soon as they get up in the morning – no wait, maybe AFTER breakfast…

    I’ve joked with family about how often I take my kids for ‘cafe training’ – i.e. Mum wants to go get a soy latte. Now that they’re 2 and 3 though all that familiarisation is paying off. They’re great to take out. As long as I’m fair, they are too (most times.) That means, don’t push it for too long, make sure they also have something nice to eat and drink, have something with me to amuse them or visit a kid-friendly place that has at least a few toys in a box in a corner. One of our favourite cafes has a kids corner decorated with the kids colouring in.

  3. Thank you so much for mentioning me!

    I must admit, I don’t enjoy eating out much anymore. My toddler is – understandably – not at all interested in sitting down for an hour long meal. His developmental level just isn’t there yet. Unfortunately, we have two sets of grandparents who LOVE to take us out for dinner occasionally. They haven’t realized how little of a treat it is for me 😉

    We definitely “teach” by example in our house, although there are more traditional teaching moments (“honey, please use a softer voice, people are trying to talk and they can’t hear each other if you scream”). I’ll be interested to read some of the other articles you linked to for their take on toddler manners!

  4. Thank you so much for mentioning me!

    I must admit, I don’t enjoy eating out much anymore. My toddler is – understandably – not at all interested in sitting down for an hour long meal. His developmental level just isn’t there yet. Unfortunately, we have two sets of grandparents who LOVE to take us out for dinner occasionally. They haven’t realized how little of a treat it is for me 😉

    We definitely “teach” by example in our house, although there are more traditional teaching moments (“honey, please use a softer voice, people are trying to talk and they can’t hear each other if you scream”). I’ll be interested to read some of the other articles you linked to for their take on toddler manners!

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