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How to Go Out With the Child?

Parents love nothing more than being able to go out in public with their child, showing him or her off to family, friends, and even strangers.  However, a sense of fear goes along with this, knowing the child could cry because of not getting his way, do something embarrassing, get sick and make a huge mess, or throw a full temper tantrum.  For that reason, we often hear the question pertaining to how to go out with the child, specifically when it comes to restaurants.

Although it might seem like a nice idea to leave the child home with the other parent or grandparent, the truth is that children need to be socialized from an early age.  The sooner and more often you can get your child into various public situations, the quicker he or she is going to learn the right way to behave.  Therefore, it is important to learn how to go out with the child so you can enjoy your time, along with that of the child’s.

• Whenever possible, call ahead to the restaurant, friend’s house, or other location to make sure it is okay to bring the child.  For instance, if your friend were having several people over for dinner and you have been told that bringing your child is fine, you could reassure the friend that if at any point the child acts up, you will leave.  However, it is also important that for children old enough to understand, they too need to be told that any bad behavior will result in leaving.

• Preparing your child is one of the answers on how to go out with the child.  As mentioned in the first scenario, sit down and talk to your child, setting some hard rules.  Let us say you were going to the grocery store and your child wants to go.  Explain to him or her that the purpose of the trip is to buy groceries but that if he/she behaves throughout the entire shopping process, you would allow a small treat.

• For younger children, it is always a good idea to take along small toys, games, or healthy snacks to keep him or her interested/distracted.

• In some cases, you might be out during a time your child is tired.  If you know you are going over to a friend’s house, simply ask if it would be okay for your child to use a bed when he/she becomes sleepy.

• Okay, how to go out with the child to a restaurant is a big on.  For some reason, if kids are going to misbehave, it is usually while dining out.  Therefore, always choose family style restaurants, the ones that cater to small children.  With this, other families will not be distraught if your child cries, becomes loud, or acts up.  You should also consider restaurants with kid-friendly menus, the ones that have a nice selection of healthy foods, but also foods you know your child will actually eat.

• Whenever arriving at your destination, find out where you could change or feed your baby, if necessary.  Getting this out of the way will help put you at ease.

• If you find that your child misbehaves, take him outside or to the bathroom to reprimand him, never in public.  The reason is that by showing some respect to your child, you are teaching him or her to act with respect in return.  Additionally, disciplining your child in private would allow a small smack on the bottom if needed.  Then, many children will be more embarrassed by having to be taken away for a talking to then if you had tried to handle the situation at the table or wherever it occurred.

Just remember that when it comes to how to go out with the child, the above-mentioned tips do not always work.  While they are usually successful, all parents will be faced with times and/or situations where the child simply refuses to cooperate.  If you have made every effort, go home.  An example would be dining at a restaurant with your spouse and child.  Shortly after the food is delivered, the child starts in.  Regardless what you try, he/she is not letting up.  Instead of ruining dinner for everyone else in the restaurant and feeling miserable yourself, ask the server to box up the food, pay, and leave.

Keep reminding yourself that children have to learn and for some, the lessons are long and hard.  By constantly working on manners, providing gentle reminders to your son or daughter about the appropriate way to behave, the child will eventually get it and respond.  You should not feel bad or alone in this problem; it is merely a part of parenting.
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