how to prevent temper tantrums and meltdowns in a restaurant

how to handle screaming kids in a restaurant

Last week, on Fox 5’s Ask the Moms, we were asked, “What should I do if my kid has a screaming temper tantrum in the middle of a restaurant?”

The short answer to that question is, stay calm, and swiftly remove the spazzy child from the venue, stat.

The reasons for that are twofold. One, you want to teach your kiddo that screaming t’aint a means to an end.

Also, it’s common courtesy to those around you who are trying enjoy their meal.

Tantrums and fits are bound to happen when young families try to dine out, but here are some tips to take to avoid the spin outs and melt downs in the first place:

PREPARE: Even if you’re going to a casual place like Mickie D’s or Starbucks, tell them what kind of behavior you expect from them and that you will leave if they don’t behave (and then you HAVE to follow through!)

PREVENT: Be sure neither you nor your child is not overly hungry or cranky (or as Tina Fey calls it, Hangry). Nothing good can come out of a hangry mom, dad or child when trying to dine out.

DISTRACT: In the world of iDevices and other such gaming mechamnisms, there is no excuse for not having a distraction for your kid. If you’d rather not rely on tech gadgets, then go for the old fashioned toys like rattles, blocks and coloring books, whatever, just have something to keep them occupied.

RESEARCH: Not all kids menus are created equally. Use your friend Google to make sure that the restaurant you choose has something you kiddo will eat.

PROACT: Ask for the bill & a few to-go-boxes when you order, that way, if there is a melt down, you can make a quick escape.

COMPLIMENT: If all goes well, or even if it goes only moldy well, compliment your kiddo for a job well done. A little positive feedback goes a long way!

If you follow all of these tips carefully and your kid STILL has a meltdown, then just stay calm, give the waitress the high sign for “my kids’ losing his sh*t, I need the check now, and make a swift exit as soon as humanly possible. Our kids need to know that screaming and temper-tantrum-throwing is not cool–not in a diner, not with a shiner, not with a fox, not on a box.

And yes, you can even do these steps with a toddler. They might not understand you completely, but they understand enough.

Here is our clip from Ask the Moms where we talk about this subject a little more in depth.


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