RVA Parenting: Etiquette advice for dinner with kids

RVA Parenting: Etiquette advice for dinner with kids

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Your kid is screaming in a restaurant and the food just arrived. What do you do?

It's an issue that's been in the news lately, and one we're taking on in this week's RVA Parenting.

We all know, it's never a one-size-fits-all situation, right? For example, remember this story? A child is screaming, while the parents keep on eating... and then a frustrated restaurant owner finally yells at the child, "That's enough!"

It quieted the kid, but since then, the Internet has been in an uproar over the issue, with some cheering on the business, while others scolding the owner.

Essentially, this comes down to manners and kids. So, we reached out to a local etiquette expert, Jacquelyn Small Thomas.

"First of all, you ought to say, 'I don't think that's a good idea. Can you lower your voice? Can we involve ourselves in other activities?' You may bring along puzzles. You may bring along other activities, from their little activity books. Or, a lot of restaurants will just give you the crayons and the paper so that they can entertain themselves. So hopefully that will work," said Thomas.

She essentially recommends warning the child, but then stepping outside if the situation doesn't stop.

"Talk with him and say, 'Listen, we came here to have a nice meal. You're disturbing other people. Do you think you can come back in and you know listen to mommy and daddy and do what we ask you to do?' If that doesn't happen, then I'm thinking, you do not ever what to disturb the restaurants other patrons, so maybe you better go to another restaurant. Or  you may just decide, 'OK guys, we can't stay here today. We've got to go home.'"

She says to consider where you are going to dinner. Some restaurants are better suited for children, others definitely are not. But, she says, there are things you can do to help yourself. For example, pay the check early, so you can easily leave if need be.

"You can always ask your hostess or wait staff, 'Would you please wrap my food? I'd like to take it,' and then you leave," she said. "I think that you always have to keep other people's feelings and being considerate of others, prior to your child."

She also says to actively praise your child when he or she is being good, to reinforce the behavior you do want to see.

If you want to see more of her tips, you can go to our new RVA Parenting group on Facebook. We'll continue the discussion there!

Copyright 2015 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved