Children’s Restaurant Etiquette
The Best Approach to Encourage the Right Mannerism and Behavior

We all know that sound. You are sitting, enjoying a lovely dinner with a significant other, and someone’s child starts crying. The cries get louder and the parents try to hush their children more urgently as they sink lower in their seats. Even worse, some parents seem to not care at all, sitting and enjoying their dinners without a care, even as their children’s cries turn into screams, forks are thrown and everybody’s evening is ruined.

You don’t want to be that parent. Do you?

I was born and bred in Naples, Italy: you could say that good food is part of my DNA. My parents often took my younger brother and I to some of the most upscale restaurants across the country, even when we were very young. I was lucky enough to experience fine dining even at an age where I didn’t even know what those words meant. My brother and I learned restaurant etiquette in a very spontaneous way, even though our parents never really told us how to behave in those contexts. How did they achieve such good results with two otherwise very hyperactive boys like us?

The best thing they could ever teach us was to respect the food and where it comes from. Respecting food and its value also means to respect the settings were food is eaten, prepared and served. In short: as we learned to respect food, we also learned how to behave in restaurants and at the table at home.

We were brought up to treat mealtime as a ritual, as something special. When parents try to discipline their children into following restaurant etiquette, they often make it a dreadful experience for them and they will tend to “rebel” with their antics. The trick is to make kids excited about the situation, make them want to experience the restaurant as an adult would.

The etiquette that comes with eating in a public space is also a part of the experience itself. If you help your children appreciate the whole experience by engaging them, it will be a lot easier to help them understand why etiquette matters in such a setting.
With the right mindset, restaurant etiquette can become an enjoyable bonding experience for all the family: it’s educational, it’s fun and it’s special!

Perhaps, that annoying child screaming in the restaurant isn’t just coming from a discipline problem, but from a wrong approach to the restaurant experience as a whole.

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