When Your Kids Are Obnoxious in Restaurants

Whoever came up with the idea of offering play structures at McDonalds and Chick-fil-a’s was a marketing genius, let me tell you. It’s an absolute godsend for parents of toddlers to finally eat a meal in peace.

Problem is, I don’t want to spend the next several years only eating at McDonalds every time we go out to dinner. Really seems like someone would’ve caught on  to the screaming market need for reasonably healthy restaurants with kid play structures by now…

Because every time my husband and I try to eat at a “normal” restaurant, it’s just a matter of time before our kids turn into drunken soccer hooligans. They kick, they squirm, they take turns melting under the table, and when our scrambling to control them finally frustrates them enough, they start screaming at the top of their lungs.

The  crayons restaurants give you are a great idea, but they only work on our kids for a few minutes (plus, Bridget eats them). Bringing toys hasn’t worked. Stern lectures in the bathroom haven’t worked. And since our society currently frowns on paddling the crap out of your kids, my husband and I can think up few solutions beyond one of us marching our kids outside, around the building, while the other one eats by themselves.

Threatening to leave is pointless, because kids DON’T CARE. They don’t understand what it means to work long hours to earn the money for a nice meal at a restaurant and they think leaving is a fine idea. Who wants to sit still?

Recently, my husband and I decided we HAVE GOT to put a stop to these shenanigans, because 1) we don’t want to live under house arrest for the next five years, and 2) we’ve been to Europe and seen little kids sitting patiently at dinner many times. So, we know it’s possible.

We just don’t understand how.

We’re assuming the best course is practicing proper mealtime behavior at home, which means teaching our kids to sit still in their chairs at the dinner table. We used to excuse them when they were finished eating, which usually meant they took two bites before running off to build Lego ships and make Barbies yell at each other.

Now, they’re supposed to sit still until EVERYONE is finished eating, which is going something like this:

Our kids are firmly convinced they’re suffering under an oppressive and torturous dictatorship. The new policy changes have prompted rioting and vocal dissent, as well as the constant flickering on-and-off of nearby light switches:



But to no avail. Their butts keep getting placed firmly back onto chairs and the timeouts just keep on coming.

The whole process has about shredded our every last nerve, but as time wears on, the tantrums are getting shorter and the sitting is getting longer. Dare we even say it?

We may,

One day,

Actually be able to take our time when eating at a normal restaurant.

(Whew, don’t jinx it!)

Any other parents have this problem? Did you manage to fix it, or did you end up hiding out for years until your kids came of age? We think we may be on the right track here, but only time will tell.



5 thoughts on “When Your Kids Are Obnoxious in Restaurants

  1. You have it tougher than my wife and I did, since we only had one. We kind of didn’t go out much, until Grace was old enough for us to play the child-focused Dora the Explorer UNO game. We’d take UNO with us and play it with her at the restaurant, and that would pass the time before the food arrived.

    Good luck, and it does get better. I swear it does.


  2. The pictures actually made me smile than being terrified . It’s so honest & resonating for every moms out here . Though I’m an incomplete mother , but I have seen tantrums of my sister’s chikdren . I was the one who was bought by my sister to accompany her in this tiring long day process & used to handle all day long . She used to owe me for this .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad they made your smile! I think anyone caring for or watching young children can probably relate.

      It can be so frustrating to work through these tantrums, but we have to! I think all kids test their parents (and the adults watching them).

      Luckily, we went through the same thing with her older sister and now, she rarely throws these kinds of fits. It’s better to hold your ground in the long run, but BOY it’s tough sometimes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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