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How can I reduce the risk of my child misbehaving in public?

Michele Borba
Psychology
While there is no guarantee, we can use a few techniques that minimize kid meltdowns and help make sure that they behave in public. So think these four items that increase the likelihood of misbehaving through prior to walking out the door:
  • Fatigue: Sleepy, stressed-out or just tired children are more likely to be cranky. Period. They also have a harder time using the brakes on their own impulses. So make sure your child has had that nap prior to taking her out. Gauge his irritability level before dressing him up.
  • Hunger: Expecting to eat at six and not being seated until eight can be taxing for anyone -- especially a hungry kid. So ensure the reservation. And just in case, bring a snack. Be ready!
  • Boredom: Waiting to be served can seem endless for a child. So bring along something to keep your child entertained -- "just in case." Just make sure the product is quiet and self-contained (you don't want to pick up magic markers all over the floor or pay for the white tablecloth that now has your little munchkin's scribbles.
  • Expectations: Is the place you're taking your child developmentally appropriate? Is this experience "worth it" for everyone in the family? Have you described before walking in the behavior you expect from him? The right parental expectations that are spelled out clearly to a child before going out always help curb those meltdowns.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.