Every once in a while I post about things I’ve done to help my children in life. This is one of those posts.
When we go out to restaurants my children order for themselves. They have done this since they were about 4 or 5 years old. They have learned to stop what they are doing when the waitstaff approaches our table. They look at the waiter/waitress and tell what they are ordering in a clear voice. They sit quietly until everyone has finished ordering and the waiter/waitress has left the table. They also say “thank you” when items are delivered to them at the table (drink, meal, and/or other items needed). They learn to say “Excuse me” when they are getting the attention of the waitstaff because they need something else or have a question.
Before the we order the boys have to tell us what they are planning to order so that we know what they are planning, but it also gives them a chance to practice stating what they want to eat. We go through all the options of side dishes and drinks as well. At this age, we don’t talk about their drinks anymore since they know they can either get milk, water or lemonade (my kids still don’t drink soda).
I find it interesting to see how many waiters/waitresses who still look at Richard and I with shock when the boys order their own meals. Colby even knows to order his steak medium rare whenever he orders steak.
I have always felt that this is a life skill that they need. They need to make these choices and be able verbalize what they would like to other people. They need to treat the waitstaff with respect. They need to speak in a voice that is understandable and be ready to answer questions about their requests.
This being said, I also like when the wait staff checks with us in regards to their orders. There are times when they order off the adult menu or things like that. I also like when they ask if the boys can have their drinks in a glass or a plastic cup and then if they can have a refill. This shows a great deal of respect to the parents.
Do you think children should order their own food at restaurants? Do you think the waitstaff should address questions to the parents about the children’s foods? Do you think they should ask before bringing refills to the table?