My two year old son has very few words. When we go to a restaurant he is quiet at first. I do provided activities for him to do. However, after about 15 months, he will begin to start screaming and not stop. What else can I do to occupy him so he will not scream?
Just curious is your son is receiving Early Intervention Services for speech? At age 2 he should have 50+ words and be starting to put 2 words together into phrases. But, sitting in a restaurant is extremely difficult for toddlers. Do you sit at the table for meals at home? If not, I would start there. I have many parents ask this same question, but find that their child is not sitting 20-30 min for a meal in the home, so therefore expecting them to sit that long in a public restaurant is unrealistic. It’s great that you are providing activities for him to do. Sometimes taking a small trial sized jar with a lid and a bag of Cheerios, puffs for other cereal is a great way to occupy a toddler-they can fill, dump, re-fill and eat the cereal. Also, before arriving at a restaurant, give your child some active play time. Going from sitting in a car seat for 20 minutes to sitting in a restaurant for 30 minutes is A LOT of sitting. Since screaming is the issue, which is rough when in a restaurant, again I’d start with sitting at home for meals. If he can sit at home for a meal and not scream, then try the restaurant again. The screaming gets him attention and he knows it, so if the screaming means he gets to get up or you leave the restaurant, then he is getting his way. I would test ignoring the screaming in a busy fast food restaurant with a kids area, so you won’t have to worry as much about bothering other patrons. Ignoring the screaming repeatedly is the best strategy for getting him to realize the screaming DOES NOT WORK and you will not give in to it. Once he realizes the screaming isn’t working, it should stop. But this will take practice & patience.
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