Fancy Restaurant and socialsklz:)

10 Feb

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All dressed up and setting the table.

“Fancy restaurant” started last summer while we were visiting my brother-in-laws at the beach.  Maddie got upset that everyone went out and we stayed back because going out to eat with two toddlers is extremely difficult.  In order to cheer up Maddie, my husband told her they were going to play “Fancy Restaurant” and allowed her to stay up a little later.  Her eyes lit up.  The two of them set up a table with a towel as the table-cloth, he grabbed a pen and paper to take orders, filled a pitcher with water, threw a hand towel over his arm and set the table with plates and utensils.  Maddie sat down.  He left the room and then re-entered with “Hello, Welcome to Maddie’s Fancy Restaurant! May I take your order?  What would you like to eat this evening?  We have some specials you might like (he listed some  of her favorite snack foods)”.  When Maddie would get up or scream for something else she wanted he would remind her that she was being inappropriate by saying “Excuse me Ma’am, this is a fancy restaurant and we would appreciate it if you could stay at your table and use a lower voice”.  Maddie would quickly go back to her table.  Pela is still a little young to fully understand but she loves to play too.  I never thought about it being part of learning social skills or practicing before going to dinner at a restaurant.

Waiting for dinner.

We were playing “Fancy Restaurant” a couple of weeks ago and think about socialsklz:-) founder Faye Rogaski.  Faye spoke at a MomTrends event in November about teaching social skills to children.  I recently reached out to her because I wanted to get some tips on teaching diningsklz:-) to young children, especially since we have weddings and other special dinners coming up.  Today is my Dad’s birthday and we will be going out to dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate.  We have been playing “Fancy Restaurant” and working on what Faye suggested to prepare for the night out.  See below for what Faye had to say about teaching diningsklz:-).

Mealtime etiquette can be a daunting endeavor for parents,particularly when eating out with others.
First and foremost, start your dining lessons in the comfort of your own home,without the pressure (on you or your child) of being out.

Plan for a “dinner party” or as Jennifer likes to call it at her home a “Fancy Restaurant” night. A dinner party or evening dining out requires preparation and doing so in advance sets you and your child(ren) up for success:

1/ teach your child how to invite people and put together invitations
2/ discuss a healthy well-balanced meal and the menu for the evening
3/ enjoy setting the table with a proper place setting at each seat and placecards
4/ go over mealtime do’s and don’ts (no need to use the word “behavior” kids cringe when they hear it)
Including where the napkin goes, how to sit, using utensils, talking without food in his/her mouth, excusing
Him/herself from the table, etc…
Before you do this part of the lesson put together a list of the most important things to you at the table.
And based on your child’s age, go over more or less specifics.
5/ explain what a “toast” is and show your child(ren) what a toast looks like and how we make eye contact when tapping glasses.
6/show children where utensils go when in resting position and in finished position.

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7/ discuss what happens during a dinner-conversation and enjoyment!
8/ demonstrate where the napkin goes at the end of the meal
9/ share with children what they should do if they don’t like a food on their plate.
10/ and finally share the importance of a thank you to the “host” or to the person paying for the meal

For assistance or mealtime etiquette queries, email Faye Rogaski, founder  socialsklz:-) tools to thrive in the modern socialsklz:-) offers modern day social interaction and communication skills workshops throughout NYC (Upper East/West, Columbus Circle, Tribeca, Brooklyn) that include diningsklz:-) lessons.

Time for a "fancy" dessert!

2 Responses to “Fancy Restaurant and socialsklz:)”


  1. Eating Out: Cups for Kids, Meals for Kids, Why Not Utensils for Kids?? « Tastefully Childish - March 5, 2012

    […] manners” (One Step Ahead).  I am going to have to invest in a set for when we play “Fancy Restaurant“, when we have friends over for a nice dinner, or to take with us when we go out to eat. […]

  2. Yummy Valentine’s Lunch « Tastefully Childish - February 13, 2013

    […] You probably know Nuovo Pasta from the cute Mac and Cheezy Fish Ravioli they sell at Whole Foods.  Any time my kids pass the adorable shaped ravioli they want it.  The all-natural pasta also comes in a variety of shapes and delicious flavors. When I was at the Manhattan Costco the other day I came across Nuovo  Ricotta, Mozzarella and Asiago Heart-Shaped Pasta.  Delicious for grown-ups and lots of fun for your little Valentine’s.  For the kids I served it with a little olive oil, salt and garlic.  My husband and I enjoyed it with vodka sauce on top (my girls didn’t want to “mess up” their hearts with sauce).  Choose a vegetable and cut heart-shaped strawberries on the side for a yummy lunch or dinner on Valentine’s day!  For a little extra fun let the little Valentine’s dress up and set the table with flowers and have a “fancy restaurant“. […]

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