How do you stop your kids from wigging out?


Sunday night, we went out to dinner with friends. We tried a local hamburger joint we’d never been to before. I was worried about how Max would deal. He does OK in familiar restaurants, but as I’ve mentioned he gets unnerved in new places.

We got there. Max tried to run out. We decided to take the food to go. Max ran over and tried to sit down with another family, which made me crack up though I probably shouldn’t have. Then he finally sat down at an empty table. Then he wanted to play with the other little boy’s truck. And this little boy wanted to play with it, too. I didn’t know what to do until the other mom decided to distract her child so Max could continue to play with the truck and stay calm, just so we could stay.

It was a total “aha!” moment: I need to carry props. Namely, little toy trucks or cars. I have no idea why this took me so long to realize this. When Max was little, we used to bring a mini DVID player to restaurants for him. It wasn’t the most polite tactic, but then again we weren’t exactly dining at four-star restaurants and it was the only thing that calmed him. He grew out of that a couple of years ago, and since then, we’ve been winging it.

What sort of stuff keeps your kids calm when they get unnerved in public places?

Ellen blogs daily at To The Max.

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