Let’s Eat
    Tip Sheet

    Taking trips with children can sometimes be overwhelming especially when you know you have to make a stop that involves food. Here are some tips to make your experience a little easier:

    1. Take a deep breath, you will live through it.
    2. Predetermine where you will stop and eat. Let all your drivers know this before you leave.
    3. If you can, call ahead and give the place a head’s up.
    4. When you roll into the parking lot, let a couple of sponsors off to go to the head of the line.
    5. Give your kids instructions before they get off the buses. Tell them about cleaning up after themselves, using the restroom, and getting back on the bus, etc.
    6. Have the kids get in one or two lines, depending on the size of your group and the restaurant. (I always like to let regular people get ahead of us and have a fair chance. You will recognize them because they look terrified.)
    7. Plant a sponsor by the register of each line to help the kids order.

    Here’s how you order:

    · The sponsor standing at the front of the line will help each child order. Ask the child what they want and help the child with decisions. You might have to give them a cutoff; after all you have places to go.
    · Help the child figure out their money and pay.
    · Make sure they get their change back.
    · Have the child step to the side while they wait on their order and then proceed to help the next child in line.

    Sideline tip: Get a stack of to go bags and have a sponsor go down the line and write the kid’s order on the sack along with their name. Have the child hold the sack and order with it. This will help the employees behind the counter and the sponsor at the register. If the restaurant doesn’t want to do it that way, you could just use a piece of paper to take orders. Continue to keep a sponsor planted at the beginning of each line to help the kids with money.
    Reasons why letting your kids order at the restaurant is okay:

    · They love to pay by themselves.
    · They love to order by themselves.
    · They are learning responsibility and independence.
    · They are learning manners and patience.
    · They are always learning from you, so go ahead and teach them something.

    Before you leave:

    · Make sure all tables are cleared and all trash is put away.
    · Insist they clean up after themselves.
    · Insist they are polite and act like reasonable human beings.
    · Decide what they can and cannot take with them on the bus.

    Use these techniques at fast food restaurants, snack stops, and convenience stores. It makes everyone a lot happier.

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