Culture & Entertainment

3 ways my kids are annoying in public spaces, and what I'll do about it

By: Jennifer Gruden
Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

3 ways my kids are annoying in public spaces, and what I'll do about it

By: Jennifer Gruden

I just read Dad on the Run's open letter to the people who left a note for his sister. Their complaint? Her baby kept them up all night, at a ski resort. 450 comments later, reactions are about as mixed as one would expect, from people who believe babies should never, ever be taken to hotels even if said hotels offer cribs and kid zones through to people who think it's entirely other people's problems. Here are three ways I know my kids and I have annoyed people in public and what I've done about it. Feel free to comment with your thoughts about what I else I could try, or your tale of kids disrupting those around you. kid tantrum in public 1. Yes, my cart has blocked the grocery aisle You know those people who park their grocery carts in the middle of the aisle at the store, blocking your way? I have been one of them, and here's why: If you park an 18-month-old to two-and-a-half-year-old next to the row of brightly coloured, differently shaped items, chances are good that kid will start pulling them off the shelf. Primates are wired to survive and grow by pulling berries off of bushes, what can I say? Also, I didn't notice you because I was reading labels so that I will help my kid's brain grow...so that he won't be pulling things down like that forever. Or because I was up all night thanks to a growth spurt. Solution: I try to stay aware of people and move the cart, but I'll also hop to it really quickly if you will just say "excuse me" rather than glaring or huffing. Trust me, I get the two-year-old shriek 15 times a time, I no longer have eardrums that can hear your polite cough. 2. My child has melted down in the restaurant. And is noisy even if he hasn't yet. Like a lot of parents, I am trying to limit junk food in my child's diet, which means that sometimes we end up in sit-down restaurants for a variety of reasons...ice storms, expeditions, unplanned lateness. (Note I didn't list fun. Taking a toddler out to a restaurant is basically not fun.) I also sometimes just deliberately take my kids out so that they will learn to behave. (When there were Zellers restaurants in my area, that was my pick of location.) Despite copious crayons and other toys, there have been times my kids have been loud, which is a tough one...do I let my child tell me about his car in a louder-than-average voice in the hopes he quiets down when the meal arrives, or do I continually remind him to use his quiet indoor voice until he gets mad and melts down? Solution: 1) I will choose relatively family-friendly spots, and be out by 7 pm. Also, no appetizers or desserts. 2) I will shush some, but I will also let my child escalate briefly to the volume of a cell phone conversation. 3) If my child progresses to a meltdown, my family will get up and leave, and we carry cash for exactly that possibility. 3. My child is having a tantrum on the bus because he can't have a window seat. I understand why people don't want babies on buses, subways, trains and planes with them. Travel with kids can be just fine, but it can also be miserable, especially if there's any kind of a snag like a long delay or, if one is three years old, a "I didn't get a window seat" violation. Solution: No, I don't expect anyone to give my child the window seat. And I won't let him kick the back of your chair on the flight either. But sometimes people of all ages need to get from A to Z, so just remember: When you've arrived at your peaceful destination, I'll still be with my kids. Unfortunately I may have to distract them in between with a round of "Wheels on the Bus."   (Photo: iStockphoto.com)
Share X
Culture & Entertainment

3 ways my kids are annoying in public spaces, and what I'll do about it

Login