Going out to eat can be a fun pastime for many families, but can be a bit difficult for families of individuals with autism. The following tips can help you and your family prevent behavior problems and have a successful and enjoyable experience for everyone!
Be sure to have activities for your child to enjoy while waiting for your food. Table activities such as coloring, drawing, reading, or tablet time will help. You might try calling ahead and requesting a specific reservation time to avoid long waits.
Before heading out to eat, set aside a quiet moment with your child to tell them the rules. For example, say, “Sit in your seat and speak with a quiet voice.”
Reward Good Behavior.
Reward your child throughout the meal for following the dining rules. Consider using more tangible items like favorite toys, dessert, etc.
Choose a Familiar Restaurant.
This allows for familiarity with the food and the environment which can decrease outbursts.
Leave On Time.
If you see your child is getting a bit fidgety and overwhelmed it’s okay to order the food to go and finish eating at home. It’s better to leave than to wait and trying to control any tantrums.
If your child still presents challenging behavior while dining out, we are here to help with additional tips and strategies specific to your child. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.