Behavior Story: Restaurant

  • Situation

    My child has a very difficult time going to family-style restaurants. In particular, he has difficulty sitting and waiting quietly, eating neatly, and interacting with the waiter or waitress. How can I help my child learn to be more appropriate in this setting?

  • Summary

    Create a behavior story for your child that is: Written from his perspective, contains descriptive statements (so he can identify the situation when it does occur), provides directions in regard to appropriate social action and expectations, and provides real strategies for coping with the situation. A behavior story can be read in preparation for visiting a restaurant. It can be made specific to the particular restaurant and the expectations associated with the particular event.

  • Definition

    A behavior story is a simple description of an everyday social situation, written from a child’s perspective. The situation is described in detail and focuses on the important social cues, events, expectations and ways for the child to react in the situation. Behavior stories are intended to be used with a child prior to an event. It is rehearsed with an adult so that when the event actually occurs, the child can use the story as a guide for behavior.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Pre-requisites

    Defined set of expectations for the particular situation

  • Process

    1. Determine the desired behaviors to be addressed at the restaurant.

    2. Write the story using guidelines above.

    3. Review with your child several times prior to going to the restaurant.

    4. Role play with your child the interactions addressed in your story.

  • Documents and Related Resources (website article: eating in a restaurant)


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