Let Them Be Little

realistic expectations

Let Them Be Little

I was in a restaurant with friends recently and I could not help but notice a Mum having a challenging time trying to keep her daughter still and quiet while they enjoyed a meal with others. Mum was getting frustrated and her voice was getting louder, the child was getting more restless and, it did not appear to be a very happy outing for anyone. It bought back some memories of when my children where little.

We have all been there when the vision in our head of the delightful meal with quiet, well behaved children turns out to be the fantasy not the reality. I remember talking to an Educator when my children where young, about realistic expectations for children in the classroom when it hit me that our expectations need to realistic in all areas of our life.

Did you know that on average, your child should be able to focus on any given task for approximately 2-5 minutes per year of age! So, at most, the typical 3-year-old will struggle to concentrate and sit still for more than 15 minutes. I have always understood this in a classroom setting and with other children so why did I expect my young child to sit still in a boring restaurant for an extended period of time and become so disappointed when they couldn’t.

I guess that’s why we all flock to cafes and restaurants where children can run and play safely while we socialise, where children can be little and behave just like they are supposed to. The days of nice restaurants and long meals with friends will return, if that is what you enjoy but for now it’s bistro meals and smart locations with play areas for our children to be children and for us all to enjoy some time away from home.


Melissa Scaife, Mother of 3 children and owner of Fit Kidz Learning Centres.

All stories by: Mel