Always blame the waitress. Yes, that’s it.
It also works for salesmen, doctors, nurses, or basically anyone else.
We’ve all been there as parents. You’re in a public place with your child and they are not cooperating in some way. Well, my advice is to use some random stranger as the bad guy to get your kid to obey. The person you use won’t be the wiser.
Here is an example. We were at Friendly’s for lunch and Leah would not eat her meal. I told her that the waitress would not bring her ice-cream unless she ate so many bites of macaroni and so many bites of applesauce. I then made her macaroni talk and say things like “Quick, hide us in your mouth before the waitress sees us!” She ate more than I ever expected her to eat, and then was too full to eat much of the ice-cream!
Another example: My mom and I were shopping at a furniture store for Leah’s big girl bed. She was having fun climbing and playing on a lofted bed, but not having found anything, my mom and I were ready to move on to another store. Leah did not want to go, so my mom pointed out a salesman and told Leah “That mean guy won’t let us keep playing on the bed if we’re not going to buy one so we have to go to another fun store and try out more beds!”
I have also blamed doctors for giving her medicine, nurses for giving her shots, and finally, retail workers who might kick us out of the store and yell at us if she doesn’t hold my hand. It may sound horrible to some of you, but it works. Leah will most likely never see any of these people again and I get to enjoy her company and get her to obey me without having an argument.
One last thing, never, ever use the other parent with this strategy (or anyone your child knows and loves). It is mean and undermines that person’s authority with the child.