Can your children and mine REALLY encourage the wait staff at restaurants?

Why yes they can, and it’s high time we think of our family as being outward focused rather than self-focused.


What I’m about to tell you will not only apply to dining at a restaurant, but to any event social setting in which your children (and you) are around others who are serving you.

Today I’m sharing how to teach your children to be an encouragement to others- even those who are in business to serve you.

Teach your child to observe and to sincerely compliment others.

As your three year old, for example,  begins to notice attributes about your server, she might say something like, “She sure is nice, Mommy.” To which you can reply, “She sure is, Suzzie. What did she say or do that made you think that?” Listen to what she says and help her, if needed, to articulate what she saw. “So you saw her smile and it made you feel glad you came here?” After discussing this and getting a specific thing that is sincere in its compliment, you reply, “Let’s tell her.”

Or one of your kids says, “Dad, the waiter is so friendly,” and you hear your child describe (even if you had to help him articulate this) that he was patient when the child spilled his drink on the floor.”  To which you say… drum roll…“Let’s tell him.”

Now it’s best NOT to spring this on your child right then and there as I did when I first thought of this. But, if your child (or you) notices something nice about your server, even if you forgot to “train ahead” on this great skill, do it anyway. Seize the moment. Your child has an opportunity to breathe life into someone, to speak words that are genuine with the motive to encourage. Please be careful to NOT unintentionally teach your children that this is an opportunity for them to look good, for your family to get attention, or to shine with their great manners. Their words are based on genuine observations and are not flattery. Do this right or you may possibly be teaching such harmful qualities in your children that quite often take years to undo… like being about image, or self-serving compliments, or manipulation, etc. Their motive and yours should simply be:



Oh, there is such freedom in being generous with our words. Too often we don’t even SEE positive attributes in others. And, so often when we DO notice something nice in another, we do NOT express it. How sad. 

Don’t you want yourself and your kids’ to naturally observe and freely express the wonderful qualities they see in others. This is a beautiful place to be.  Being intentional about this WILL RESULT in a home in which your children and you can naturally speak kind words into each others’ lives! You know what I have to say about that? “Mama like.” I have this in my home! To God be the Glory! You can too!

The Bible is clear to “encourage one another, and build each other up” and a multitude of other scriptures that relate to our words being used to speak life into others. Model this for your kids and be intentional to teach them this. Holding back truly can be signs of pride, jealousy, or overall evidences of selfishness… even though you may have never thought about it that way before. There are lots of adults who don’t compliment others because they think it elevates another over themselves.

Train ahead. Have discussions with your children where they get the importance of observing great qualities in others and so that they understand the concept of doing the next step, which is SAYING IT.

Role-play this with them:

“Hey kids, I read something the other day that I never had thought of before. I think our family should be aware of this so we can do this.  Each of us, no matter our age or personality, can be a blessing to others and should be an encourager to others. When we’re at a restaurant and you notice something nice about the waiter, her attentiveness, kindness, or the way in which she serves us… we should tell her. When we think something nice, we should say it.” Then give them a few scenarios and have them say how they’d compliment her, making it sincere. It can be short, too. The motive of the heart is what we’re after here.

Please don’t teach them to be robots or anything like that. You will see, as you are intentional about this, that the next time you’re at a restaurant someone WILL think something nice or say something to the table about the waiter. The moment that happens is what you’re looking for. You simply say, “Let’s tell her that,” and the next time she drops by to check on your or refill your beverages, your child can say it. Many times, in the early ages of my kids that has looked like this, “Sarah, one of my kids said something to our family about you and I thought you would be blessed to hear this…” then turn your head to Johnny and let him say it. “Sarah, you have good people skills. I noticed how you are so good at looking in to our eyes and smiling when you took our order.” This will not take any prompting as your children grow up. They will simply recognize a nice thought they have that is actually a compliment to someone and will say it, knowing that their words are meant to be genuine and encourage others. They will be able to know NOT to say something if their motive was to flatter. Flatter is about us; complimenting to build up is about them.

What are ways your family encourages the waitstaff? Share below with your fellow readers. I know I want to know!

Rhonda WhenYouThinkSomethingNiceSayIt ellis

  1. Nancy Smith

    What a great example of how easy it is to bless someone with honest observation and communication. “Catching” someone doing something right… and letting them know you noticed, is a simple thing to do. However, the great thing is, that that simple act can be a BIG encouragement to the receiver. You are a exceptional parent and role model Rhonda to teach this skill to your children and make the world a nicer place to be.

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