For some parents, a night spent at a restaurant enjoying food that someone else has cooked seems like a distant dream. Kids can often be unruly and out of control at restaurants, and we can’t really blame them. It can be boring sitting there doing nothing! If you are wanting to enjoy a meal out with the whole family, here is how to successfully eat out with your kids!
Visit A Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Before leaving the house, make sure the restaurant you are visiting welcomes kids. Some restaurants don’t allow kids in at all, and others are just more suited to adults. Phone ahead if you have never been there before. Ask about whether kids are welcome and if they have a kids menu as well.
Have An Early Dinner
Don’t book a table for late in the evening. The later your dinner is, the more likely your kids will act out. Try to book dinner for around 5:30. This way, your kids will not be overtired, and it will also allow you to stay on track with your other evening routines.
It is not fair to expect younger kids to sit at a table late at night while they are exhausted. It is never too early for dinner at a restaurant, and it will be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone!
Pack Some Activities
Don’t rely on the restaurant to have crayons and colouring books for your kids. Pack some distractions or activities you know your kids will enjoy. This could be a puzzle or a storybook. Avoid bringing along iPads, DS games, and other electronic devices. You want the family to be able to spend some time together over dinner, not for the kids to have their eyes glued to a screen.
Talk Through Expectations
Before arriving at the restaurant, chat with your kids about the behaviour you expect from them. They won’t know what acceptable behaviour is if they aren’t taught. Help them understand how they should behave, and how that behaviour affects you and the diners around you. Kids running around a restaurant don’t do so just because they are kids, but because parents haven’t explained how they should act.
Keep Up With Discipline
Don’t shy away from discipline when out. Obviously don’t make a huge scene of it, but make sure to take your child away from the table to a quiet corner or the bathroom and speak to them, getting them to calm down. The other diners don’t want to hear you shouting at your kids. If your kids are just not in the right frame of mind to sit at a dinner table, you might just have to call it a night and leave.
Make It Enjoyable
Your kids are just kids, and they want to have fun. Find a way to make the dinner exciting for them as well. Allow them to order a starter or a dessert with their meal, or help them learn how to eat fancily, with a napkin on their lap. A little bit of fun and inclusion goes a long way and is great help on how to successfully eat out with your kids!