When taking children to a restaurant, there are many things you should and should not do. While I am definitely not an expert, I have picked up a thing or two dining out with my three boys. I’m sharing my wisdom and experience, but I still can’t guarantee success. Kids are very tricky. Just when you think you’ve figured them out, they go and surprise you. Not always in a good way. So, if you decide to take your children to a restaurant, you’ve been warned.
Yesterday was the twins’ fourth birthday, and we decided to take them to a restaurant for dinner. Here are my tips for things that should help your experience, or at least keep you from getting kicked out of the restaurant.
1.If you’re going to eat later than normal, try to get your kids to take a nap.
A well-rested child is usually a better behaved child. Usually.
2.In addition to a nap, also feed them a small snack.
While this might seem counter-intuitive since you’re going out to eat, you have to remember children are not patient. Unless you’re the only people in the restaurant or it’s a fast food place, you will have to order, and then wait for your food. If they’ve had a little something, they might be able to wait those 10 minutes (which may feel like 10 hours,) for the food to come out.
3.Bring some sort of entertainment.
Most family friendly restaurants have some sort of coloring/crayon apparatus, but just in case they don’t, you want to be prepared for something to occupy those little fingers and minds. Otherwise, you may have piles of salt and pepper poured on your plate, fork fights, and whines of boredom. I’m just guessing.
4.Make sure you choose a family friendly place.
And by family friendly, I mean loud. It will drown out the screaming, crying, and whining if any of the above steps haven’t worked to produce a calm, peaceful child. Again, just guessing. Not from experience at all.
1.Do not mention dessert until after you’ve eaten.
Instead of an incentive to eat their dinner, it’s just an excuse to whine through the entire meal for cake, cookies, or that milkshake you’re not letting them have right now.
2.Do not let them have the balloon until after dinner.
This one actually wasn’t us! The table next to us let all 4 of the children in their party grab a balloon on their way to the booth, which they proceeded to hit each other with, hit us with, and make my children green with envy, until their frustrated parents grabbed them all away. You can imagine what happened next. Not pretty.
3.Do not order a meal for each of your children.
Unless they are really good eaters all the time, or if you like having leftovers. Between my three boys, they didn’t even eat one whole mini-pizza, so they will be eating it tonight for dinner. And tomorrow for lunch.
4.Do not order something that is hard to eat.
This is for your parents. You need something you can quickly shovel in your mouth between breaking up the fights, stopping the water from spilling, and wrestling that huge knife away from your child. Who thought leaving knives on the table was a good idea?
Plus, you might have a child who refuses to get off your lap, requiring you to eat with one hand.
So, there are my tips for eating in a restaurant with your children. As you might have guessed, we have not always had the best luck. If I were being really truthful, my biggest piece of advice would be to get a babysitter…or just eat at home. At least until they are 10.