We’ve all been there – you’re trying to enjoy a nice night out and your kids start acting up. Your younger one starts to cry as their older sibling darts in-between tables, almost tripping the server carrying a tray of drinks.
You try to wrangle them up but are all too aware of all the eyes staring at you. And suddenly it hits you – “we’re that family.”
Eating out with kids can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to stop you from leaving the house ever again.
Just keep reading for our tips and tricks for eating out with kids, so you can enjoy a night out and relieve some stress.
1. Dine at the Right Time
Does your toddler throw the worst temper-tantrums when it’s naptime? Do they like to go to sleep early?
When you decide to go out to eat, make sure it doesn’t interfere with bedtime or naptime. Your kids will be more likely to act out or cry when they are tired.
Also, be sure not to wait too long when going out for a meal. Hungry kids are more likely to cause a scene. If you think you waited too long, but you’re already at the restaurant, order your kids’ meals when the server comes to take drink orders and ask for them to be brought out as soon as they’re ready.
2. Go to a Kid-Friendly Restaurant
One of the best ways to enjoy eating out with kids is to go to a kid-friendly restaurant. Even the most well-behaved kids cry or let out a quick yell from time to time.
While this may be embarrassing at an upscale restaurant, chances are nobody will bat an eye if this happens in a restaurant full of kids.
So, save those fancy places, like First and Oak, for your date night and hit somewhere casual and family-friendly when you dine with your children.
3. Bring Toys
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you go to a kid-friendly restaurant, they’ll have crayons and something to color on. Sometimes restaurants run out of crayons or don’t even carry them.
Make sure you bring a coloring book or small toy from home to keep your kids occupied. You can let your kids each choose one toy, as long as it’s not bulky or loud, to help ensure they’ll stay pleasantly busy while waiting for their food.
4. Skip the Appetizer
If you don’t go out to eat very often, you may want to savor your night. However, that may not be possible with rowdy toddlers.
In many restaurants, ordering an appetizer means your entrees will take longer to come out, so you’ll spend more time at the restaurant. The longer you’re at the restaurant, the more chances your kids have to act up. So, skip the appetizer and focus on ordering your main course.
5. Stick to Your Rules
Setting solid expectations is an important part of going to a restaurant with kids. If they’re old enough, let them know they can’t yell, run around, or throw food.
If they act up in the restaurant, it’s important to stand your ground. Take them outside or to the bathroom so they can calm down before returning to the table. You can even ask to be seated next to the door to make this easier.
Tips for Eating Out with Kids
If you have a few feisty kids attached to your hip, you may think your days of dining out are in the past. But they don’t have to be! Just follow our tips to eating out with kids to enjoy some time out of the house.
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