Imagine you are eating in a nice restaurant, enjoying good food and engaging conversation. Then at the table next to you, you notice a family trying to have a meal, kids doing their own thing, Mom and Dad patiently or less so making them behave. At that time you might be thinking restaurants are no place to bring children to. You’re questioning their judgment and are even slightly annoyed. Now, fast forward a few years and you find yourself sitting at a table like that with your own kids. Are you questioning your own decisions now? Should you continue going out and dragging your kids along, especially if they are still tots? I am definitely up for it.
There are times neither hubbs nor me feels like cooking and we just want to be taken care of for a little while. What’s there not to like about eating out. Someone else does all the work and you have all the fun. Of course, you can’t expect the things to be the way they were before you had an entourage, but it can still be an experience that keeps improving with practice.
Here are some of our tips to survive dinner out with your kids:
- Pick an appropriate restaurant – this one is a no-brainer. There are so many restaurants to chose from, decide on the one that is family friendly (toys, playground, company of other kids, great staff, etc) and has the food you like. We go to this great Chinese restaurant. It’s close by, everybody loves the food and they have toys, books and a small playground outside.
- Bring accessories – in moderation of course. But bring a long some toys or a book to occupy your kids with while you are waiting for food.
- Order food your kids will like – eating out is a special treat in my book for both you and your kids. Let them enjoy what they want. You will all have a better time and the kids are bound to sit at the table awhile longer.
- Don’t wait around – I like to order as soon as we get into the restaurant. We all like soup, so I get a plate of soup for everyone, while we decide on the food to follow. The whole meal time moves along faster. You can’t expect the kids to sit around for hours.
- Choose the right time – avoid crowds. It’s best to go to the restaurant either before or after the rush hour. It helps if there are less people, it’s quieter and the staff has more time and patience to deal with all of you.
- Keep cool – don’t stress out or bother looking around trying to figure out what other people think.
- Clean after your kids – as best as you can, so there is just a normal amount of mess 🙂
- Tip well – when we were in Canada, every time we went out for a meal, we had an awesome time, because the staff was so nice to both us and our kids. They’d bring them toys, specially glasses and basically acknowledge them as guests. So, it was easy to tip well and we thought they truly deserved it. A lesson for waiters. We as parents love it when you help us out, so much, we’ll pay extra.
So, bon appetit everyone!