Restaurant Survival Tips
Sometimes, you want to take the kids out for a special meal. But eating out can be an adventure all on its own! If you think you can rely on those tiny packs of crayons with connect-the-dots menus, think again! As parents, it’s up to you to ensure your kids are having a great dining experience… not the restaurant!
Here are some tips to help you enjoy your night out…
If you’re unsure as to the ‘kid-friendliness’ of a restaurant, pick a place where kids are usually present; or at least where there are few other families. Pass up restaurants devoid of kids.
Get ‘in and out’ early. Arrive at the restaurant before the crowds for faster service and keep the meal short. If your kids are really starving, have a tiny snack before getting restaurant to prevent them from being irritable, or ask your waiter for some bread or crackers.
Ask for a booth that will offer a bit more privacy for a family. Sit near a window to keep your kids occupied. Most restaurants will offer kids’ activities but just in case, bring colouring crayons, books, or small hand held games.
Keep little ones out of trouble by removing candles and cutlery. Move breakables such as vases as well as salt and pepper shakers.
Kids’ menus are often unimaginative, unhealthy, and overpriced. If your kids are adventurous, have them order from the adult menu and ask the restaurant to cut the portion by half, or split a meal among siblings. You can also just order appetizers as a meal for everyone. This can be a fun way to try new foods that can be sampled in a more casual manner. Appetizers will arrive quickly and kids can try different things, thus potentially discovering new foods they might really enjoy. If it's not a kid-friendly meal, have a quick taste first to make sure the dish is not too spicy or at extreme temperatures.
Many restaurants like to stagger orders so request that yours comes all at the same time. If your kids finish their meal before you do, chances are they won't sit still through your meal – and you won't get to eat. If necessary, take a walk while you are waiting for food. Good time to go wash little hands.
Anticipate that little things can go wrong but try to remain calm and enjoy your meal. Eating out can be a pleasurable aspect of a family night out! Oh, and grab your coffee or tea with your meal – you might not be around to enjoy it later.
What other tips have you used to survive eating out with the kids?