Our family loves to go out to eat but taking little ones can sometimes be taxing. As a parent, you hate to be the one that runs someone else’s dining experience with a noisy, crying child. Along the way, I have learned a few tricks to keep our dining experience pleasant and fun for everyone.
1. Make sure you book your dining experience after nap time and before bed time. Have you ever been in a restaurant where a child obviously needs to sleep? It is hard and unpleasant and the child is either whiny or hyperactive. A child who is tired has a harder time controlling themselves and it can be very embarrassing for a parent. A well rested child has an easier time sitting in a chair. This is not always the easiest to accomplish but just inform those you will be dining with in advance that you will need the time that best works for your child. Everyone wants a fun, pleasant dining experience so even those without children will understand.
2. Avoid wait times. If you are going to a restaurant notorious for long wait times, either make reservations or have someone who does not have children get there in advance to get “in line” for the table. A child who has to sit for a long time waiting will not be able to keep contained at a table as well.
3. Pack an activity bag. Small cars, crayons and coloring books, small books, or even small snacks help a child to stay occupied at the table. Keep those little fingers busy and you won’t find them knocking over glasses.
4. Ask the waitress to bring your child’s meal as soon as possible. A small child should not have to wait until everyone else’s meal is prepared. Let them eat as soon as it is ready. It isn’t rude in a restaurant setting where you are trying to make the experience pleasant for everyone. Children do not understand having to wait a long time for dinner.
5. If your child is melting down, take them out of the restaurant and let them expend their energies outside for a few minutes. Restaurants normally have a little bit of lawn; let your child run on it for a minute. Bring them back in when they seem in control of their emotions.
6. If you plan to be drinking or spending a long time visiting at a restaurant leave your child with a sitter. A little Merlot wine may be okay while with your child but in order to keep your child safe and to keep your cool with your child, stay away from the alcohol. A child kept in a restaurant for more than 45 – 60 minutes is going to be harder and harder to keep quiet, still, and polite at the table so anything over that is probably best to get a sitter.
So the next time you head out with your children have a great time and enjoy your family dining. What tips do you have for a fun family dining experience?Tweet