Sometimes, after a long week of work, you may just want to grab the family and go out to eat. Going out to eat is fun because the restaurant does all the work from the cooking to the cleaning. With so many great restaurants in New Orleans, it certainly can be a nice treat. But, eating out with your kids may be a little stressful. With some planning and practice, your family can enjoy a peaceful meal out on the town.
10 Tips For Eating Out With Young Kids
Practice Makes Perfect
It is important to practice at home before going out to a restaurant. Practice proper dinner manners at the dinner table. You may even consider inviting some of the favorite dolls and stuffed animals to join you. Use the utensils and wait for your child to also use them..as properly as they can. Your kids will be better equipped to follow the dining etiquette rules if they know what is actually expected of them at the table.
Select The Right Restaurant
Before eating out with your young kids, make sure that you pick the right restaurant with a menu that your kids will enjoy. Restaurants with more activity that are little more casual may be the best places to start with your kids.
Prepare for the “I’m Bored”
Waiting for a meal to arrive is difficult for adults when they are hungry, so prepare for the possibility of some HANGRY kids. Consider ordering some appetizers while you wait for the main dishes. Also, many restaurants will prepare the kids’ meals quickly and bring them to the table first at your request.
Bring Activities For Entertainment
Consider bringing coloring books or even puzzles and games to keep your kids occupied. You can even play little games like “Simon Says” and” I Spy” to help pass the time. You can also hand over your phone or bring a tablet to help entertain them as well.
Timing is Everything
It is important to select the best time to eat. You do not want your child to be too tired or too hungry. Going early to a restaurant also may be a better time because there will be fewer guests.
It may sound ridiculous to bring food to a restaurant, but if you have kids, come prepared. Appetizers may take time to come, so some goldfish crackers or some cheerios may be just enough.
Include Your Kids In The Conversation
Treat your kids like little adults by including them in the conversation. Make them feel like they are part of the dinner conversation by asking them questions about their day at school.
Set Expectations Before Going To Dinner
Let your kids know how you expect them to act at the restaurant. At this point, you have had several trial runs at home practicing all of the rules. If your child is a perfect angel, offer him/her the dessert menu. If your child was not good, then there will be no dessert. This reward and punishment is just enough to encourage good behavior.
Don’t Fret Over Spilled Milk
Spills happen to kids…they even happen to adults. It is okay. Take care of the problem and move on with your meal.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…Try, Try, Again
If your first dinner outing is a catastrophe, don’t give up. Kids will learn. Adults will learn and adapt too. It simply takes practice and patience.
Check out some of our other tips HERE.