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5 Helpful Tips When Dining Out With Children

Updated on January 8, 2013
5 Helpful Tips When Eating Out With The Kids
5 Helpful Tips When Eating Out With The Kids

Where Do You Want to Eat?

With everyone so busy these days it is hard to find the time to cook a home cooked meal every day. And at the end of a hard work week, sometimes you just want to go out, have a good meal, and have someone else deal with the mess. But when you have children, dining out can be as as staying home and cooking dinner yourself. And if you have children, the last thing you want to do is spend money on a meal and not enjoy it. This is a short list of five things you can do to make dining out with children more enjoyable for all involved.

Go To A Kid Friendly Restaurant
Go To A Kid Friendly Restaurant

Lower Your Expectations

While it is true that life does not end when you have children, your life does change. And this means that if you are going to take children out to dinner you may have to lower your expectations. The nice little romantic restaurant with the great pesto may not be the best place to take your children as the atmosphere and the menu may not be kid friendly.

So many times parents set their children up to fail by taking them to a restaurant that has nothing for kids. This usually ends up with the children bored and upset and ruins your dining experience. The answer: simply don’t do it. Save that nice restaurant for a dining experience for adults. Go to a kid friendly restaurant to have a family night. While the pesto may not be as good, the experience will be better and everyone, including yourself, will be happier.

Make Sure There Is A Kids Menu
Make Sure There Is A Kids Menu

Kids Menu

This may seem obvious but when you go out to eat with children make sure the restaurant offers a kids menu. If the menu comes with some coloring pages and crayons that would be ideal. Children get excited about ordering their own dinner and during the lull times an activity will keep them calm and make the dining experience better for everyone.

Keep Time Waiting In Line To A Minimum
Keep Time Waiting In Line To A Minimum

No Waiting

When you take kids out to dinner you only have so much time before they will lose interest and perhaps make the dining experience not as enjoyable as you have hoped. Depending on the age of the children, long waits for a table can ruin a night out. As part of lowering your expectations, you may have to get to a popular restaurant earlier than you normally would to lessen the wait time. If you are going to a restaurant that takes reservations, make them. Time is of the essence though so do everything you can to make most of your time eating and enjoying your dinner rather than waiting in the lobby.

If you do have to wait for a table, bringing a coloring book or other simple activity can salvage the evening for everyone. The value of "I spy" is unprecedented in these times.

Ice Cream!!!
Ice Cream!!!

Save Something For Last

To make your dining experience enjoyable, save something great for the end of the meal. Usually this means dessert but not always. Be sure to let the kids know that if dinner goes great, there is something waiting for them at the end that they surely do not want to miss. This could be a trip to the video store to pick out a move, a walk around a play area that exists in most strip malls or just plain old ice cream after dinner. This will give your kids incentive and you get to have some fun too.

Have Fun
Have Fun

Have Fun

So many parents tend to put their children in situations where the children are doomed to fail. And then neither the children nor the parents enjoy their night out. Why bother? Take your kids to a restaurant they will enjoy and you will enjoy the evening as well. There are some great restaurants out there that have good food in a kid friendly environment. If you choose well, these restaurants will become part of your routine and you and the kids will look forward to going to them.

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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I agree itfergs. My advice comes from a lot of trial and errror. Sense of entitlement gone.

      Thanks for reading

    • itfergs profile image

      itfergs 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very realistic advice, we've held "high hopes" on many outtings to restaurants which turned ugly! I also think that removing your inherent sense of entitlement as a parent is important and to acknowledge that bringing your baby into a bistro isn't exactly the best option.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for reading

    • profile image

      ruffridyer 

      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      Some good practical advice. Thank you.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      That always helps Princess.

      Thanks for reading

    • princess g profile image

      princess g 

      7 years ago

      My kids are excellent when we go out to eat, but probably only because we rarely do it, and it's a big treat:)

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Totally agree with you Booker. And I see so many parents put the kids into situations where the kids are probably going to fail. Why do that to the kids or to yourself. Thinks from the kids perspective a little bit, and you know what, you will find that you are having fun too.

      Thanks for stopping by

    • BookerC profile image

      BookerC 

      7 years ago from Mid Atlantic

      Keeping your expectaions low is the most practical advice ( in my eyes) from this very helpful article. It is hard for parents to set their own expectaions aside, as they are the ones who will paying the tab. One of the greatest challenges of parenting is the balance between doing things for your children and doing things for yourself. Be patient and your time will come. Parenting is the toughest job that you will ever love.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      7 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I am guilty of that myself kim. These are some things we keep in mind that helps us enjoy the time. But stress is stress, and can ruin even the best of intentions.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • kimballtrombone profile image

      kimballtrombone 

      7 years ago

      Great ideas. Too often my wife and I are stressed out and don't enjoy it when we take the kids out to dinner with us because of expectations that may be too high and because of not really planning.

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