Remember the days when you and the hubby would go out to eat, as a couple? Yeah, me either! It’s true – once you have kids, you often forget about your life before them. I think its called, lack of sleep… Regardless of the reason, one thing is certain – going out any where is harder, much less a restaurant.
Do you know the saying; “there is that ONE child in every family.” In my family, that child is my younger sister. She is the reason my parents stopped taking us to restaurants for a few years. My sister was the wild child! Of course now my mother laughs as she recalls those memories of my sister trying to crawl under the table, standing up in order to get the attention of the people in the next booth, and requesting to use the restroom a million times. Although, at the time it was neither fun or exciting for my parents.
Many parents would probably use the words stressful and unpredictable to describe taking their strong willed child to a restaurant. At least, these are some words my husband and I would have initially used to describe taking our daughter to a restaurant. Through my experience, I have come up with my top 6 tips for having a successful restaurant experience with children:
- Plan Accordingly
Try heading to a restaurant while your kids are in the best possible mood. For us, this means shortly after naptime. She has a small snack and a cup of milk and then we head out. Thus, ensuring she will still have an appetite once we arrive, but not cranky with hunger.
- Call Ahead
If you are going to a place with Call Ahead Seating – USE IT! I cannot stress this enough! We try to beat the rush, but there are times when this isn’t possible. So, Call Ahead Seating is the perfect solution to ensure little to no wait time. If you have ever tried to contain a toddler in a small space, then you will understand the magic of Call Ahead Seating.
- Bring Snacks
Expect the unexpected. One evening we decided to go for pizza. We planned accordingly – shortly after her nap we gave her a snack, milk, and packed a bag of activities. Even though we arrived early, there was already a wait. After an unusually long wait time we were seated – only to be told by our server that the kitchen was back up and it would be an additional 45 minutes from the time we ordered our food. By this point we had no other choice but to stay put. Thank God I packed a bag of extra snacks as a last resort.
- Order Their Meal Immediately
I always check the kid’s menu online before heading to the restaurant. Before the waitress can even get our drink order, I order her meal. The last thing I want is a meltdown in the middle of a restaurant because there was a mishap in the kitchen. I also don’t want my food getting cold because I am busy breaking up her meal and trying to cool it off while she impatiently wants to shove it all in her mouth. So having her meal arrive first, ensures everyone the opportunity to enjoy their food.
- Bring Activities
In the beginning we brought teething toys, the iPad, and iPod. I know some families frown upon using technology at the dinner table and I get it. The dinner table is the center of family conversation and I firmly believe this. Unlike eating at home, sometimes there is a long wait before the food is brought out. This can leave a small child sitting for much longer than usually. Plus, in early stages such as these, they typically can’t hold crayons. If they are, its probably because they are trying to eat it. But as they get older, crayons and stickers become all the rage. So we now leave the technology hidden away at home.
- Use A Highchair
BEST ADVICE EVER!
Copyrighted by: Boldly Bravely You