How to Eat Out at a Restaurant with Young Kids
Firstly, you should make sure that you are checking the restaurant’s policy before starting to eat. You should know how quiet the place is, how much room you can use, and what kind of food they serve. You want to know whether or not your kids can enjoy themselves and whether there are any other restrictions to their behavior. There are many places that allow children under a certain age but they’ll still ask questions!
Secondly, you must have the right attitude, such as enjoying and wanting the best for your kids. You should try to make sure that your children are seated where they can be seen by you, but where they won’t disturb other people. You should also decide on an eating schedule that doesn’t allow your kids to get too hungry. This will lessen their chances of acting up during the meal and it will keep them more in tune with the pace of the place.
Choosing the Right Restaurant
TIP: When it comes to food, the younger the children are, the more important it is to stick with what they want. If a child asks for something and their parents do not like it, they can blame the restaurant. [Example: You will be angry if your kid asks for a hamburger and you ordered steak].
TIP: When picking out a restaurant for eating, the fine print matters. [Example: “Chef’s choice entrees are subject to availability”]. However, at least you can get a range of things from the same flyer.
TIP: Read the menu carefully and make sure you know what is on it.
TIP: Check the hours when you pick out a restaurant for eating. If it is only open during peak times, choose another restaurant.
TIP: If you want something more than take out service, save the receipt and ask to see your bill before deciding on whether or not to go there for dining. Also check the restroom that you can find when you walk in. If it is not clean and even if it is, this is one place where you will know that things have gone wrong.
TIP: When checking out at the counter, make sure the person taking your order is not doing anything else. It is acceptable to ask that they check their phone so that you can get their attention when you want something.
General Etiquette when Dining out with Children
TIP: The same rules for your behavior applies when it comes to other parents dining out with their children. Ask first before sitting down with your kids. This is the time to be polite and share space.
While you may be comfortable with your kids behaving like they do at home, in public settings you will need to make a conscious effort to teach yourself and your child how to behave appropriately.
Check out a general list of etiquette rules to follow during the middle of the day or night.
1. If you are dining at a family-style restaurant, ask questions about their children’s menu before you order.
2. Outlets that have a children’s meal, such as a salad, chicken tenders and fries, or a grilled cheese sandwich, are generally safe.
3. Restaurants that have high chairs or booster seats in the dining room are safe.
4. Restaurants that have bar seats for adults are also safe for children to dine with you there (as long as it is not in an area where you can’t hear your children). You might need a manager or host to provide you with this service.
5. Some restaurants have a contract in place with their local school districts to serve children under the age of 12. If this is the case, proceed with caution.
6. Restaurants that allow patrons to bring their own children are safe as long as they do not serve children in wheelchairs or scooters and the child is clearly being supervised by an adult.
Practical Tips to Keep the Kids Busy
TIP: If you don’t want your child to get annoyed because they can’t do the things that they want, try and be responsible. You should take them out of the restaurant when you see that other parents are being rude by taking food or leaving without paying or mixing drinks. Try and give them an activity like coloring a picture or playing with toys so your child will not feel bored out of their mind. It’s better to take something with you just in case the restaurant doesn’t have toys or crayons. Try and take your child to a restaurant that is more casual, so they will enjoy their experience.
TIP: If you are at a drive through restaurant, try and have your own crayons and coloring book to help keep the wait less stressful for your little one. Try and bring a toy or stuffed animal to keep them occupied, or even consider putting an ipod on shuffle.
TIP: If you are in a place that doesn’t have crayons or coloring books, consider bringing some of your own. Try and keep them entertained with a small toy or stuffed animal so they’ll be busy while you’re ordering. Try and make the orders to go if you can, so you don’t have to wait as long.