Kids and restaurants? How does one enjoy eating out with kids today? Why screens, obviously! Except, it is possible to have a decent family meal without those typical distractions too. Whether you have a toddler or an older child, follow these techniques to avoid being that table in a restaurant.
Choose kid-friendly: In other words, steer clear of fine-dining. From stroller check-in facility to a children’s menu and an entertainment area for kids, such places are geared to accommodate young diners. However, make sure there is ample choice on the menu for adults unless you want to end up eating pizza and fries too.
Time it well: There are two aspects to this really. First off, go to a restaurant with your kids after their basic needs have been met – snack, nap, poop preferably. Secondly, try and get their early so there’s no rush. Accidents happen, but they are best addressed when the staff is less frazzled.
Seating matters: More so, if you have a toddler who is bound to be all over the place within moments of walking in. Request a corner table and one that is close to the play area, if at all. The restaurant itself should be loud and chatty to douse any sound that might originate from that table of yours.
Keep it short: 1) Book a table 2) Scan the menu online, beforehand (that way, you know what to order rather than having to make controversial decisions there and then) 3) Ask for the check as soon as you finish 4) Pay and leave. Or run, if the case may be.
Bring your own entertainment: Most eateries provide coloring pages and crayons for kids, but if you think that’s enough to keep them busy through the course of the meal, you’re wrong. Pack your own stash of entertainment; from books to mini-puzzles and toys, anything that will keep them quiet longer.
Engage: Make the outing a family date-night and catch up with what’s happening in their lives. Not only will you dodge the I’m bored, can I have the ipad now kinda declarations, it has physical and intellectual benefits for the kids too.
Encourage good behavior: Simple things like saying please and thank you, for example. And if nothing works, get them to calculate the tip. Depending on the age of the kid, that should keep them happily occupied for a bit!