Eating Out with Young Children

We’ve all been there… sitting in a quiet restaurant, looking forward to a nice peaceful meal when suddenly our formerly lovely kids decide to have a massive hissy fit/eat all the packets of sugar on the table/need the toilet every five minutes/flick food at the people at the next table. It is both mortifying and common for kids to lose it in restaurants, but there are a few ways to lessen the chances of creating a scene!

Here are some ideas:

1. Go for meals when you know your kids are hungry! It sounds simple, but they will get bored quickly if they don’t actually need to eat!

2. Check whether there is a children’s menu at the restaurant you are going to. If not, at least be sure there’s something your kids will eat on the menu and ask for children’s portions.

3. Don’t go to a posh restaurant when you’re kids are tired. It’s just a recipe for disaster!

4. If your children are little, why not take their favourite cutlery with you? Restaurants don’t tend to stock special kids sized cutlery.

5. If your children are in push chairs, plan ahead and make sure there is somewhere convenient to leave your buggy. It might even be possible to keep your child in their pram and serve them finger foods next to you.

6. Take a few favourite toys, colouring books and so forth to keep the children busy.We find pack of cards handy while waiting for meals to be served.

7. Have a few healthy snacks up your sleeve just in case. They’re useful for bribery too… one spoonful of that = one favourite snack. You get the idea!

8. Restaurants with play areas are fantastic for families because your children can play nearby while you enjoy your meal – so research before you go.

9. Teach your children table manners and to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the waiters. Allowing your children to order their own food is a good way to get them feeling part of the experience.

10. If your children are very young, bring their own sippy cup with you and decant their drinks into it. Restaurants tend to serve everything in glasses so this is a good way to avoid spills and breakages.

…and finally, don’t forget – when you do find a great place to eat as a family, spread the news by telling friends who also have kids. Insider info can be a life saver!

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