Eating Out With Children
Eating out with children can be an experience! Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always interesting. Here are some tips on making sure that eating out your kids is as stress free as possible.
Choose Your Restaurant Carefully
Your restaurant choice will be heavily influence by the age and disposition of your children. If you’re going with a toddler you’ll want somewhere where the food is served quickly and you’re child has a bit more freedom. Going to a busy, loud restaurant with a child that struggles with sensory issues can prove overwhelming for them.
Have a look at restaurants that aren’t too far from home. If you have to travel for an hour to get to a restaurant, the chances are your child will be bored and irritable by the time you arrive. Try to plan restaurant visits during less busy times. Waiting in long lines for a table, slow service and harassed waiting staff do not make for a pleasant meal for anyone. Small children get bored easily and a bored, hungry child is an unhappy child.
Look At The Menu
Almost all restaurants have their menu online nowadays. When choosing where to eat make sure that there are item that your children will eat. Many restaurants will have the typical kids meal fare but some will also offer half portions of adult meals too.
Get The Kids Involved
Once you’ve whittled it down to a couple of suitable restaurants let your children help decide where to go. Give them the chance to look at the menu. Once at the restaurant encourage them to order their own meal (if their old enough), it gives them some independence and can really help with their confidence.
Don’t Go To The Restaurant Too Hungry
You want your child to be hungry for their meal but not TOO hungry. No matter which restaurant you go to it’ll take time for you to travel there, time to order and then time for the meal to be cooked and served. There is nothing like hunger to make children or all ages whiny. Let your children have a small snack before leaving for the restaurant. Choose something that’s not going to ruin their appetite. A small snack will tide the child over while they wait to order, and wait for their meal.
Many restaurants give younger children a colouring page and crayons to keep them occupied.
You could also bring their favourite cuddly toy or small figures. Avoid anything big, bulky or noisy. remember other diners want to enjoy their meal too. My kids loved Water Magic Colouring books when they were younger. They were easy to carry about and you just fill the pen with a little water. It’s clean and the beauty of them is that once the page has dried out they can “colour” the page again.
With some thought before you go it will improve the chances of you having a pleasant family meal. Do you have any tips for eating out with children?