You’ve been there, sitting at a nice quiet table with your friends, enjoying a tasty cocktail and a delicious meal when all of a sudden a child’s shreik is heard from across the room. Your thoughts immediately go out to the parents who are simply trying to enjoy an evening out with the kids. Taking your kids out for a night on the town can be a lovely, memorable experience, or one riddled with crying and temper tantrums. Here are a few quick tips to ensure that the whole family enjoys a night out with much success.
When you have to bring along the young ones, it’s a good idea to choose your eating destination wisely. Make sure that it is a family friendly restaurant with a kid’s menu. Find a location that has plenty of space between tables so that on the off chance that your kids lose their cool, you’re not disrupting your dining neighbors too much. Pick a place that is local or close. Too much travel time will end up in hyperactivity when you get there and sleeping children when you get home.
Sometimes it’s wise to eat at a restaurant that is close to some kind of entertainment for the kids. For example one that is close to the mall. It’s a good chance to burn some of that fresh energy they just consumed. Another idea is a separate place to get dessert afterword.
So you found the spot. Now comes the time to sit and dine with the little guys. It’s imperative that the main focus be ensuring they stay at the table. Kids running around in a restaurant unattended is not only rude to other customers, it’s also dangerous. An eating establishment is not a child’s playground. There are a lot of dangerous objects and obstacles.
When it comes time to eat, look for the Kid’s Menu section. Typically restaurants will have very basic and familiar items that serve as a good choice for the kids whether it be mac-n-chesse or chicken fingers, either way when the food arrives, be excited about it and encourage them to eat. Make sure to stay involved in the dining process with them, showing them your own food and how tasty it is and so on.
If you happen to have a sibling rivalry situation, be sure to sit between siblings that are chronic fighters. Hair pulling leads to screaming, crying and more fighting which isn’t fun for anyone in a restaurant. Always try to stop an argument dead in its tracks so as to keep the voice volume down. Some eateries are naturally loud so these might be places of choice if the kids are a little uncontrollable. Plus that kind of excitement can be fun for them.
Bringing toys and games from home is a discretion left up to the condition of the restaurant. Sometimes it’s accecptable if the place is noisy and there are other kids around, but remember that with toys and games, pieces can be thrown or dropped.
WHAT ABOUT ME?
Yes, there are some standards for the parents as well at eateries when dining with the kids. When you are at home, you already have certain standards to keep them safe and occupied. It is no different when at a restaurant where other people are also trying to enjoy a nice meal out. So stay on your toes and be alert to ensure that the kids are safe in their surroundings. Also being aware of other diners reactions is a good gauge as to how good of a job you are doing.
Try not to let your children take you down with them. They can be attention getters and soon you may become frustrated. They shouldn’t be loud and neither should you. Don’t become a yelling parent that loses control. Be peaceful and encouraging toward the little eaters.
Ordering drinks is fine, but this isn’t the time to party. Getting too silly with other adults will take your attention away from them and they will take advantage of that. It all comes down to being together so just remember to enjoy yourselves when dining out for family night.
A freelance writer, Wendy Kellison, learned all about the skills of eating while dating from the folks at B.J. Willy’s a resataurant in Beaverton, OR.