For parents, braving a meal outside the home is an operation worthy of military-like planning and execution. Over the years I’ve earnestly avoided cooking, resulting in frequent meals out. As our family grew from two adults to being outnumbered by three people under five, our restaurant behavior morphed. Leisurely, impromptu meals at our favorite eateries were replaced with calculated meals, catering to our children’s needs. Here are five tips to ensure a pleasant family meal out, that doesn’t end in the maître d’ kindly asking you to leave.
Early Bird Special
Arriving before kids are hungry ensures a meltdown-free meal. Your little ones will brighten the patrons’ spirits with their chipper grins and everyone can eat their peas in peace.
Restaurants where coloring is encouraged on floor to ceiling chalkboards or butcher paper covered tabletops are ideal for your tiny artists. Pizza places offering pizza dough for playing are also great kid-friendly hotspots. Children will play, potentially entertaining themselves, right until the moment dinner is served.
Finding a restaurant that’s situated on kid friendly terrain is a parent’s holy grail. Whether it’s a bar and grill with a playground or a cafe adjoining a park, this happy pairing makes the most pleasant family dining experience.
Turn it Up
The noisier the atmosphere the better. If (okay, when) your child forgets to use their inside voice, demanding milk not apple juice, you’ll find solace in a ramped up ambiance. The restaurant’s racket will muffle your child’s protests until the milk finally arrives.
Do Not Enter
If the restaurant does not have a changing table in the bathroom or a children’s menu, then do not enter. These are non-negotiables when it comes to dining with kids.
Leave the iPad at home and enjoy your family meal out with these five simple tips.
Thanks for joining #TheDinnerDance on this lovely #TipTuesday. Stay tuned for the next #TheDinnerDance post with Claire Handleman’s latest recipe. As always, please share, like, comment. We love hearing what tips you have for making family mealtimes fun!