4 Hacks for Taking Children Out to Eat

A common issue that parents deal with when going out to eat with their kids. They can either hire a sitter to watch those kids at home or take their children with them. Before you take out your own kids, you might hear horror stories about parents who let their kids run wild, children knocking down servers or knocking things out of their hands and kids just generally making messes. The restaurant industry has such a poor view of kids today that some now ban children under a certain age from eating there, even with adults. With the right hacks, you can keep an eye on your kids as you take them out to eat and stop them from disrupting other diners.

1- Choose the Right Restaurant

When you decide to have kids, you must accept that your life will change. Having children means putting their needs above your own and making changes to accommodate those kids in your life. Far too many parents think that they can lead the same lives that they did before having kids. They don’t think twice about heading to the same fancy and elegant French restaurant they went to while dating and bringing their kids along with them. Choosing the right restaurant will make your trip more pleasurable and help you avoid the looks you get from other diners. Though you don’t need to avoid all sit down restaurants, you should stick to those that welcome families like small diners and restaurant chains.

2- Distract Your Kids

What do you do with your kids when you’re making dinner at home? You probably do what other parents do and let them play with their favorite toys, sit them down with a book or let them watch television for a bit. If you think that your child can handle eating out without any distractions, you should think again. Kids need something to occupy both their hands and their minds. Bringing something from home can help. You can download some age appropriate apps to a tablet and let your kid have fun playing games or learning from those apps. A tablet can distract them with a few short videos too. You might let your kids draw, color or read at the table too.

3- Teach Your Child Manners

The next time that you stop by a restaurant for a quick bite to eat, pay attention to some of the children that you see and hear. Parents who teach their children manners also teach their kids how to act and behave in public. Those kids are so quiet that you might not even notice that they’re there. You can take the time to teach your children manners as well. Start with basic lessons at home like how they can eat with utensils, what they can order off menus and what they should not do. Practicing and playing restaurant at home can help.

4- Eat at the Right Time of Day

If you wander into a restaurant at ten o’clock at night, you can expect to get a few looks from other diners when they see your kids. Eating late at night can make your kids act out too. They will likely feel tired and want to go to bed, which can make them irritated or even angry. Kids eating late at night are more likely to throw tantrums too. The best time of day to eat is usually in the late afternoon or early. Avoiding the dinner rush, which usually starts around five or six, helps your children focus on their meals without feeling tired and cranky and without worrying about the other people in the restaurant.

Taking your kids out to eat isn’t always as pleasant as you might think or expect. Kids tend to act out in unfamiliar situations and may feel cranky because of the new people in the room or because the restaurant doesn’t have dishes on the menu that they like. Using a few hacks can make your experience a little more pleasurable and keep your kids occupied until the food arrives and until everyone finishes eating. Try eating out earlier in the day, teaching your kids manners, bringing along some distractions and picking the right restaurant.