When you have kids, your priorities and even your lifestyle begins to change. Where before you could simply go out and have a luxurious meal, it’s a different story when you have little children with you. You begin to plan around having them while eating out and tend to choose eateries that cater to kids.
So how do you dine out effectively while everyone, including strangers, enjoy their meals? Here are a few tips that you should know, and you might leave the restaurant unscathed.
1. Be in the Know
Know everything before you go. Seriously, everything. Do they have a kids’ menu? Is it spacious enough to bring in a pram or do you have to carry your kid in your arms instead? Is there an area where you can quickly change your toddler’s nappies? Eating in a restaurant with kids can be challenging and taxing. The last thing you need is another surprise that will render you unprepared.
2. Your Kid’s Food Comes First
When you start ordering meals, many parents ask the wait staff to get the child’s food first. Some restaurants serve searing hot meals, so it is best to get it out and have it cool down so that you won’t have to stay long for your littlies to finish up. Moreover, children usually eat a lot slower than adults do, so you will more or less be able to eat everything up the same time your child does.
3. Prepare Tons of Distractions
There are things you can’t control – the time the food gets served, the large crowd at a given time, and perhaps the scariest of all is when your kid loses it and goes nuclear. This is when you need to be prepared to pacify your child if at all possible (we know there is no coming back from some meltdowns). Bring in lots of activities, such as a favorite toy, a quick video that keeps him/ her occupied, until you have weathered the storm. Most kid friendly eateries tend to have play equipment and other kids around, so with so many distractions, your child might find themselves having fun.
4. Eat Out During Off-Peak Hours
In the previous bullet point, we mentioned that you can’t control the crowd at a given time. What you can control, however, is the time that you eat out. Pick an off-peak hour where there are only a few guests, giving you and your children a lot of legroom. This will make eating out with children a lot easier to manage. Get there when your favorite eatery opens or just ten or fifteen minutes before the lunch rush can make all the difference. Choose a good table and get your food cooking before the throngs of other people come barging in.
5. Know That an Apology May Be Inevitable
Even the kindest, most well-behaved kids can have their moments. This can sometimes happen when you are eating out. While you may understand it, remember to say sorry when you or interrupt other people. A way of showing apology or appreciation for the restaurant’s accommodation is by being courteous and gracious to your wait person. You’ve been a particularly special customer, so give them a good shout out. Exceptional wait staff deserve to be named in our ratings area, so their employer can give them the recognition they deserve.