Family | Eating out with kids in peace

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Restauranteurs say the only way to get children used of dining out is to start bringing them out young. But how can you get them settled into the dining out scene? 

A meal out with young children can often be more about endurance testing than enjoyable. Boredom, not liking any of the food and being forced to sit in the one spot for up to two hours is a test too far for children, and parents alike.

So, how do you teach children to behave in a restaurant? There are many techniques that you can try to enjoy eating out with kids. 

Not all restaurants welcome children. Call ahead to give them notice and enquire about their children’s menu. As the economy is improving, more people are dining out so ensure you book in advance. It can just be as stressful waiting for an hour for a table or driving around to looking for something to eat.

Eat early. An over-tired and over-hungry child is not going to behave anywhere. Take advantage of early bird menus and when the restaurant is less busy during the early evenings. Dining out at this time also means staying on track with their own routines.

Essential Distractions

Some restaurants may have colouring books on hand to entertain children. However, it’s important to have your own items to keep them occupied. Tablets and phones have been the distraction tool of choice in recent years. This is often not welcome by other guests thanks to the high noise and animation levels so ensure you bring headphones along with you. Alternatively, bring books.

You may have high expectations for your child when dining out but they may not know what they are. Explain or show them how they should behave in a restaurant and perhaps have a trial run at home. It’s a long time to sit still and be quiet so reward them for their efforts with a nice dessert or something else.