Taking children to eat out at a restaurant can be pretty terrifying and exhausting, especially if you have no idea as to the best way to keep them in check.
There is a likelihood that you have experienced it, either being directly involve or watching from the sidelines as a parent struggles with their kids.
The fact is it is not a pleasant experience but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative one. Here are 5 tips for having a positive and fun outing with your family while showing other people that not all children can be problematic at the table.
Ensure There Are Games or Activities
When you’re eating out with kids, it is important that they have things that will keep them busy. You can get some games or any other activity that you know children can entertain themselves with.
Children naturally have curious minds that if not occupied, can make them devise their own games which may range from throwing food across the table, to banging it loudly. As such, be as creative as possible with the games that can keep them occupied while you wait to be served.
Teach Them Good Manners
Children will most times behave well when they know that they have guidelines and boundaries that they can’t exceed. Teaching children from a young age about table manners, and what behaviours are acceptable at home, against those they are expected to have in public can be immensely beneficial.
Teaching kids how they should act before stepping out of the door will not yield the positive behaviour you were hoping for, which is why you should start early and practice with them often.
Before leaving for the restaurant, discuss the rules with them as a refresher and set up clear consequences that will be enforced if they fail to behave properly. Teaching your children about appropriate behaviour takes time and effort but you will enjoy it on the long run.
However ensure that you use positive or neutral language. Avoid phrases like, “Don’t throw your cutlery” and instead opt for phrases like, “Always keep your spoons on the table or in your hand, please.” Talking positively helps children focus on what they should do rather than what they shouldn’t, while also helping to prevent bad behaviour.
Choose A Children-friendly Restaurant
It is best to choose a restaurant based on how the kids you’re withstand when eating out. Look for an environment that fits. If they have a difficult time staying quiet, for example, chose a restaurant where people won’t be disturbed by their noise.
Casual restaurants are best but you shouldn’t be afraid to try new restaurants, either. Your child’s perspective on dining out and their exposure to a wide variety of food will provide them with a better outlook on dining in general.
Sit Near Exits
If you are eating out with young children or toddlers, you should sit outside, if it is possible. If not, sit Near Exits. By doing so, you can easily leave the table with a kid throwing a tantrum without having to manoeuvre around other tables, chairs, diners, and waiters.
Make Eating Out Special
Whether you’re a child or an adult, eating out should be a special experience that is different from eating at home. To make the experience a unique one for your children, consider finding something you can do to set the experience apart.
You could choose to end the meal with something the kids will find attractive such as a fun kiddy cocktail. This will not only add some fun to your outing, but can also serve as a reward for good behaviour.