Choose your restaurant wisely – Not every restaurant will receive kids with open arms so do yourself a favour and give certain establishments a miss, believe me you’ll save yourself a lot of stress in the long run. Don’t panic though, you can still go to a decent restaurant. Just choose a restaurant that is loud enough to absorb the noise of your brood! You could end up being embarrassed in a quiet place. If you have the foresight to make a booking then by all means do, you can request a nice corner table and it will beat the hell out of standing around waiting to be seated. If you’re fortunate enough to own a lobster or something similar bring it with you or ask whether they provide high chairs before you get there.
Timing is everything – Get there early. You can’t expect a tot to stay out past their bedtime and not get grizzly. The moment you’re seated order some appetizers. Get the ball rolling early! I would even suggest ordering everything at once. Ordering a range of foods that can be shared is a fun way to dine with your family. It’s also a great way to get your kids to try new things and expand their taste buds. Ordering more than one course is only for the brave. Don’t expect you’re toddler to sit quietly while you wait between courses.
Put some manners on them - A restaurant is the perfect place to practise our “please” and “thank you’s”. So before you head out tell your kids what kind of behaviour you want to see at the restaurant. Explain how the need to courteous to other diners and be polite to the waiters. Tell them to act like adults! Don’t underestimate your children , by a certain age kids enjoy playing the grown up role, it can be quite novel! If it’s all going to plan remember to praise their good behaviour, let them know you appreciate their efforts.
Be prepared – It pays to always carry a distraction kit when you go anywhere! You might not always need it but you fail to prepare, prepare to have a few meltdowns at the table! Bring along some quiet games or some colouring books. Children’s attention spans are short. If you have a long wait for food take them for a walk and break up the monotony for them.
Tip your waitress – When you have kids you become a demanding diner. You’ll ask things like ” Can the food come quickly? Can you clean up this spillage? Can you warm up this bottle?” So make sure to tip your wait staff generously if they’ve given your family any extra care or attention. Chances are they’ll have to do a big clean on your table when you leave so keep them happy and your next visit will be a far pleasurable one.