While many things in life get more challenging after you have kids, there are certain luxuries that you don’t have to, nor should you, give up simply because you’ll now be bringing your kids along with you. Eating out is one of those things.
If you’ve had bad experiences eating out with your kids in the past, there are things you can try to get these experiences to be more positive in the future. To help you see how this can be done, here are three tips for getting your kids to behave well when at a restaurant.
Set The Right Expectations
Doing the right preparation before you go out to eat can go a long way when you’re sitting down at a restaurant.
First, you should explain to your child what your expectations are for them when at a restaurant and what their behavior should be like. This way, both you and your kids know what will be tolerated and what won’t be. Once you have these guidelines in place, try to practice “restaurant behavior” in your home. While this can be hard, the more you practice and help your kids understand the expectation, the better they’ll become at meeting that expectation.
Feed Them Something Beforehand
In most cases, eating out at a restaurant is going to be more expensive than making a meal at home. And since most kids are happy just eating macaroni and cheese, you might want to consider just feeding your kids at home before you head off to a restaurant together.
While this will be a little more work for you on a night when you weren’t planning on preparing a meal at home, not having to feed your kids while feeding yourself can make your own meal much more enjoyable. And, if you do something like just getting your kids a dessert at the restaurant while you eat your meal, you’ll find that your kids will get their food faster, since desserts often are stored in a chiller until they are ordered. This can go a long way toward keeping your kids distracted and in their seats.
Have A Plan For Restlessness
Even with your kids knowing your expectations of them and being prepared for sitting at a restaurant, the time it takes for the whole experience to be complete can be a lot for little ones. Because of this, you should have a plan for how you’ll deal with restlessness.
Depending on your kids and their interests, you might want to bring things like coloring pages, stickers, or tablets to keep them busy. You could also take them outside to run off some of their energy while you’re waiting for your food to arrive.
If you want to be able to enjoy being at a restaurant with your kids, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you get to this point.