Restaurant dining with young kids can be a big challenge for parents, particularly if they seldom have the chance to eat out at restaurants. However, educating children early on about the fun of dining out will benefit everyone in the family.
When you find kid-friendly restaurants, teach children desirable table manners and practice restaurant safety with your kids, you will find going out to eat as a family can be an enjoyable thing to do!
Here are some practical ideas on how to dine at restaurants when kids are around.
Find Kid-friendly Restaurants
It’s best to find kid-friendly restaurants if children are in your dining party. You can search online for restaurants that provide high chairs, crayons, coloring books, children’s menus, and children’s utensils. All it takes is a few mouse clicks, and you can find your ideal family restaurant. Alternatively, ask friends and relatives with young kids to recommend their favorite family restaurants.
If possible, avoid formal dining establishments as the kids will get restless and bored with all the waiting. Try casual eating places or restaurants that are more tolerant towards young kids. Also, look for menus that have a kid’s section so that you can order food in smaller portions.
Teach Children Desirable Table Manners
Before stepping foot in the restaurant, teach children basic, desirable table banners. Remind children not to burp, throw food at each other, run around the restaurant, crawl under the table, argue loudly, spit or eat with fingers unless that’s how the food is supposed to be eaten. Instead, encourage them to be polite and pleasant and teach them to use utensils properly.
A good idea is first to practice table manners at home. If the family is attending a formal dinner, have an in-house formal restaurant night to practice a few days before dining out. Get everyone to dress up, use all utensils correctly and make it really fun. The kids will look forward to the real big night out!
Practice Restaurant Safety
Many hazards lurk inside a restaurant, hence the need to practice restaurant safety when kids are dining out with their families. Hot foods and drinks, as well as sharp eating utensils, can be dangerous to kids. Keep children away from hot dishes when they reach the table. Instead, let the food cool for a while first and tell the kids to wait until Mom or Dad says it’s okay to eat.
If a meat dish is ordered for a child, make sure it is thoroughly cooked. Cut the meat open to see if there is any red meat left and return it if it’s not cooked enough. Also, cut their meat into small bite-sized pieces. Never let a young child use a knife while eating.
Restaurant dining with kids can be a fun family outing, as long as parents prepare for it first. To eat at restaurants with kids, find a kid-friendly family restaurant. Also, teach children basic table manners before entering the restaurant and practice restaurant safety. Your family will be looking forward to the next meal out in no time!