So how do mom and dad accomplish a successful night out to eat with the kids? It’s not that hard, with a little key preparation beforehand.
Steps to Set the Family up for Success When Dining Out
To have a great evening out with young kids at a restaurant, parents can try the following ideas:
- Make sure the kids sit down beforehand and explain what is expected of them at the restaurant. It may sound silly to grownups, but for children who have never been to a restaurant, it is important for mom and dad to go over what will happen and what is expected, including how the children should behave.
- Choose a family friendly place. This way if the kids do get a little loud, it will not be so noticeable like it would be at an expensive five-star restaurant, where there most likely will not be any other children around.
- Timing is key. Try to go around the kids' usually meal time. If the kids are used to eating dinner at 5:30pm and mom and dad make reservations for 7:00pm it’s going to spell disaster! The kids are going to be hungry and cranky way before the food arrives.
- Pack a bag of tricks. A few key items to play with while the kids wait for the food to come could mean the difference between disaster and a successful outing. Keep the items small and try to have them do double duty.
Some Great Toys to Keep Kids Busy at a Restaurant
Kids have short attention spans and can't sit still for long. Many won't wait patiently for their meals. Parents can keep them busy with some fun activities.
- Crayola Click-em On Markers– These are great for this purpose. Not only can they be used as markers to draw on the back of a placemat, kids can click them together and create all kinds of shapes. Make a game out of it and have the kids see who can create the tallest tower or the most unique structure.
- Crayola Color Wonder Watercolors –No water is required for these really cool water color markers. Kids can create a design on the back of their placemat or bring along a printable from one of their favorite shows for them to color.
- Mad Libs– For older children Mad Libs is great fun. They can take turns writing in the words and reading the stories to each other. For younger kids Mad Libs makes a dry erase book that lets them complete the silly faces. It’s great fun for little ones and they get to erase and do it all over again!
Waiting and sitting still can be really hard for younger kids. By doing some preparation before-hand mom and dad can make a meal out a successful event. Younger children do better when they know what to expect, so be sure to go over expectations well before leaving the house.
In addition, make sure to have a bag of tricks ready to keep kids busy while they wait for their food to come. A few key items to keep kids occupied can mean the difference between a great family meal out and a night full of disaster!