When you are young, single and responsibility-free, going out for a meal is one of the most relaxing pastimes you can engage in. Then, when children enter the scene, things suddenly turn on their head.
As any parent will testify, dining out with children is hardly the stress-free experience that it once was. Sure, over time things do get better, but there can be a period where dining out at a restaurant is feared, rather than hotly looked forward to.
All of the above is the reason behind today’s guide. We will now take a look at some of the best tips you can adopt to ensure that eating out with your little ones is just as fun as it used to be.
Your choice of restaurant is of paramount importance
One mistake that a lot of parents make is simply choosing the wrong type of restaurant. Suffice to say, some restaurants have something of an adult-only vibe, and it’s these that you should be looking to avoid at any opportunity.
At the same time, others are completely child-friendly. They will have children’s seats, activity packs and do anything to keep them (and you) happy. There are a lot of restaurants of this ilk in Covent Garden; which is one of the reasons why it attracts so many families.
Time your meal early
Something that can make the situation even more difficult is when hunger strikes. As adults, some of us aren’t our best selves when starvation sets in, but children can take things to a new level (and it’s completely understandable). When this does happen, their behavior will be questionable to say the least.
As such, time your meal accordingly. Make sure you are going to arrive before hunger strikes, and the chances of seeing their best version will increase significantly. As well as this, restaurants tend to be quieter, which will always help the situation.
As we have already alluded to, some restaurants arm themselves with activity packs and all sorts of other things to keep little ones entertained. However, this isn’t par for the course, and you should plan accordingly.
Pack your own distractions to pull out of the bag in case things do start to go wrong. It’s amazing what a coloring book can do when frustrations start to set in.
Set the scene before you leave
Another tactic you should adopt is to tell your children exactly what is expected of them before you travel to the restaurant. Let’s not forget that eating out is a luxury, for everyone, and it should never be taken for granted. You should tell them exactly what to expect, and that any misbehavior will result in these privileges being taken away.
Of course, this is something that might be difficult to do with younger children, but where possible delivering these expectations can work well and can ensure that everyone is signing from the same hymn sheet by the time you do arrive.