How often do you resist the temptation to go out for a meal fearing that your child might not behave appropriately? Or simply because you feel that your child might feel uncomfortable? For many parents, this is a constant dilemma. Quite many avoid restaurant visits completely until the child ‘grows up’, thereby giving up some enjoyable and precious family time moments. Here are a few handy tips for parents to make their meals enjoyable along with their children.
10 Restaurant Survival Tips for Parents
Here are some DOs
- Train your kids: It is not always good to restrain your child forcibly. But, you can teach your kids on how to behave when in a public place. You can actually play restaurant at home with your kids and teach them few etiquettes such as how to sit there for longer durations (from a kid’s point of view), how to eat without spilling food, how not to pour drinks on the table or on the chair, etc. Don’t forget to reward them for good behaviour, even in the mock session. Rewarding your kids for good behaviour can actually shape up their grown up personality.
- Keep them engaged: In the above point, sitting idle for longer durations is mentioned. Kids don’t like to sit around idle for long and how to make them sit idle for longer time? Engage them in some kind of game. You can carry small toys (which are not objectionable to the restaurant) which you can give them to play around on the table, until the order arrives. Speak to the child, don’t make them feel neglected, answer their queries and involve them while placing the order. Make the entire experience memorable and pleasant for the child and yourself.
- Choose the best time: The key to a good restaurant experience even with kids around is going at the right time imaginable. Generally, kids have their lunch or dinner much earlier than adults. Hence, choose a time which coincides with your kids’ hunger and there is less rush at the restaurant. Say, your kids have their dinner between 6:00 and 7:00 PM. Reach the restaurant by 6:00 PM and order food first for your kids. After they finish their meals and feel drowsy, you can start placing orders for you and your spouse.
- Choose a cabin: Prefer to choose a cabin instead of a regular table. In a regular table, the chances for your kids to get down from their chairs and running hither and thither are much higher. When you choose a cabin, parents can sit on the either side of the entrance blocking their way out. In other words, ‘what’s inside the cabin stays in the cabin’. Until your kids are little older maintain a list of restaurants in your locality with small cabin facility.
- Take a U-turn from the restaurant: Yes, it may sound little crazy, but one of the best ways to avoid embarrassments. Do this when you think that you are not ready to handle your kids in a public place. Just go to the restaurant, go straight to the ‘take away’ section, place your order and return to home. In this way, you don’t have to worry about your kids yelling or playing ‘catch me if you can’ in the lobby.
- Do not carry crayons or pencils: In an effort to engage your child, do not carry crayons or pencils. Crayons are okay as long as your kids have a paper to scribble along. But, when the paper’s done, chances are that your kids might actually scribble on the table cloth or on the chair are much higher. Imagine a white table cloth with bright red or dark green scribbling of the sun or moon on it. It would be very embarrassing, right.
- Serving hot food: Most restaurants serve their food steaming hot. Kids are like heat magnets, always touching the hottest things around. You wouldn’t want your child to touch something very hot. The moment, the waiter brings in the hot stuff, keep the hot stuff with yourself far from the reach of your children.
- Keep away sharp things: Not surprisingly, a restaurant table is full of sharp things like forks and knives. As soon as you spot them, either keep them out the reach of your children, or simply hand them over to the waiter as soon as he arrives. This way, you can avoid situations of anyone getting hurt. Also make sure to move away the cutlery to the table’s corner far from the reach of children.
- Diaper change: There are chances that your baby might need diaper change while dining. Do not change it at the table itself. Instead, ask the waiter, if there is a better place to do it. Or else, your car might be the only option.
- Beware of smoking: Though smoking in public places like restaurants is banned, still there are few restaurants that allow smoking. Enquire first and avoid going to such restaurants. Do not let your child be in such a place in the first hand. Second hand smoke is as dangerous as smoking and still worse. The little lungs of your child cannot bear such high amounts of smoke.
Depending upon the situations and your child’s behaviour or personality traits (some observable), you can improvise. We must
remember that kids are kids and the way they play around, scream or have fun, we would never be able to do it for the rest of our lives. Almost everybody would agree that childhood is the best time in life. Having kids does not kill your life, instead it improves your life and takes to the next level. Kids make you and your spouse happy and wonder still, having kids can actually prolong your life, as one study says.
If you’ve successfully survived with your little one in a public place, please share your tips/tricks/advices/experience with our readers. We would love to hear you.