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Manage Kids in Restaurant

I have never dined out without kid for the past three and a half years. Yaseen is my best friend and the most hilarious companion. He is a free-spirit, funny and surprisingly energetic.

Eating at the restaurant can be a very fun experience for the entire family which also improves the children social interaction skills. But sometimes, managing and controlling kids in public restaurant can be a very difficult task.

Last year, I read an interesting article about some restaurants in the US banning kids coming to their restaurants which I felt strongly offended by. I knew sometimes kids can be difficult to manage but restricting them to enjoy such a wonderful experience sounded very selfish. I think if the children love to tag along, it’s our responsible as parents to see that they are enjoying and not disturbing others.

There were times that I felt so helpless and humiliated not being able to control my kid in the public. But lately I’ve learned that if the kid is happy, he is ready to listen.

So here are some tips that ensure a great whole family dinning experience in the restaurant:

  1. Make a plan
    Make a quick plan about where to go and what kind of food will be ordered. Make sure that the restaurant theme is appropriate for children and have a friendly kid menu. There should not be loud music. Call the restaurant ahead and inform them about bringing the children and reserve non-smoking area where it should also be safe and comfortable for them.
  2. Talk to kids before going to the restaurant
    Talk to them and explain to them about what to expect at the restaurant. Show them that it is going to be an amazing and fun experience and they should be in their good behavior. Set certain rules and explain why we should follow.
  3. Comfortable and Happy Kids
    Make sure that the kids are not tired or hungry. They should be in comfortable outfits. Give a time to settle their mood if they are cranky or upset. It should be their choice. If they don’t want to go, don’t force.
  4. Toys and Games
    Nothing distract children like good toys and games. Pack their favourite toys and games. Bring quite entertainment for them to play while waiting for a meal.
  5. Be an example
    Be calm and enjoyable companions for your children. Engage in their conversation. Talk about food and something that interest them.
  6. If the situation gets out of hand, remove them from the scene
    Have a little chat and try to get them back on track. If they are not ready, don’t force. Be patient and attentive.
  7. Bribe is not always a bad thing
    I often bribe my kid if he tend to get out of control. Tell them, they will get …., if they be in their good behavior.
  8. Order something that kids will enjoy
    Give them a chance to order something they like. If they like something, they’ll be involving and not make a fuss.
  9. Evaluate the entire experience
    Once you got in your car or home, with calmness and reason, try to evaluate the entire experience. Tell your kids how great they did at the restaurant and you may reward them. Talk to them about an unacceptable behavior that might have occurred, tell them why it is not nice thing to do and maybe a punishment follow.

Eating should be an enjoyable experience for everyone in your family. The children are precious little creatures that have thoughts of their own. They are ready to learn and adapt, if you communicate well. Put yourself in your children’s shoes and guild them in the way that they understand. It should not be hard, but natural.
Yaseen is very naughty and super-active. It used to be difficult to control him anywhere. These simple tips had helped us a lot. Now we learn to carry games, crayons and drawing books with us to the restaurant. He can enjoy the fun stuffs as well as food without causing any trouble at all 🙂

Have a beautiful day,
Tes

11 comments to Manage Kids in Restaurant

  • Many good tips and tricks here 🙂

  • This is excellent Tes! How will kids learn if they don’t get the opportunity?
    Your second point is the one I use the most often. Even when go shopping with the kids. I quickly run through the expectations for their behavior before we walk into a store or restaurant.

  • your little guy is cuter and cuter. he looks so bog now! eating with kids in restaurants can be challenging…thanks for tips!

  • Pallavi

    this is very helpful Tes 🙂 thanks

  • My daughter is ‘luckily’ past that age of having to worry BUT these tips are GREAT, thanks Tes and the Peanut curry dog is also wow… what do you know a great hot dog! Also well done on getting your Chicken Curry and lime leaves onto the Food Buzz top 10!

  • I almost always take my kids to eat out too except for anniversary dinner etc. 🙂 You have great tips here and they were also a great reminder. Thank you Tes!

  • I completely agree with you. If they don’t learn to go to restaurants and public places, they won’t learn how to behave in these situations. But it can be frustrating when you finally get a date night and you are stuck in the middle of tables with screaming kids surrounding you. Luckily many of the restaurants we go to tend to be sensitive to that and make sure that these groups are seperated. I appreciate that.

  • Thank you!!

    I have very lively kids, too, but eating as a family is important to us. Sometimes we feel like we are the only ones who go through this.

    Thank you for this supportive post and for the great tips.

  • Sarah McKell

    Tess,

    What you need to realize is that most parents are not like you at all. Most parents bring their kids to restaurants and allow them to act up in the most horrible ways and they do nothing about it. They have no regard for anyone else trying to enjoy a meal out in a restaurant so certain establishments banning children may be something that offends you or other parents but is a godsend for anyone else who wants to enjoy a meal without having to listen to someone else’s child yell, scream, and carry on the entire time. And trust me there are not that many restaurants that ban children. Most restaurants bend over backwards to accommodate children so heaven forbid there are actually restaurants out there that actually accommodate the child free and allow an atmosphere where there are no children. So while I do respect you for taking responsibility for your kids and wanting to teach them how to act in public I must tell you if child free restaurants offend you that’s just tough and you need to get over it. Parents and their children are accommodated almost everywhere and I think the child free deserve their places to go too besides bars! And I feel that an owner of an establishment has the right to set up their own guidelines and we just as easily can complain that too many places allow children. For every one place that bans children there is 100 more just like it who welcome them with open arms so seriously get over it.

  • your kid is gorgeous 🙂

    N’way I have a 3-year old son with a bit of ADHD on the side and it can get very very stressful bringing him to public places. Used to be so uptight about what people think of my kid but not so much anymore. You;re right, as long as we keep them happy, surprisingly they’ll listen to you.

    …and I stop going to restaurants that ban children.

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