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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Be an example
Be calm and enjoyable companions for your children. Engage in their conversation. Talk about food and something that interest them.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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,