4 tips for dining out with small children
Published June 02, 2017
In its 2016 National Dining Survey, Zagat found that the average person dines out 4.5 times per week. That figure may seem high to some, especially parents with young children at home. While parents of young children may not dine out as often as the average person, there are ways for families to plan fun nights out on the town, no matter how young their kids might be.
Find family-friendly restaurants. The establishments where families choose to do their dining can make all the difference. Trendy hotspots or upscale restaurants may not be great choices for family nights out. Such establishments may be too expensive or fail to offer kid-friendly fare, and parents of especially young children may feel uncomfortable if their tots begin to cry in the middle of dinner. When choosing a restaurant for a family night out, parents should look for a spot thatÕs naturally more noisy so a crying baby or excited child wonÕt make moms and dads or other diners uncomfortable. Diners or chain restaurants tend to offer kidsÕ menus in addition to plenty of dishes that kids will readily consume.
Choose the right time. Dining out at night can be difficult for families, as kids might be growing tired. Instead of a night out on the town, book a mid- to late-afternoon out. Restaurants tend to be less busy during these times of day, and parents can relax and enjoy the company of their children while still getting out of the house for a family meal together.
Bring along some entertainment. Some kid-friendly restaurants may provide crayons and placemats that kids can use to create their own artistic masterpieces. But parents should bring backup entertainment just in case. Pack some crayons and coloring books or bring along a book to read to your children while you wait for your meal to be delivered. Bring along a couple of toys to keep especially young children occupied as well.
Practice dining out at home. Parents of young children who have yet to try dining out as a family can make a few practice runs at home. Choose a night at home to teach kids how to behave at restaurants. If kids tend to squirm a lot or take long periods of time to eat meals at home, explain to them that such behavior is unacceptable at restaurants, encouraging them to sit still and focus on eating their meals during your practice run.
Nights out on the town as a family may make parents of young children nervous or hesitant. But there are a handful of ways to make sure such excursions are fun for kids and parents alike.