Your social life doesn’t have to come to a halt, just because you now have a few little ones! In fact, there are plenty of great options for families who love going out, whether that be to try new food, explore a new area or just relax in a nearby park. Here are 3 awesome ideas for dining with your family, if you want to get out of a rut and try something new, whilst still maintaining order! Follow these tips for a smoother experience.
1) Pick Restaurants That Specifically Say They Are Kid-friendly
This may seem like a no brainer, but if you run the risk of having a child throw a tantrum, you want to make sure you’re in an understanding, accepting environment. A quick google search, or skimming the reviews will usually tell you what you need to know, when being adventurous and trying new places! Penny Reidy shares what being ‘kid-friendly’ entails, and what her family likes to do:
“There are a few key criteria to search for in a kid-friendly restaurant!
1. A kids menu (preferably one that includes a main, dessert and drink). Also one with more than just chips and nuggets.
2. Colouring packs or some sort of activity to keep the kids entertained.
3. Inviting atmosphere so other diners will not hear every squeak your little one makes
In Australia we really enjoy dining at Hogs. They have a great kids menu - with a few healthy options - and it includes a drink and ice cream. The atmosphere is very family friendly with a good level of ambient music to provide an inviting vibe. Music is just loud enough to distract other diners if your little one drops their fork on the floor - or should I say when! And they offer kids colouring sheets on top of a kids play area. What more could you ask for!”
2) Start Small - Take Your Dinner Outside
If your kids are still really young, and you have haven’t had much experience taking them out and about, there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting small. Get them used to the idea of eating somewhere that isn’t as familiar to them. Kids picnic tables are a great option for doing so! Bring your lunch, or dinner outside together and enjoy your food in the sunshine. This way, you get to soak up vitamin D and get your kids used to a different environment at the same time. Even make an afternoon of it! Install a slide as an added feature to your backyard, and this will incentivize your children to associate eating out with being a fun and positive experience.
3) Bring Supplies (Backups in case of tantrums)!
Obviously, in an ideal world, toys aren’t allowed at the table - and this should one hundred percent be enforced at home. However, you may want to have a bag of tricks up your sleeve in case of an impromptu temper tantrum! Bringing their favourite doll along, or even a storybook to keep them quietly amused can be a lifesaver when the kids are screaming and all you want to do is enjoy dinner without the other diners glancing over in annoyance. Of course, remember to have a chat to your kids about their behaviour when you get home - we don’t want this to be a repeated offence! You might want to read up on common parenting mistakes, to help get your kids to be better behave on such outings!
Those 3 tips are hopefully helpful the next time you’re headed out for a fun family weekend meal. Eating out can be an awesome way to connect with your little one and makes for a simple but enjoyable, potentially inexpensive, outing with your loved ones!