Recently on our day trip to Charleston, we decided that we would stop in at a restaurant downtown called “Blossom”. Instantly the thought of dining out with Isla and Sarah sent me into an anxiety attack. Normally we don’t eat out in resturants due to how hectic it can be, and my husband nor I am ever able to actually enjoy ourselves.
Although this was an impromptu trip, I have been working with the girls on behaving in restaurants, because no one wants to have their meals ruined by loud and rambunctious toddlers. If you are one of those parents that feel the same way I do when it comes to dining out, here are few tips that I used to help make this experience pleasurable (for the first time ever, might I add), for all of the us-including the people around us!
Ask to be seated away from others.
I used to feel that this was something I should never have to do as a parent. But I’ve learned over the years, for my sanity, that this is probably one of the best moves that I could make. There are restaurants that have sections designated for families with kids. If the one you are visiting does not, simply ask if there is any way that they can seat you privately, as not to disturb others. Most will appreciate you being courteous of that from the start and are willing to accommodate your request.
Bring along an activity.
Depending on the type of restaurant it is, they may already have crayons and coloring pages available, however, if they don’t, try and pack some small *quiet* activities of your own. We brought a small Lego kit from the Dollar Tree for my eight-year-old, and a few crayons and coloring pages for the girls. This was a lifesaver for me while I waited for my husband to park the car and come inside (he was gone about 20 minutes since he had to walk back to the Battery).
Bring snacks or order an appetizer.
Bringing food to a restaurant when you are about to eat may sound silly, but having worked in restaurants I can tell you anything can happen. Which means as much as you want your food to come out quickly, try and be prepared for the worst. Adults get “hangry” when they haven’t eaten, so you can imagine that kids get the same way, times ten. I know a lot of parents who I have eaten out with, feel as if it is important that their kids learn patience and just wait for their food. However, I can tell you for the other patrons who are sitting around you, this isn’t always the best practice. It may work for older children but not with younger ones.
How do you handle dining out with young children? If you have any tips, be sure to share them below!
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