Take the kids out to eat in public is a big adventure and sometimes a scary one. If you have one kiddo under the age of 6 months and he/she is still in the car seat bucket . . . . YOU SHOULD BE GOING OUT TO EAT A LOT. Because once that little bugger grows outta that bucket and into a real car seat and a high chair, the experience changes. I'm not saying it changes for the worse always, BUT it changes. I do highly recommend taking your kiddos out to restaurants. Don't be afraid of it, just find the right restaurants to meet your family's needs. Here are a couple of tips to taking the kiddos out to eat.
- In the beginning when the kids were younger I use to call ahead and order the kids food as takeout. When we got to the restaurant I would grab the kids take out food and sit down at our table. The kids were happy eating their food. Since kids take a bit longer to eat the timing worked out perfectly. They were finished eating by the time our food arrived and we would place their dessert order.
- Unless we are going to dinner with another family we do NOT go to places where the kids can get down and play. I want our children to learn to sit at a table, keep their voices down and have a nice time talking.
- If I can avoid it I don't allow the kids to get the crayons and coloring books that are offered. Again, I want them to enjoy the atmosphere and learn to have a conversation with us.
- All of our children order their own food. I make sure they each know what they want before the server comes to our table. If I have a kid humming and hawing and wasting the servers time we quickly move onto the next kid and allow them to order.
- And lastly, it's not a bad idea to take two cars to a restaurant if you are first timer heading out. In our house the bad kids don't get to stay at the restaurant, they are quietly escorted home to bed without dinner.
I know this all sounds harsh. But think about the naughty kid(s) who I am sure you have sat next too while you were trying to have a nice meal. I don't want to have one of those kids. It has taken a lot training to get to where we are and we are almost enjoying all of our dinners out.