taking the kids in public to eat!

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.