Tips For Eating Out With Kids and Enjoying Yourself
- Parents Only
By Jo McPherson, ellaslist explorer
Dining out doesn’t have to be a minefield if you think ahead and prepare a little. Here are some of our tips to guarantee a fun time for all.
Pack a bag of supplies
Get the children (and you) to pack a bag of activities to entertain them whilst you are out. Suggestions may include a book, colouring pencils and paper, stickers, simple small games and quiet toys; we also include the ipad with headphones as a backup. If your child is inclined to get really restless, pack a couple of new, small toys that will hold their interest.
Choose your restaurant carefully
Your choice of restaurant may be different now that you have children. Choose a child-friendly restaurant where the staff and other patrons won’t mind a little extra noise. Make a reservation if possible, so you don’t have to wait to be seated.
Set some ground rules, and enforce them at home
Let your children know your expectations from them before you go, on arrival and during the meal. This might include putting in some fidget breaks before the meal and between courses; young children can find it challenging to have to sit in one place for a complete meal.
Be among the first to arrive so that you can be seated and served more quickly. Having to wait is another challenge that no one likes, especially little ones.
Be prepared to alter your plans
It is absolutely fine to change your plans if things start to go wrong. If your child is tired, sick or over stimulated a meal out can start to go horribly wrong. Be ready to quickly finish your meal, pay and leave. It is best to maintain a positive experience than for everyone to become stressed and upset. Eating out should be fun for everyone and a special event.
Order kid-friendly food
Yes, it would be great if your child tried something new and had a healthy meal but eating out is not the time to insist on this. Choose meals that you know your child likes and will eat. Order from the kids menu, and often a dessert will be included, which can be used as encouragement for good behaviour during the meal. Perhaps to keep eating out special this may be the time your child can have a juice or fizzy drink.
Be aware of others
Sometimes children are a little messy so take a bag and wipes so that you can clean up a little after yourselves. It will be noticed and next time you go the staff will remember you. Also if your child does get upset think about how you will distract them. It is OK to go for a little walk to calm down and come back to your meal. You may want to tag team with other adults at the table so that you all get to enjoy your meals.
- Bring an Entertainment bag – with wipes and rubbish bag
- Choose child friendly restaurant
- Set ground rules
- Select kid friendly meals
- Remember children find it really hard to sit in one place
- Share the load with other adults
- Have an exit plan if all goes wrong
We are a small family originally from the UK. Dave (my husband) and I are in our 40’s and moved to Sydney about 10 years ago; we can’t imagine living anywhere else now.
We have one daughter, Ellie, who is 7 and into anything that we offer her. She loves craft, drama, dressing up, swimming (particularly as a mermaid), cycling and anything else you may suggest she does. We also have a gorgeous dog, Rosie who is our best friend and ball lover.
Dave is an IT architect and in his free time used to play many computer games however now we have a home, his free time is used to garden and do the DIY jobs that I am really hopeless at.
I’m a teacher and work with children and their families that have autism. It is a rewarding job and I love it. I also love the school holidays where Ellie and I can go off and explore Sydney.
We all love travelling and doing new things; we are often browsing the ‘net for interesting things to see and do. Every school holiday we are busy doing things. My friends are always saying “you do so much with Ellie; you are always doing something different”! I wouldn’t have it any other way.