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Here are our tried and tested tips for having a kid friendly restaurant experience. These will work different ways, depending on the age, and personality of your children. So with all of our advice and suggestions, please adapt these ideas for creating a kid friendly restaurant experience to your own situation and family. These tips should make dining out with kids a bit more enjoyable and stress-free.
Whether you are on a short family vacation or more extended travel, getting the kids to eat well is obviously vital! We’ve found that if you follow these basic tips, it means that restaurant meals are something to be looked forward to, rather than dread.
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6 Tips For Creating A Kid Friendly Restaurant Experience
Eat Out Early
Eating early has multiple benefits. Obviously, the munchkins need to get to bed at a decent time. But secondly, if you eat early, you’re likely to go into an emptier restaurant, so there will be more space for your children and your service will be quicker. All that contributes to a less stressful meal with kids and a more kid friendly restaurant environment.
Get A Suitable Space In The Restaurant
Having an appropriate space in the restaurant can be a lot less stressful for everyone. If you’re traveling with a couple of adults, get one adult to go in ahead and talk to the waiter or waitress about your needs. Say “we’re traveling with kids and a pram” and we’re going to need a space for the pram or a high chair and we’d like to be away from the other patrons. Most restaurants can accommodate parties dining out with kids.
By the way, a quiet corner at the back of the restaurant is a great place to be! A back corner tends to allow you a little bit of space. It is even better still if the children are being a little bit loud or disruptive (they are kids after all).
The other great spot for kids is out on a veranda or balcony, where you’re in the open air, and the kids can watch the world go by. It also allows them to be a little bit loud and rowdy with disrupting the rest of the restaurant.
Talk To The Kids About What They Want To Eat Before Arriving
Often, your kids will have a fairly clear idea of their meal preferences, especially if they’re going to be picking from a kids menu. The most common items on a kids menu are fish and chips, kids nuggets, kids pizza and kids Spaghetti Bolognese on the list. Knowing what your child’s choices help create a more kid friendly restaurant experience for them.
For example, you know your kid likes one of them, you can order what they want in advance. The same applies to drinks. Know what they want so you can order immediately.
Get The Drinks Quickly
As soon as you are seated, ask for your drinks very quickly. Explain to your waiter or waitress that we’re dining out with kids so we would appreciate quick service.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but some places take pride in dining as a leisurely experience. Unfortunately, eating with kids is not a leisurely thing; it’s an experience that you can enjoy if you manage it well. So explain to the waiter that you need your kid’s drinks quickly.
Once you have made your order, if you’re ordering an entrée and a main, ask for the kid’s meals to be delivered with the entrées so the little people can eat fairly quickly after arriving. Once they are fed they shouldn’t be hungry and restless leading to bad noisy or disruptive behavior.
Bring Activities To Help Make A More Kid Friendly Restaurant
Bring coloring in and pencils, sticker books, something that’s going to keep them entertained while you’re eating your meal. Some restaurants provide these but not all do.
Yes, putting the kids on devices gets you some peace, but why would you go out to eat if you’re all going to be on your devices? Eating a meal is about conversation and enjoyment. So keep in your bag activities for the kids that are easy to carry.
Below are some of our favorite sticker books that help keep our kids entertained when eating out.
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Ideas For Dining Out With Kids Who Are Fussy Eaters
This won’t be for everyone, but those who do have fussy eaters will know the frustration.
We have a picky eater in our family who nearly always is reluctant to try new meals. He also gets very hungry and frustrated if he hasn’t eaten or doesn’t like the food. This can obviously contribute to a less enjoyable eating experience for everyone.
So before leaving home, or our hotel room, we pack things that he likes to eat. This might be chopped slices of cucumber or some of his favorite packaged foods. We ask for a plate from the restaurant and lay the food he likes out on the plate. This means he still “dines” with us in the restaurant, but he also feels safe and comfortable, which makes him behave better.
All these tips are things that we’ve tried and tested to have a more kid friendly restaurant experience.
Looking For More Kid Tips
We are a traveling family. Check out below some of our best travelings with kids tips and recommendations.
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