Top tips for Eating Out with Kids is a paid collaborative post with tastecard. An increase of 177% in google searches of “restaurants near me” in the last two years shows that people are really looking to eat out after the pandemic. I know that I certainly got somewhat sick of cooking during the lockdown and it seems that many people are the same. However, as a parent I know just how challenging it can be to eat out with kids can be especially after a two-year hiatus.
As a parent, I love not cooking a meal and eating out, but it can be a real challenge to have a nice dining experience when you have children with you. I think it always pays to set your expectations low and to be prepared in advance! I know that I am always concerned about the cost involved in eating out even more so now with the cost of living crisis and that is where tastecard comes into its own. with some amazing restaurant deals including two-for-one dining and up to 50% off pizza delivery.
Top Tips for Eating Out with Kids
Make sure that you book a family-friendly restaurant and check out the menu to make sure it has something that your kids will eat whether that be a suitable kids’ menu or something off the main menu that they will love. Eating out is not the time to introduce new foods to your kids if they want plain pasta, fries or Mac n cheese then so be it. Don’t stress about them eating all the vegetables, but we know kids are always going to prove us wrong and will often want something off our plates, which is why we used to choose steak, chicken or salmon when they were younger.
Try and book a local restaurant (less travel time) and reserve a table, that way you will not be hanging around kids getting impatient as does booking a child-friendly restaurant as it means that fellow diners will expect children to be there and hopefully be tolerant of any childish behaviour.
Dining with Younger Kids
When it comes to eating with young ger kids such as toddlers and preschoolers then it pays to be organised and to not eat out when they are tired or allow them to get over hunger, unless you have really young kids and they will sleep through the whole meal!
As they say, it pays to be prepared and make sure you are armed with colouring pens, crayons and colouring books to keep kids occupied rather than relying on the restaurant to supply them. Also eating out isn’t the time to hide the electronics, if it takes an electronic device to keep your child occupied then so be it.
With two rambunctious boys, we always made looking for a place with play areas a priority so they could run off some energy between courses. When it comes to waiting between courses, we would often just have one and side dishes and then something off the dessert menu. Not to save money as often kids meals are free with an adult meal but to save time and ensure the do not get impatient.
The age gap between my boys was small and often we would turn up at a restaurant and there wouldn’t be enough high chairs so we travelled with a booster seat so they wouldn’t end up sat on a lap. We also took child-sized utensils, especially a spoon.
We also used to remove the salt and spare knives from the table as typically if we left them then they would end up on the floor.
Eating out with Older Kids
Sometimes it can be even more challenging to heart out with older kids even if you set clear expectations. Just because they are older doesn’t mean that they are less choosy when it comes to food. Sometimes it has to be burgers and the right kind of sauce.
Colouring books and crayons don’t cut it with older kids so we always took puzzles and games like Dobble. Also, we do not exclude tech between courses, but that is your choice.
The same applies to not eating out when your kids or you are tired as it will only end up in everyone being tetchy.
What other tips do you have for making eating out with kids an earlier experience for all?