Once upon a time, the thought of strolling into a restaurant was blissful. Nowadays, it can be anything but.
Of course, the previous sentence might be something of an exaggeration. Still, most parents will testify that dining out at a restaurant with young children can ramp up stress to a level that would have been once viewed as unimaginable.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this. With the festive season on its way, let’s take a look at some of the best tips you can adopt to dine out at a restaurant with the family.
Research, research, research
In the property industry, they live by the location, location, location mantra, but when it comes to parenting and dining out, it’s all about swapping this out for research.
In short, your experience will only be as good as your research. Some restaurants aren’t, and never will be, suitable for little people. Meanwhile, other places in Covent Garden pride themselves on this. Be sure to research before arriving to ensure that your establishment of choice falls into the latter category.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules for this, always look at the following:
- Does the restaurant have a kids’ menu?
- Are there highchairs available?
- Is there a play area or kids’ corner?
- Is the staff experienced in dealing with young children?
You don’t have to tick all of the above boxes, but if most are in there, you’ll get a quick indication that you’re set for the right place.
Get there early
This is good advice for anyone, but it’s even more important when you’re dining out with the family.
The early bird catches the worm, as they say, especially when you’re dining out with kids.
If you arrive early, you’ll be able to avoid the bulk of the dinner rush, and, more importantly, you’ll also be able to secure a good table.
It also means that if your kids do get a little stir-crazy, you can make a swift exit without feeling as though you’re disrupting other guests.
Keep them occupied
This is probably the most important tip on the list.
If you’re dining out with young children, it’s imperative that you keep them occupied.
If you don’t, you’ll find that they quickly become restless, which can soon lead to them becoming disruptive.
There are a number of ways you can keep them occupied, including:
- Bring along some crayons and colouring books
- Bring along some small toys or games
- Let them help you with the menu selection
- The list could go on!
Relax and enjoy yourself!
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that dining out with young children doesn’t have to be a stressful experience.
Yes, it might be a little different to dining out alone or with adults, but it can still be a fun and enjoyable experience – if you let it be.
So, go into it with a positive attitude, relax and enjoy yourself. After all, that’s what the festive season is all about!