Eating in Restaurants With Kids

Eating in restaurants with kids does not have to be a chore. You can get everyone through it with having to leave early because they are tired, restless or causing a scene.

Here are some ways to inject some sanity into the process of eating out with your kids.

Keep them amused while waiting for food to arrive. I do this by keeping little plastic games and also crayons and papers in my purse. Younger kids can draw and older kids can play a game like hang man.

Don't bother dressing the kids up unless it is a very fancy restaurant. They will just feel all stiff and uncomfortable. The more comfy they feel the more likely your children are to stay still at the table.

Don't give your kids a load of soda before the food arrives. This makes them all hyper. Serve them water or milk until the food comes. Sugar on an empty stomach makes them hysterical and then sleepy.

Admonish kids who are negative about food. Once one kids says they hate a food the other younger kids will refuse to eat it too. Don't bring the neighbour's kid if he or she is a picky eater. Simply do not tolerate this type of behavior or they will all start going eww and not eat their expensive restaurant food.

I have found that if I want to finish a meal in a restaurant then I have to be served first. Sometimes I just say to the waiter – 'serve me first'. If they finish eating before me then I won't get to finish my meal.

Take the kids to the bathroom before you all sit down. Make them all go at once. Otherwise you will spend your meal going back and forth to the bathroom.

Don’t let your child order some pricey item she’s never had before without having her first try an appetizer or tasting portion. Teenagers are famous for this. They will tell you that they want a Reuben or Shrimp Marinara and then make a face once it arrives. Stick with what you know and you can't go wrong.

Sometimes if we are in a restaurant where the food is unusual, like a Chinese restaurant, it helps to tell the kids that it tastes like something they already know and love. This is where the old 'it tastes just like chicken' cliché comes in handy.

Mostly it is good to stick to kid friendly restaurants until your children are a little older. This means dining at MacDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC and the like. There is no sense in stressing yourself by taking your kid somewhere fancy if you do not have to. Save that kind of restaurant for a date with your husband.