A family dinner out at a restaurant can be fun, however, it does have its own set of challenges if your children are young. Sometimes parents are afraid to bring their little ones out to dinner since kids often become fussy when they are tired and hungry. But there are things you can do to ensure your child is comfortable and good-humoured. Whether your child is a baby, a toddler, or a big kid, keep these tips in mind when planning a family outing at a restaurant.
Choose A Time and Place
To make the family dinner more enjoyable for everyone, choose a time and a place that isn’t too hectic. You can even make a reservation at a restaurant to avoid a long wait. The less time you have to wait for your family to be seated and served, the better. Also, consider your child’s schedule when choosing a time. Plan to go after nap time (or before), so you won’t interrupt their routine. You can be sure to avoid a tantrum if you go out when they aren’t tired.
In case there is a wait for your food, bring some of your kid’s favourite snacks so they don’t get cranky from hunger. Pack easy-to-eat finger foods, such as crackers, fruit, and veggies. If your child is old enough, let them choose two snacks to bring along so they will be more inclined to eat the snacks instead of being fussy.
Seat Your Child Strategically
Where your child sits at the table can help keep them entertained. One of the best spots is next to mom or dad and facing people in the restaurant. If your child can watch people talking and walking around the restaurant, they will be more captivated. And if they are very young, people-watching will help your child develop visual skills, such as tracking objects.
While family restaurants usually have fun activities for kids—such as colouring activities—there are also fun games you can play with your family to make the restaurant experience more enjoyable. Consider games that rely on memory and communication, while also practicing the alphabet, such as naming things—animals, fruits, vegetables, and objects—that start with a certain letter. If your child is very young, bring pop-up books, high-chair toys, and other favourite baby toys to keep them engaged with sensory activities.