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Do YOU take your kids out to restaurants?

I used to think: if I never take my kids out to restaurants, they aren’t going to know how to act!  That is true, but it can be totally nerve wracking to take a child to a restaurant.  I took my baby all the time to a restaurant to meet friends when he was a baby.  You just tuck them in the infant seat, if they wake up you feed them discreetly, and if they start crying you gotta go.

Once they’re toddlers, it gets more challenging. My eldest was about two years old when we took him to the brand new White Spot in our neighbourhood.  We all grew up with White Spot, the family friendly restaurant, right?  My 2 year old started dumping out basically everything on the table.  Hide your hot coffee.  Oh there’s the napkins on the floor.  There’s the disapproving glances from the family with the nicely behaved child who is colouring.  Gee, this is just like eating at home except it costs more and I’m sweating and dying of embarrassment.

We didn’t take our kids out much because it always felt like a huge rush… eat quickly before they lose it and start being super annoying to us and everyone around us while we try to “enjoy” a hot meal.  Yes, we should be teaching our children how to behave but everything is just so PUBLIC out in public.  It’s just so darned risky – and usually we have ended up at a restaurant because circumstances are less than ideal so our kids are already not at their best.

So now that our kids are older, it can be a somewhat enjoyable experience – until we get the bill!

Some Pulse FM listeners shared their favourite tips and tricks for dining out with the family:

  • Choose family-friendly restaurants like White Spot, Red Robin, Denny’s or Montana’s
  • Go early!  430 or 5 PM is a great time to go and not ruin anyone’s romantic dinner!
  • Pack distractions and set expectations.

Happy eating!