Dining out can be a fun experience for kids but can be a nightmare to parents. Dining out is one of the most popular family activities during Friday nights and weekends. If you are having trouble with your children eating out, read these tips.
You should not bring your kids to a formal restaurant right away. Start with fast food restaurants and teach them how they should behave in a public place. Teach them basic food and restaurant etiquette. Move up slowly when your child gets the hang of it. When they are better behaved, you can them move on to more formal restaurants.
You and your spouse’s food choices may differ or they may be more sophisticated than your kids but you should set that aside for awhile and let the kids choose. Give them a list of restaurants offering kids menus and let them choose. It is better to be in a restaurant where your kids can actually enjoy eating. They will be less fussy.
In case your child does not like the food, give him something to snack on. Cereals, fruit, crackers, etc. are good choices. Even though your child is already familiar with the restaurant’s food, it is still a good idea to bring snacks in case service is slow or something happens in the restaurant’s kitchen delaying your order.
Kid’s entertainment is a must-have wherever you go. Bring small toys or small coloring books for your children. They can play while waiting for the food and not play with the cutlery.
Set ground rules
Before going to the restaurant, tell your kids that this is a special family time and that they should be on their best behaviour. There will be other people around and they should not be disturbed with shouting and unnecessary playing or running around.
Practice reading and social skills
Ask your kids to read the menu aloud and choose what they want. Then, teach them how to order and thank the server after.
Choose easy to eat foods
Don’t be fussy about your food. Choose finger foods such as quesadillas, burgers, fries, sandwiches, salads, fruit cups, etc. Skip ordering several courses. Just order an appetizer that everybody can enjoy, then the entree then some dessert.
Set an example
Eating out can be a healthy experience too. Order foods that are good for you and your children’s health. You can give some treats from time to time but don’t let them order junk food every single time you eat out.
Treat eating out as a special occasion
Always treat dining out as a special occasion. You can use this as a reward when your kids do great in school. You should remind them though that they should always be on their best behaviour because this is, after all, a special day like a birthday or Christmas.
Your kids will eventually grow up. In the meantime, bring some patience, understanding and consideration with you every time you go out with them.