Once in a while, it is good to take your family out to enjoy their favourite meal at a restaurant. Eating out not only breaks the monotony of home-cooked meals but also exposes children to different scenarios which is good for their growth and development.

Unfortunately, dining in public with young children is not top on the list of easy things to do. Nevertheless, it is not entirely impossible.
There are a few tips you can employ to ensure that the kids do not embarrass you in public.

Choose a child-friendly restaurant

Some restaurants do not allow children. Therefore, before booking a table, ask whether children are allowed in. Moreover, check whether the menu has anything that is tailored for children and check whether the environment is built to accommodate children.

Some restaurants have areas set aside for children to play and have fun as you enjoy your meal. Such a restaurant would be your best bet.

Image: Dianna G./Yelp

Consider the timing

Do not wait until your child is too hungry to visit the restaurant. Tired or hungry kids tend to be fussy and irritable. Make sure you visit the restaurant early in the day.

Plan for the experience early enough so that you are not dragging your toddler from one restaurant to the next-by the time you are leaving the house, you should know where you are going.

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Also, it would be wise to avoid visiting restaurants on weekends or pick hours. Waiters are most likely tired and busy serving the many customers in the restaurants and may not have the time to wait for your child to make up their mind.

Instead, opt for a laid back day. The staff will most likely be more patient with your child.

Carry something to distract your child

The concertation span of children tends to be short. Seating at a table and maintaining their cool for 45 minutes may not be easy for them. Therefore, carry their favourite game or a sketch pad to keep them busy when they get bored.

This will ensure that you and other people in the restaurant can enjoy their meal in peace.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Model good behaviour

Nothing would make a parent prouder than having a polite and respectful child. Eating out provides a good opportunity to model politeness especially when dealing with the wait staff.

For example, ensure you use polite language like 'please' and 'thank you'. Your children will imitate what you are doing.

Do not spare the rod

Sometimes, all your child needs to behave is to be reminded that you are still the parent, and they are still under your authority. Do not be afraid to give your child a spanking when they misbehave just because there are people around.

If you fail t0 discipline them, it may pass the wrong message that it is okay to misbehave in public.

Photo by Monstera from Pexels

Tell your child what to expect

Before leaving the house, let your child know where you are going and what behaviour you expect from them. This would be a good time to let your child know that they are expected to keep their voice low and stay at the table.

Moreover, let them know that there will be other people in the restaurant and that they should respect them. Finally, remind them to eat their food with the cutlery provided and to avoid speaking while chewing.

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Your child’s relationships will depend highly on the social skills they pick along the way. It will also improve their chances of success in life.

Dining out with kids can be an enjoyable experience or it can be your worst nightmare. With the above tips and a positive attitude, you are well on your way to having an amazing experience with your whole family.

This August, Parents Magazine presents yet another compelling issue!
On this issue, LSK chairperson Nelson Havi and his wife Felicine let us in to the home front and open up on life in the public eye among other stories that you don’t want to miss.