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Tags: eating out

Eating Out Should Be Fun!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Days out, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: children, dining, eating out, manners, restaurants, table

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Going out to dinner with your children needn't leave you with indigestion; before we had children, many of us used to watch in horror as parents struggled with their children, shouting at them to sit down and force-feeding them with food they refused to eat. Perhaps worse, we watched as they just let the children run riot in the restaurant and did nothing!

You don't need to turn into one of those embarrassed parents when it comes to taking your children, however little, out to dine. If you take the time to follow a few tips, you will be the proudest parent as they sit and eat nicely.

So make it easy on them (and you!) by bearing in mind these pointers:

  • Choose an appropriate restaurant especially if its your first time out.
  • Make sure there is a menufor the kids.
  • Take along any special juice cups, or small cutlery if this will make it easier and more familiar for your little one.
  • Take along plastic plates if you fear the restaurant crockery may end up on the floor!  Plastic is quieter and less likely to draw attention if it falls and it will not result in a stroppy waiter having to clear up broken china.
  • Check there is something that your child likes on the menu before you book.
  • Try not to use a restaurant as a place to experiment with new flavours - unless your child is used to this.
  • Don't eat too late or arrive at the time when your child usually eats. Bare in mind it may take some tome to get a table, settle quickly and have the food ordered and served.  Although being hungry is useful, you don't want them screaming for sustenance! So, eat early to avoid any meltdowns!
  • Take colouring books/crayons (that don't stain so no felt pens!) to amuse them. Draw your dinner, or the waiter's face! Even use paper napkins if you like.
  • Take some small toys (that sit neatly on a table) in case there is a wait.
  • Request a corner or edge table rather than one right in the middle of the room so as not to draw attention to yourselves.
  • Ask for plenty of napkins ready to mop up any spills or dribbles!
  • When you are seated, hand over any wine glasses, ornamental candles or anything that could cause your little one to reach and pull...just in case!
  • Try and visit the toilet before you start eating so you avoid interrupting your meal.
  • Don't stay too long and push them too far! If they are used to a quick meal, don't expect them to languish for hours!
  • Have a test run! If you are out for an important meal, then have a test run in a coffee shop or supermarket café before hand. Get used to the idea of waiting, of sitting and of eating in a strange place.
  • Don't be too hard on them, but make it clear you expect them to behave.


Out to Lunch!

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Family, Days out, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: eating out, food, manners, restaurants

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Children deserve to experience going out to eat, if that is what you want for them. You have every right to take them into a restaurant and never feel embarrassed in doing so, as long as its a place that welcome's welcomes children.

However, going out to lunch or dinner may fill some parents with dread: how would their little ones behave in public? But, be bold, follow the few tips below and they may surprise you!

  1. Take a few small toys to entertain while you wait. Don't necessarily buy new, perhaps find a few buried in a draw that you haven't seen for a while.
  2. Go to a restaurant that has a child menu. Then you won't feel uncomfortable because if there's a child's menu, they welcome children and you have every right to be there!
  3. Make sure the venue has all the facilities you need: baby change, etc.
  4. Ask for what you need, don't hesitate, as the staff will be happy to help if it means a more smooth meal! Lots of napkins, teaspoons to eat with, a straw to drink with etc.
  5. Order the children's meal to come first. They can start eating straight away even if your meal is not ready. In fact, order all your meals as quickly as you can so the wait for you all is not too long.
  6. For little ones that may be super hungry, bring a couple of snacks or finger foods to keep them going. If you have none, ask the a little bread or raw vegetables while you wait.
  7. Eat at the approximate time you'd normally eat so your routine is not too mixed up.
  8. If you have a newborn, don't be shy about feeding at the table if you can do it discretely, or asking for bottles to be warmed.
  9. If you book a table make sure you reserve a high chair if you need it a tell the restaurant you'll have little ones. They may reserve a larger area for you.
  10. Have a practice at home: set up a restaurant and pretend one day at home!
  11. Have a trial run. Go to a coffee shop and just have coffee and a muffin one morning. See how that goes.
  12. Explain what you expect from your children if they are a bit older, and tell them what it will be like so they are more prepared.
  13. Choose something from the menu that they will eat rather than be adventurous. You want them to eat, after all!
  14. Start them young. Don't put off going out if you want to because you think your baby is too little.

Be bold!   Bon appetite!


Babies are Customers Too

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Babies, Family, Days out, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: babies, cultural attitudes, eating out

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Meeting up with other mums, with your babies and toddlers, in cafes and restaurants is a fun part of raising kids. Don't be embarrassed if your babies make a bit of noise, if the restaurant has high chairs and serves children's food then they expect to cater for young children, and noise is part and parcel of what they are! There will be instances where a child is too unsettled in a restaurant and you may feel you need to abandon the outing, but generally a stressed baby can be calmed and you can enjoy the visit without causing too much of a problem to other customers. Attitudes to babies varies greatly across cultures - in much of Mediterrenean Europe, babies can be found accompanying families in restaurants into the middle of the night, and they are doted on by waiting staff and made very welcome. Unfortunately this attitude is only slowly coming round in other countries where a more traditional attitude of 'babies should be seen and not heard' has sometimes prevailed.


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