I tend to hate those “how to” anything parenting related articles/posts/etc on the interwebs. Inevitably they make me feel either completely useless as a parent or self-righteous and angry. No two children are the same and no two families are the same so nothing works for everyone. Some children just can’t go out to dinner. Some children are much better behaved in restaurants than mine. This is frequently a topic of debate, especially here in Manhattan where it is common to see toddlers out to a four-course dinner at 9pm (I am NOT a fan of this parenting practice).
So anyway, what follows are MY rules for taking my children to nice restaurants.
Rule #1 – Go by 6:00pm. If it’s that early you won’t be disturbing too many people. Since it’s not crowded there is more room to spread out and you probably aren’t sitting on top of the people at the next table.
Rule #2 – Entertainment. We are the parents who hand over our iPhones. Yup. It works. They are quiet until their food shows up. We bring markers or crayons and paper and sometimes books. It’s also fun to pretend cranberry juice is wine.
Rule #3 – Kid-friendly food. Whether it’s a children’s menu, flatbread pizza, or the yummiest spaghetti in the whole world, you have GOT to have something to feed your kids that they will like to eat. Otherwise there is whining and/or crying and general unpleasantness.
Rule #4 – If your kids act out TAKE THEM OUTSIDE! Sometimes ya gotta walk around the block a few times. It happens. Kids are kids and sometimes they throw the crayons or scream at the guy sitting behind them. When that happens we hit the door.
If you’re lucky, you might get to have a glass of wine and even order dessert. Oh and please tip big. Somebody is going to have to scrub that spaghetti off the banquet.