How I Take My Kids to Nice Restaurants

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.

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9 responses

  1. I feel the same way about parenting articles! That said, I have found some I like – but they tend to be the ones who don’t talk like they have The Answer for everyone. I also like to hear what other people do with their kids, in case it sparks some ideas, so the “how to take MY kids out to a restaurant” posts are much appreciated.

    All good tips, except for us (see what we both mean?) the last has been our downfall. It led to a situation where the kids thought they could throw a tantrum any time they wanted to go outside for a walk around the block (which, in the end, was approximately every thirty seconds). These days we have switched to a tactic of insisting they sit still and learn to entertain themselves quietly in seat. It’s led to big improvements, but we are still working on it.

    We also tend to avoid dinner altogether, even as early as 6pm unless it’s a very casual/kid-friendly place (eg cafe in a park) because they tend not to be able to hold it together properly towards the end of the day.

    • Very interesting. It’s tough when kids are small to balance offering them nutritious foods and getting them to eat them with determining what they truly might not like. As they get older it gets easier I think. My older son has a texture thing with grainy items (rice, lentils, quinoa, etc) so I don’t make him eat those. I try to make meals the whole family will enjoy, but it can get exhausting.

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