When you had your bundle of joy you may have thought it was time to hang up your party shoes. The idea of dining out when your baby was a mere infant seemed laughable, but when your child is a bit older dining out becomes a good possibility again. You, as a parent, might feel some anxiety about dining out with a small child, but worry not. Kids, just like adults, can enjoy the experience of eating out, as long as you work with them and make the experience as fun and easy for them as possible.
- Work around Their Schedule
To make your dining experience as calm as possible, work around your child’s schedule. For example, if your son or daughter is normally in bed by 8pm, don’t head out to eat at 7pm. This will interrupt their schedule and the over-stimulating environment can lead to a tantrum. If you keep your baby happy while out and about, you’ll have a much more enjoyable dining experience, too. To do this, head out to eat earlier in the evening, think before 5pm. By doing this you’ll get home in time for your child’s bedtime, and you’ll avoid meltdowns that are common when kids are tired and overstimulated.
- Dine on Off-Peak Hours
Sitting in one place for hours on end, quietly can be pure torture for a young child. While you may enjoy dining during peak hours, this often means longer wait times, and that can be frustrating for young children. To avoid waiting too long and risking an epic meltdown, consider dining during off-peak hours. Head out to dinner at 4pm, when far less people will be getting ready to eat. If you are planning on lunch out, consider offering your little one a snack around noon, and waiting until 2pm to hit the restaurant. 2pm is a lull between dinner and lunch, and that means you’ll get quicker, more attentive service. The quieter environment will also keep your child more relaxed, and you might even let them walk around a bit, close to your table, to get rid of any excess energy.
- Keep Them Entertained
While dining out is a great and exciting experience for you, it can be truly boring for children. Remember to utilize digital babysitting while you are out so you can enjoy your food. The idea of a “Digital babysitter” gets scoffs from some people, but if you want to enjoy your dinner out, digital babysitting is a viable answer. Before you head out to dinner or lunch, make sure your iPad or iPhone is loaded with great games and short videos. Don’t forget to bring kid-friendly headphones, and make sure the battery is completely charged. If your son or daughter seems to be getting antsy, set them up with fun educational game, or a cool video to distract them and entertain them. Some Digital babysitter tactics will help you avoid any tantrums, and will ensure you can enjoy your time out. too. Consider a Rugged case so that your iPad enjoys it’s time out of the house too! If you have really young dinners with you look for a case that provides an integrated viewing stand.
- Head to Family-Friendly Eateries
Fine dining is not always an option with young children. When you are taking your kids with you, even a digital babysitter may not be enough for a fine dining establishment. Instead, take your kids with you to family-friendly eateries. Applebee’s, Outback, Uno and Friendly’s are all family-friendly chains that will happily accommodate young children. You can also look around locally for family-owned businesses that tout themselves as “family restaurants”. These locations will happily entertain your kids with crayons, and they won’t roll their eyes when you entice your little one with some digital babysitter tactics.