Nurture Article | The Portland Hospital Parenting Magazine
Winter Issue 2011 | Lucy Elkins
Dining out with children is not always the most carefree experience. Simply finding somewhere welcoming to eat can be a challenge.
Indeed, a third of parents have been barred from entering a restaurant because they have a young child with them, according to a recent survey.
So what can you do to ensure that dining out even with kids is still enjoyable? Lucy Elkins explains.
The first time we took my then baby son out to dinner, he manhandled a sausage off my plate. In his chubby fingers, it slipped like an eel and I watched helplessly as it landed in a fellow diner’s open handbag.
This underlined for me just how much life – and dining out – had moved on.
Thankfully, in the six years since, eating out with my son has become a more enjoyable experience – but this involves following some basic rules.
Firstly model your expectations. A meal out might be a nice change but it won’t be as leisurely as it once was. So don’t keep sending the waiter away because you can’t decide what to order. This is not the time to be indecisive.
Also a toddler is unlikely to sit through three courses and coffee without squirming. So when your children are very young, forgo the starter or dessert in exchange for no post-dinner whining. If you really want coffee order it to come with dessert.
In terms of where to eat, fine dining may have been your thing BC (before child) but really you are better off going somewhere child friendly, at least until your child has had some practice eating out. The staff will be more adept at handling children and there is likely to be something on the menu that kids will actually eat.
Finally if your child does throw a tantrum then take them outside. This will help you and your child cope with the situation more calmly and also means you won’t risk the ire of those diners who have not yet had the joy of becoming parents themselves.
The top 10 for toddlers*
*based on a survey of 8,000 restaurant-goers for baby food firm Plum and Harden’s