bybmg: Tips for Eating Out with Kids

Tips for Eating Out with Kids


We used to not go out to eat a lot as a family. It can be expensive and with behaviors, honestly it's easier to eat at home! But, since we started attending a new church, service and Sunday School goes later, so we really have to go out to each to get lunch in before nap time! Though we didn't realize we were doing it, we have been really teaching our kids a lot of manners and etiquette when eating out. Also, because they have this ownership, they seem to behave better when we've gone out to eat. Multiple times out to eat we get compliments on how well our boy behave.

First off, right now, we don't bring technology along for our kids to play with. Now, some of you may gasp, but unless we're at Buffalo Wild Wings where they give the kids a tablet, our kids are screen free when we're out to eat. We usually prepare ahead of time and ask each of our boys bring along a small toy they would like to play with at the table. The last time we went out to eat Henry (8) brought his Rubix Cube, Wesley (5) brought a doll, and Calvin (3) brought a small monster truck. 

If there is a long wait at a restaurant we will usually go somewhere else unless we can't really avoid it. We eat dinner early usually, so we avoid the rush. 

When we are seated, we talk through the drink menu with each of our kiddos. We have them practice what they will say when the server comes. When the server comes to take our drink order, we have the kids do their own ordering (with parent guidance - no caffeine for them!).

We also usually choose restaurants that give some sort of free appetizer (chips and salsa, bread, etc.) so the kids have something to eat while we wait. If I know we're at a place where there isn't a free appetizer, I may bring along a small snack like crackers to make the wait more bearable. 

While we're waiting to order, we will go through the menu with each child and have them decide what they want. Then we will have them practice saying what they would like so they can order it when the server comes including how to say it (ex: I would like to order a cheeseburger with fries, please, instead of I want a cheeseburger and fries.). Once the server comes, each of the boys places his own order.

While we wait for the food to come, we snack on the appetizer and talk about something like the best part of our day or a silly joke we've heard. They also usually play with their toys.

When they get their food it is usually down to business with eating! If they food is too hot for them to eat Russ or I will cut it up into smaller pieces or even put a piece of ice on it to speed up the cooling process. We also make sure they put their toys away so they can focus on eating - away may be in the middle of the table or in my purse. 

After the meal is over, if we need boxes for left overs, we will have one of the boys ask for them and rehearse that as well before they ask. 

Sometimes if it is taking a little while to get the check at the end of the meal, Russ or I will take the boys out to the van to wait and the other will stay back and pay the bill. 

So, none of this is really rocket science, but for us, it has really helped up be successful and helped the boys behave better because they are part of the ordering process and we're engaged with them during the meal time too. Do you have any tips to share on eating out with your kids?

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