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Tips for Dining Out

I've heard many people say that they never get to eat out.

By
Cherylyn Feierabend

Hey there!  You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting. Today’s Topic is Dining Out: Tips for Restaurant Dining With the Kids.

I’ve heard many people say that they never get to eat out anymore because of their children. Expectant parents are saying that they plan to stop going out so frequently once the baby arrives. I think that with a little bit of planning ahead, a good dose of patience, and plenty of common sense, dining out doesn’t need to be a lost luxury just because you have kids.

Dining out can be expensive. Cutting back on restaurant dining can definitely save you some money in the long run. Children do cut into those luxury finances so it is understandable that you might be eating at home more often once you have kids. The tips I’d like to share are for those times when you do want to get out as a family and have a pleasant dining experience.

First, you’ll want to think about the places you go to eat. You may want to save the fancier restaurants for nights when you have a babysitter. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take a baby or toddler to those places.  I’m just suggesting that reserving some places for grown-up nights out can be a nice change of pace when you need it.

Most people frequent the same restaurants fairly often. You probably know if they are equipped with high chairs and other such necessities. If you are uncertain or are visiting a new or out-of-town restaurant, a quick call ahead can help you prepare. Find out if they have high chairs if you need one. Also find out what type of children’s menu they offer. If they have a smoking section, you might want to be seated in a completely separate area. Knowing ahead can ease some anxiety or let you know if you should choose a different restaurant. Some restaurants offer free or discounted kids meals on certain nights of the week. Checking with child-friendly restaurants in advance might even save you some money.

An important factor to keep in mind when planning to dine out with child is your child’s schedule. You don’t want to take your child out when they are tired or crabby. It is a good idea if they are hungry but not starving.  You will want to bring along some quiet toys for the child to play with while waiting for your food. Once your child is old enough to start coloring, make sure you always carry some paper and crayons with you. Most restaurants provide these, but not all of them do.

I recommend also that you bring some small snack items in case the food takes longer than expected and your child begins to get hungry. You can also ask your server for crackers or cheese or something to help appease the child’s hunger during the wait. (My daughter’s favorite appetizer is pickles.) Most servers are more than willing to assist in keeping the child calm. It makes their job easier and will probably earn them a better tip. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you want. You may be surprised at how much someone is willing to help.

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About the Author

Cherylyn Feierabend
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