Tips for dining out with young children

July 3, 2007 - 0:0

Dining out with children can be a fun family adventure.

With a little careful planning and a flair for trying new experiences, dinner out can be more than just a meal: It can be a memory in the making. But before you pack up the little ones and head for the restaurant, brush up on these tips for a successful (and incident-free) dining experience. Bon appetit! Is your child a picky eater? Diversify the diet of your little food critic with these tasteful tips. -----Know before you go:----- Make sure that the restaurant you have chosen to dine at welcomes children. The most family-friendly restaurants will supply kids’ menus, highchairs and booster seats, crayons and coloring pages or other diversions for kids and changing tables in the bathrooms. ----Timing is everything: ---- Venture out to a restaurant after young children have had their naps and maybe even a snack to tide them over in case of long waits at a restaurant. Don’t plan on going out on weekend nights to restaurants where long waits are the norm. Visit on weeknights during the early dinner hour. If possible, order the child’s meal soon after sitting down so they don’t get too fidgety waiting for their food and also so it can be ‘prepared’ (cut up, cooled off, and the veggies not touching the rest of the food) before your meal arrives. ----Pack it in: ----- A well stocked bag with the child’s favorite sippy cup, their familiar, easy-to-grasp utensils, bib and hand wipes will make your evening out easier for everyone. Bring along a favorite storybook, crayons, stickers and paper to keep kids busy at the table. ------Be considerate: ------ Let kids know in advance what behavior is expected from them at the restaurant. Even if meals at home tend to be loud and wild, dining out involves practicing good manners and being respectful of other people. Fidgety children should not be allowed to wander the dining area and should be removed to a lobby or outside. If your little munchkin makes a habit of tossing 10 cheerios to the floor for every one that goes into the mouth, help out your server by picking up before you go