Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dining Out with Kids - Like a Boss.

I'd be lying if I told you each time we go out to dinner with our kids, ages 18 months and 5 years old, it's all perfect behavior and warm meals for Mom and Dad. However, for the  most part, we've come up with a plan of attack that allows us the flexibility to go out to dinner and enjoy ourselves with two in tow. Here are my quick and fast tips for Dining Out with Kids - Like a Boss.

1. Dine prepared - I have my dining out bag in my car at all times. It includes:
Bambinos Tidy Table Tray & Flexi Diner
  • Wipes/Diapers
  • Bambinos Tidy Table Tray & Flexi Diner (which I ADORE)
  • Tiny play dough, matchbox cars, crayons, a small notebook of paper
  • Snacks (This may sound odd, but think of it as an emergency appetizer if the service takes too long)
  • Ipad/Iphone for desperate times and happy parents.
2.  Strategize
  • Don't hesitate to ask for a slightly larger table, or a table off by itself, or a larger than necessary booth - this will give the kids a place for some potential wiggle room before the meal arrives. 
  • Check out the kids menu first, and order their meals when you order your drinks. This way their food comes out first and you can get them started. By the time you've cooled down, and cut up their food your meal will be on its way, so you can eat while it's hot. 
  • Eat on out on weekdays or odd hours on the weekends. If you know there will be a 45 minute wait and it's a Friday night - abort mission. 
3.  Dining out doesn't have to mean McDonald's
  • Most nicer restaurants ($15-20/plate) have kids menus and cater to families, including changing tables in the restrooms.
  • Don't be afraid to go to restaurants that have linens on the tables and  two sets of forks! Servers at these restaurants know how to meet your family's needs and are usually happy to provide a bread basket or quick munchie for kids to eat. 
  • If your children don't like what's on the kid's menu ask if you can get a kids sized portion of an adult meal, they're usually happy to accommodate. 
4. If at first you don't succeed - keep on trying!
  • It's not by accident our kids are well behaved when we go out to dinner, it's because we've done it often and they've learned 'how to eat out'
  • Don't let a negative experience  make you run in fear!
  • If all else fails send one parent to the car with the kids and get the meals boxed up. 
What are the tips and tricks YOU use to dine out with your kids - Like a Boss??