Dining with children

Dining out can be a great way for families to enjoy some quality time together, but if things go wrong, it can also be a nightmare. Here are a few tips to ensure that your family eating-out experiences go more smoothly:

  1. Lay the groundwork. Children can’t be expected to behave well in restaurants if they are used to being allowed to run riot at mealtimes at home or haven’t been taught the basics, such as how to use the proper utensils. Prepare your children by eating as a family at home and by teaching and enforcing good table manners and behavior.
  2. Pick your time. Taking children to a nice restaurant when they are tired, over-hungry and fractious is often a recipe for disaster, so choose your time carefully.
  3. Pick your place. If there are no other children in the restaurant that you are considering, it might be wise to steer clear. Children often pick up on an atmosphere that is not child-friendly, and the companionship of other children often encourages better rather than worse behavior.
  4. Order carefully. Ordering a selection of appetizers rather than main courses not only can mean a shorter wait for the food to arrive, but it also avoids the issue of children complaining that they don’t like the food.
  5. Never use dining out as an opportunity to have your children try something new. Keep your experiments for mealtimes at home.

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