Stacey’s Mayhem Management Tip #8
Over the weekend, this little girl turned 10!
For her birthday dinner, she wanted to go out to a local theme restaurant. I, being the awesome mom that I am, forgot the camera. But as we were sitting there waiting, I looked around and realized we were a bit of a novelty. I mean who, in their right mind, takes six children out to a restaurant that doesn’t contain fast food and a slide.
We do! And most of the time, it’s an enjoyable experience.
So here are my tips for making a restaurant experience with your kids go more smoothly:
1. Talk to your kids. Make sure before you go, especially if it’s not something you’ve done before, that they understand what is expected of them. Explain that they may have to wait and they will need to be patient.
2. Be prepared for waiting for a table. Think of a few easy games you can play. My kids like to play “I spy”. Games on your phone comes in handy too. It also doesn’t hurt to have a mint or two hanging out in your purse.
3. Check YOUR expectations. Children will still behave like children. They will wiggle and squirm and if you know that in advance, you will be less flustered. You can curtail their wiggles, but be ready for them.
4. For your first time out, pick a more kid-friendly restaurant. IHOP caters well towards children, while a place like Olive Garden is better when your kids are a little more used to the sit-down type restaurant. For the record, my kids LOVE The Olive Garden.
5. Every time won’t be perfect. There have been times that we rushed through dinner because the kids were behaving horribly. Don’t feel bad, it happens to the best of us. Sometimes, those experiences teach us what to do differently next time.
6. Utilize the crayons and kid menus if the restaurant provides them. It’s a great way to distract the kids from the time they spend waiting. It would be nice if you could sit and chat with your hubby, but let’s face it, that will be much easier to do on date night.
7. Watch the drink and before-dinner chip consumption. Depending on the restaurant, they may set out bread, chips, or even popcorn to be enjoyed while you wait. Along with the kid’s drinks, they can fill up fast and then refuse to eat dinner. If they fill up early, you’ll end up fighting them all the way through your meal.
8. Relax and enjoy yourself! It’s easy to be frustrated with the little irritating things your kids may do. But if you sit back, put a smile on your face, and enjoy your kids being kids, it can turn into a nice night out as a family!
Do you go to sit-down restaurants with your kids? What are your suggestions for a smooth and enjoyable meal?