Out of the Blue

8 Top Tips on Dining Out with Kids Stress-Free

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8 Top Tips on Dining Out with Kids Stress-Free
Photo Eric Fleming / Flickr

We recently posted a story about a diner owner in Portland screaming down a 2 year old child in tantrum phase at her restaurant. Reactions were divided between sympathy for the owner and outraged parents.

If you are anxious about dining out with your two year old and want to avoid becoming the centre of a 'babygate' situation, never fear.

Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema 'loves' to see (well behaved) children in restaurants. Here are his tips for relatively stress free dining out with kids.

Obviously most of them are directed at the parents:

1) Stage a rehearsal dinner at home with children before you go so they have some idea of what to expect.  Sietsema advises to make it even more convincing for the child by putting on your restaurant voice and manners?!

2) Distraction is always easier than confrontation - go armed with colouring books and non electronic games to keep the child amused during the dinner.

3) Make sure you learn how to converse as a family.

4) Knowing when to go - choose your table booking carefully - ideally don't select a Friday or Saturday night when a restaurant is likely to be at its busiest.

5) If it all goes horribly wrong and said child has a melt down at the table - remove the child from the restaurant, ideally at the first sign of trouble in consideration for other diners.

6) If you want to be welcomed back in future - tip generously and clean up the food which has probably been sprayed around your dining area.

And a couple of tips for restaurateurs:

7) Take a pro-active approach, talk to the kids and engage wtih them - dress up dishes and make sure food comes out in a timely manner.

8) If all else fails and unruly kids are running around your restaurant -play the 'safety card':  Instead of making a direct attack on parenting skills let them know that restaurants and kitchens are hazardous places and not safe for little ones (running riot).

Watch the full lowdown here from Tom Sietsema:


What to you think? do you have any other tip tips?

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