While you might not love anything more than dining out in your favourite restaurant, the chances are that your toddler doesn’t always feel the same. Being strapped into a high chair in an unfamiliar environment and being unable to get up, run around and play can be frustrating and boring for small children, leading to tantrums for them and stress for you.
With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls associated with eating out with kids. Of course, there is no way ensure your child will behave perfectly and everyone will enjoy a relaxing meal, but you can certainly boost your chances of a successful evening.
Choosing the Right Restaurants
It should go without saying that you should always pick a family-friendly restaurant. An easy way to check your little one will be welcomed with open arms is to look for a kids’ menu and highchairs. If you choose a romantic, dimly lit restaurant favoured by couples, you’re setting yourself up to fail and run the risk of ruining other people’s evenings if your child plays up. In a family-friendly restaurant, even if your child is noisier than you’d like, the chances are that other customers will also have children with them or will at least be expecting to encounter kids.
If you’re dining with a large group and don’t have a say in the restaurant, call ahead to check whether they are child-friendly. Restaurants such as https://www.forno500.ie/, a popular Italian restaurant in Dublin, might not look child-friendly on the face of it, but many establishments will be flexible if you get in touch.
If your toddler loves playing games on your phone or tablet, it might be worth giving him or her free rein if it keeps things ticking over nicely during your meal. The TUI blog is aimed at entertaining kids during flights, but many of the tips are great for restaurants too, such as using toddler headphones. Crayons, colouring books and sticker books are great too.
Be Prepared to Cut Your Visit Short
Even the best-laid plans can sometimes fall short, and if there is simply no settling your child, you should respect the other restaurant patrons (and your dining companions if you’re part of a group) and be prepared to leave.