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Eating Out With Kids – Should you or shouldn’t you?

by Lee Ann | April 9th, 2008 | Elementary, Infants/Toddlers

Should parents dine out with their kids or not? While many adults prefer to dine out without children in the restaurant, parents are more likely to bring their children along when they eat out. With three children of my own, I am a staunch believer in the entire family dining together. There are occasions when my husband and I have a rare meal out alone, but more than ninety percent of the time, our family eats together, at home and in restaurants.

By restaurants, I don’t mean kid friendly places like McDonald’s and Pizza Hut but the traditional sit-down places that may be chains like Red Lobster or Olive Garden or local eateries. Although many people are afraid to take their children into a formal restaurant setting and exist on fast food throughout their kids’ childhood, it is possible to take kids to a nice restaurant and enjoy the experience.

Behavior is an important consideration. My kids know that if they were to act inappropriately in a sit-down restaurant that my husband or I would take them out to the car for a time-out. No one wants that humiliating experience, so my kids are generally on their top behavior when we eat out.

It is a good idea to find out if the restaurant serves kids meals, and if so, what selections are available. Most restaurants offers children’s menus with standard choices like chicken tenders and grilled cheese.

Another option for smaller children is to ask for an extra plate and service (silverware). This might sound cheap but it’s a common practice, and I never had any server turn down my request to feed tiny tots from my own plate.

If all else fails, bribe the kids with dessert and enjoy eating out with the family again!

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