Dining Out With Kids: Survival Guide

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It’s the season of sunny brunches, lunches, and outings in general, and what’s better than involving the whole family? These days, fitting in quality meal times in our busy schedule is so important.

Dining out is usually intended as recreation - like a social long lunch, or an ambient evening environment and a night off cooking dinner. But, if you’re bringing little ones it can sometimes be anything but relaxing.

Amongst the making of special family memories and treating the kids to yummy new food, there can be a minefield of avoiding tantrums and bothering other diners.

We’ve compiled a list of tips on dining out with the kids from the parenting experts. From creating an enjoyable experience for every family member to teaching important skills and manners, here are our top four tips.

1. Include kids in dining play

Kids love to be treated like little adults, and dining role play is a great way to keep them entertained while also teaching them table manners. Think of it like a tea party game in action, kids get to act a bit fancy like folding and placing napkins on their laps.

2. Short and sweet

Start off by limiting your outings to one hour. Go out to lunch or dinner and keep it to just one course. This way, the kids won’t have enough time to get too bored, tired or grumpy. Keep it short, sweet and successful!

3. Timing is everything

If you visit restaurants during their peak times, you’re going to be challenged by busy, loud environments, slower service, and more pressure.
Picking an early evening time for an early dinner is a perfect option. It’s still an off-peak time so the restaurant will be quiet. Also, it leaves no room for kids to start getting hangry for a later dinner, which can often happen when you arrive at a normal dinner time and order later. 

4. Find the right environment

Being patient with the little ones is a lot easier when you’re in a family friendly restaurant that embraces kids. Some restaurant go as far as to explicitly state that kids running or being noisy will not be tolerated.

It’s a good idea to call ahead and make sure the restaurant’s environment will be suitable, this is a good time to check if there’s decent meal options for kids, if not a separate kids menu. Kid friendly pubs are a nice casual environment to take the whole family.

The Groove Train is the perfect choice for a family restaurant that provides high chairs and a delicious full kids menu, full of pastas, wood-fired pizzas, burgers and more!

Check out your local Groove Train for delicious and easy family meals that cater for all ages and all taste buds.