Here are some tips to follow when dining at restaurants with your young family.
Ensure there is at least a few dishes each of your children will enjoy
Before taking your family to a new restaurant, you should take a good look at its menu and make sure that there are a few dishes on it that each of your kids will enjoy. Whilst as an adult, when you go to a new restaurant that doesn't have any dishes that appeal to you, you can easily accept it and find a way to enjoy the meal anyway, this is not the case for most young children.
If you go to a restaurant that doesn't have foods they like and they're already hungry, they will probably get cross or cry, in which case you and your partner will need to calm them down and try to coax them into trying menu items that they don't really want to eat. This will not make for a very pleasant family meal out.
As such, it's best to take a look at the menu and ensure that there are either dishes that you know your kids already like or ones that you can ask the chef to modify so that your children will eat them. For example, if your child will only eat smooth soups, and the restaurant you're thinking of visiting serves a chunky vegetable soup, you could ask the chef to puree this for your child.
Pick restaurants that are less formal
As your children get older, you can start bringing them to formal restaurants. However, when they're young, it's best to go to less formal ones during your family meals out. At formal restaurants, there is a certain standard of behaviour that diners are expected to follow. For example, you might be expected not to make much noise, to have excellent table manners and to remain seated throughout the meal.
Whilst abiding by these rules wouldn't be an issue for adults and older children, it might be challenging for your young kids to follow them. They might do silly things, like start singing, or become restless and decide to run around the table. They may also be more likely to make a mess whilst eating because they have not yet perfected their table manners. As such, if you go to a high-end restaurant with them, you'll probably spend the meal trying to keep them quiet and feeling embarrassed by their inability to follow the restaurant's rules.
In contrast, if you go to a restaurant that's a bit more relaxed, where loud chatter is welcomed and where the typical behaviour of young children is accepted, your whole family will feel a lot more relaxed during the meal and will be able to enjoy it.
For more information, reach out to a local restaurant, like Parafield Gardens Community Club Inc.