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How to Teach Your Young Kids to Behave Well in a Restaurant

Eating out and trying new things are one of the best pleasures in life, and doing it as a family is the perfect opportunity to bond and make memories. While you can absolutely take your kids with you to a restaurant at any age, many parents stop at least for a few years after infancy. Why? Teething, moving to solid foods, and the general tantrums that toddlers are infamous for can make eating out more of a hassle than it’s worth.

This can make eating out far less stressful, but if you don’t prepare, you could be bringing your kids into an uncomfortable situation that they don’t have the tools to manage. That’s why you’ll want to use this guide to help your kids behave and feel more comfortable when dining out.

Practice at Home

Modelling the behaviour that you want to see in your kids is the best way to parent since your kids look to you for guidance in those formative years. One top way to model good behaviour when dining out is to start at home. Spend as many meals as you can together as a family at the table. Display and expect the manners you want your kids to emulate, and then go on from there.

Order in Your Meal, First

Kids love what they’re familiar with, and we love good food that we know is good and worth our money. The best way to tackle both of these is to order in meals, especially if you and your family are trying something new. If you’re trying a new cuisine like Indian, for example, you’ll want to give your kids the space to express themselves fully without worrying about other guests. You can order a full spread from urban-tandoor.com, for example, and try a little bit of everything.

This way, you can take note of what your kids liked and didn’t like, and then when you want to enjoy a sit-down dinner, you have a child and parent-approved restaurant to go to!

Start Small and Build Up

It’s important to start small. Rather than take your kids out to a sit-down restaurant at first, take them to a café for a quick lunch. Slowly upgrade their experiences until they can comfortably sit through a full restaurant meal without getting antsy.

Enrich Them Beforehand

Enrich them before you go out to dinner, but don’t exhaust them. If your kids are tired, they’ll be cranky and irritable and will not enjoy the experience at all. A good way to enrich them instead is to go on a short walk somewhere new, to watch a new show or movie, so they have something to focus on and talk about at dinner, or even help them learn something.

Have Activities on Hand

Giving kids something to do after they’ve eaten can help keep them calm. Low-tech options include simple things like keeping the conversation going by asking them questions about their day. You can also bring colouring books or other non-screen options to help keep them occupied. In a pinch, of course, you can also give them your phone to play on. This last option is a double-edged sword, however, since those games and technology use, in general, can actually shorten a child’s attention span and even affect their eyesight. That’s why it’s important to use the non-tech options first, with conversation and keeping your children engaged being the priority. This will help them behave and help you all to bond together.

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