The essential ingredients to happy family dining

Here are four simple rules to enjoying a family lunch/dinner at your favorite restaurant.

1. Involve your child in every conversation, play word games, drawing games, take a little bag of tricks with you so that they are completely occupied, but you do need to join in with their activity.

2. Have it in your mind that you will only stay for two courses and then see how you go. If you build up the amount of time you spend in restaurants, rather than go for the long lunch early on, the children will see it as a more positive experience and grow into it.

3. Often children will listen to someone else other than their parent! Therefore, if your child is misbehaving, it is a good idea to ask the restaurant manager to intervene.

4. If you find a restaurant you like, it is worth getting to know the staff there and visiting them on a regular basis. Staff get to know you when you are a regular guest, and more importantly get to know your child, and your child feels more comfortable in a familiar environment where they feel welcome.

Source: Junior Magazine

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3 Comments

Filed under Family, Kids, Tips & Tricks, Toddlers

3 responses to “The essential ingredients to happy family dining

  1. Good list.
    Also,
    –Ask the server to bring out something right away (an appetizer) for the little ones or bring one (apple slices, cantalope spears, cherry tomatoes etc). Sometimes the meal takes a long time to arrive and children are more leisurely eaters than adults are.

    — After making a decision. Encourage even the little ones to order from the waitress themselves.

    –Try to avoid juices and over sugared “kids meals”. Unfortunately, a lot of restaurants have only fried options or pancakes laden with whipped cream, powdered sugar, and chocolate. The added sugar on top of more sugar makes kids fidgity and can lead to the infamous sugar high. They are also very drab presentation fare — brown and yellow. You can decline the kids menu all together and order from the adult menu for everyone. Bright salads, beautiful stir-frys, flavorful soups and colorful pasta — much more satisfying and tasty. (Water is the beverage of choice — if after the meal and bellies are full — you want to order a sugar drink or dessert the full meal will slow down the sugar uptake and over ingestion!)

    — When you can order a communal bowl. Children enjoy eating like the “big people” and it will make them feel good to participate in self service and sharing.

    –Instead of the standard “good girl/boy” praises which aren’t useful. Describe something you saw such as, “I saw/see you were/are very careful picking up the slippery pasta.” “I saw/see you cleaned up your area and folded your napkin!” Even something simple as, “The food took such a long time, but you were very patient…” Children really appreciate meaningful acknowledgement.

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