Guest Post: Dining with Kids

First of all, I want to thank Cher for letting my have a spot of her blog this week.  I’m super jealous of all those who are at Disney but she’s just too nice to be mad at.  We recently attended an event together along with Maria from My Chicago Mommy, and one of our conversations was the inspiration for this post.

Have you ever been out to dinner and been appalled at the behavior of a child in the restaurant?  Or have you ever taken your kids out only to have a stress filled meal because of your kids behavior?

On more than one occasion I’ve been told by a mom that she doesn’t take her kids somewhere because her kids can’t handle it.  And trust me, I don’t enjoy sitting next to the screaming kid anymore than the next guy but please tell me, how exactly are these small people supposed to learn if they aren’t given the chance.

When my son was born, he was just 3 or 4 days old the first time we took him to a restaurant and we never stopped taking him, or his brothers since.  We always took the appropriate items with us, and we don’t really visit super fancy places, but we always had the same expectations for our kids; that they stay seated and use inside voices.  They haven’t always been perfect but I think it’s a lot easier for fellow patrons to cut an adorable toddler who may be a little bouncy some slack over a out of control school aged child.  So why not start teaching them early?  As long as you go prepared and with reasonable expectations there’s no reason that a child of any age shouldn’t be able to manage through a nice meal.  Some things we’ve learned along the way.
  • Keep things consistent at home.  If your kids are loud and running around the dinner table at home, it’s harder for them to understand why they can’t do that when they are out.  If your family doesn’t always eat together try to pick at least one day a week to practice your sit down meal manners at home.
  • Know what your child’s limits are.  Don’t take an overtired child out.  That is simply asking for trouble.  If they are tired, get some take out or cook at home!
  • Don’t expect them to wait so long.  If you’re going out at a busy time and can reasonably expect a long wait have a kid friendly snack with you, ask a server for crackers or order a quick appetizer like chips and salsa.
  • Keep them occupied.  No one likes to be bored.  If you’re going out for a nice sit down meal make sure you bring something age appropriate for them to do to keep themselves entertained.  If your goal is family time, skip the video games for a deck of cards or paper to play tic tac toe or hangman.  For younger kids, a smart phone has tons of options for fun and is lighter than toting around a collection of toys and favorite books.
  • Stick with family friendly places.  If your kids are dining out pros, stick with family friendly places as you’re more likely to find family friendly patrons who have been there and done that and will be more forgiving if your kids have an ‘off’ night.
But above all, don’t write your kids off or assume they are just too young to handle it.  It’s more likely that they will be just as unprepared in a few years as they are now and you’ll have missed out on some great opportunities.

Learn more about Lisa and her adventures as a full time working mom of three boys over at Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy.

Speak Your Mind



  1. I agree, you do have to take your kids and give them the chance to learn. Going out can be a family fun event!

  2. I try to also take the kids out places quite a bit because I believe in “practice makes perfect”. I also don’t tolerate bad manners at home because I think that sets a bad example for going out places. If they start to throw a fit, we get up and leave for 2 reasons: #1 I don’t want others to have to put up with the fit while they are trying to eat and #2 They learn pretty quickly that if they act up in public, we will just go home and not do anything like that again for a while.

  3. I’ve been taking my son out to eat since he was little and I probably won’t ever stop. We always take him to family friendly places. I hate people who are incredibly rude when it comes to children in resaturates. I can understand if they’re out of control but most of the time they’re not. I’ve never been out to eat and seen a child be completely out of control so I often wonder what these people are really getting upset about? Normal behavior from a child?

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