Dining Out with Kids

Dining out with children can be, well, an adventure. My kids are 4 and 2 1/2 and its definitely a balancing act when we go out to eat between making sure everyone is having a good time, actually eating their food and not bothering those seated around us. To help get tips and trick from other moms in the area I crowdsourced on FaceBook asking for local moms favorite family friendly restaurants in the area and what their tips and tricks were for making dining out a success with kids. 
See our FaceBook page this month for recommended restaurants.  For a list of places where kids eat free (or cheap) each day of the week in Lake County check out Little Lake County's "Kids Eat Free" guide.   

Tips and Tricks: 
-Order your kids' food right away or give them a small snack before leaving so they aren't "hangry" 
-Bring small toys/activities with to keep them entertained, even better if they are special restaurant only items so they are excited about them (sticker books, doodle pad, Spot It game, Boogie Board, etc.) 
-Go early when possible, restaurants tend to be less busy and often you can get a table that is most conducive to dining with kids 
-Talk about what the expectations are prior to going into the restaurant, especially if they are different than what usually happens at home during mealtimes 
-Consider going to a "nice" restaurant. Sometimes the tone of the restaurant helps set higher expectations and kids naturally rise to them 
-Make it a regular thing when possible. Kids need to "practice" behaving appropriately in new and different places -
-Have realistic expectations, its not going to be like it was dining out pre-children! 

Written by: Lindsey Fry, Speech/Language Pathologist