Looking to have an enjoyable meal when eating out with the tots? MiniMunchers.com has a few tips to help you navigate the restaurant world with kiddies and hopefully enjoy the experience in the meantime.
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK – Part of your research should entail making sure the restaurant caters to children YOUR AGE. Think about what you need before visiting – if you have an infant – are you hoping to keep the baby in the stroller sleeping while you eat? Does your toddler like a booster rather then a high chair? Feel free to call ahead and ask questions about your specific needs, that is what a host/hostess/manager is for! Of course, if you are looking for a restaurant in Manhattan visit www.MiniMunchers.com
2. KIDS MENU PLEASE – Many experts will advise parents to order off the adult’s menu for tots when eating out to avoid fried/starchy foods (i.e. chicken nuggets, French fries, grilled cheese), which can get pricy. We say do some research and try to find a restaurant that you and your kids will agree is a good spot (both good for you and good to eat!)
3. CUT TO THE CHASE – If your child is 5 or under don’t expect a relaxing drawn out meal. Yes, we all have times that our children are perfect angels but lets be honest – most of the time we are eating to fill our bellies then get out. To this point, don’t order an appetizer, just go with an entrée. You will thank me for this later.
4. ALL TOGETHER NOW – DO NOT have them bring out the kids meals first. It sounds like a good idea but when their meal comes within 5 minutes, what are your little ones going to do while you are waiting and then eating. It is best to eat all together.
5. ENTERTAIN – It is great to think your tot will sit and chat with you for an hour, but time to get real and think in advance. Crayons work for a few minutes (and most kid-friendly restaurants will supply) but when they tire of the old faithful, small items that you can store in your purse (Matchbox cars, Wiki sticks, finger puppets, stickers, tattoos, etc.) are great to have on hand. Don’t be embarrassed to use what is on the table. My kids have spent entire meals making mountains of salt and pepper. Of course, you can always hand over the iPhone and turn on one of the numerous apps that kids love!
6. TIP WELL – Seriously, check out the ground when you leave. Regardless of the service, the staff is going to have to clean up after your family and they deserve a little extra for the mess. In addition, when you are made to feel welcome, despite screaming children, nasty manners, etc., it is worth the extra few dollars.
7. SCRAM! – When they got to go, they GOTTA GO! Some times you just can’t fight it – either your toddler had a bad day or the baby missed her nap. Any way you slice it everything you do just isn’t working and it is time to ask for the check and wrap up your meal – even if it hasn’t come yet! Trust me, your server will be more then happy to accommodate, especially if it means a better dining experience for everyone else at the restaurant.
This guest post was provided by: www.MiniMunchers.com for the complete children’s menus of over 250 great restaurants in NYC! MiniMunchers also offers great weekly discounts on children’s products and classes in our “Goodie Bag” as well as advice from experts on making your eating experiences with kids enjoyable – from celebrities to restaurateurs to Moms-in- the-know!