5 Steps to a Successful Dinner Out – With the Kids
Make a reservation
It seems obvious but an unplanned wait to get into the restaurant can be make or break for a young family. Once you get in, there’s lots of things to distract the kids with. Sometimes there’s a TV, you can play eye-spy or unpack some colouring. Until you’re in, you have to deal with an impatient child in the purgatory of the waiting area.
Have something for them to do
Did you bring their favourite toys? Did you download a show for them to watch on your phone? We do this really sparingly, but I think a few minutes of Daniel Tiger or Peppa Pig is better than a full scale meltdown before your food has arrived.
Check the menu ahead of time.
Is there something your kid(s) will eat? Are they going to hate everything on the menu? Does the restaurant have kid-friendly and healthy options? I’m sure many kids are happy to eat fries underneath a mountain of ketchup, but it’s our job to provide something that will give them a little more sustenance. Can you feel good about what you’re providing for them?
Our daughter is a picky eater and I’m sure we’re not alone. We often bring her food in little plastic tubs.
Do they have highchairs?
Our little one is still in need of a highchair and it’s too much hassle to bring our own. Most family restaurants have them, but if you’re booking a reservation, it’s a good idea to check just in case.
Support a good cause while you’re eating (and get a great deal!)
This one doesn’t happen in most restaurants, but in Boston Pizza until October 1st, you can buy a Boston Pizza Kid’s Card for $5, which gets you 5 FREE meals (plus one more if you register the card). That’s $35 in exchange for $5. The even better part of this is that your $5 buys an hour with a role model for a child who needs it, somewhere in Canada thanks to the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects.
The Kids Card is only available until October 1st, so you’d better hurry. Head to your local Boston Pizza or get yours online RIGHT HERE.
Disclaimer: This post is supported by the excellent Boston Pizza, where we made a reservation and got a table on a busy Friday evening. Terrin, our awesome server at the Broadway, Vancouver restaurant, brought our daughter and two nieces a full activity book with crayons to keep them amused. I was amazed that our toddler was amused by this and didn’t even try to eat her new colouring kit. Thanks Boston Pizza, we’ll see you soon.
Margaret StuartSeptember 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm
Really great tips! I remember being young and going to restaurants with my family, I always needed to be occupied or else I would annoy my parents to no end. And even now as a young adult I still love the restaurants with butcher paper on the table that I can just draw all over.
Gillian KentSeptember 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm
Fortunately, this was a long time ago for me but I remember how difficult it was in the beginning until we figured out how to keep it easy and simple and make sure our guys were kept busy.
Cori @ Sweet CoraliceSeptember 18, 2017 at 4:46 pm
Love the tips! They’re practical and make a work of difference. Plus they help everyone enjoy a meal without a big hassle! 💕💕
Angie RentmeesterSeptember 18, 2017 at 6:53 pm
I don’t have kids, but I’ve been to restaurants where it wasn’t as enjoyable… these are definitely great tips!!
LisaSeptember 19, 2017 at 10:53 am
These are some great tips. I have 3 kiddos and keeping them busy during a dinner out is key!
jamesrcsmithSeptember 20, 2017 at 6:59 am
Thanks Lisa. How do you keep your kids busy at dinner?