I’m a busy working mom and have three (almost four, due in January) small children ages six, four and two. Between trying to balance schedules and my general pregnancy fatigue, we’ve started to dine out more. Going out to eat as a family has quickly become our way to reconnect and spend quality time together during the busy week.
Dining out with kids is an adventure, and I always approach it with a few simple tricks that help make the meal run smoothly:
Eat out on evenings that are less busy for the restaurant. Have you heard? Monday is new Friday. The place is typically less crowded (immediate seating!), and you can usually get a bit more attention from your server. In my experience, dining out with small children oftentimes require a little bit more TLC. Spilled drink on table 12!
When deciding what to order, give everyone choices, but not too many. I usually read aloud from the menu around three different entrees and let them each decide from there. It’s important they make their own choice. And really, ordering off the menu is half the fun of going out!
Stay calm, and don’t sweat the small stuff. Sure, a glass of milk might get tipped over, and inevitably a fork will end up on the floor. I do my best to not worry about it too much, to keep the mood light and fun.
And at the end of the meal, emerge from the destroyed table and be glad you decided to dine out. Cheer in victory that it’s someone else’s responsibility to do the dishes. Oh, and don’t forget to tip your server accordingly, they have earned it!
Emily Elling is a part time commercial interior designer and mother to three (soon to be four) unintentionally hilarious children. She can oftentimes be found barefoot in the kitchen, or hiding in the aisles of her favorite thrift store buying other people’s junk.