So You Thought Your Social Life Was Over…….
My name is Jane and I am the owner of Eat Out with Kids Australia and I have been asked to do a guest blog for Finlee & Me.
Once upon a time (in the world before our beautiful children), it would get to 7pm and you’d think, “I really can’t be bothered cooking tonight, let’s go out to eat”. You’d grab your handbag and head out to your favourite establishment and enjoy a meal you. You’d have a glass of wine, you’d chat with your dining companions and all of this without any interruption.
Those were the days….
Now, spontaneity is FAR more planned, and a meal out is not quite what it used to be. Long conversations late into the night? Rest assured that will happen one day, just not yet.
You wouldn’t swap parenthood for anything. Your kids are by far the cutest you’ve even seen, late nights have been replaced with early mornings, but you STILL have days when you really don’t want to cook dinner and heading out for a meal would be nice. Wouldn’t it?
We’ve all got our horror stories, and some of us may have even been scarred to the point of never wanting to dine out with our kids again.
Don’t let it stop you.
A little preparation, and a child friendly restaurant will have you enjoying the dining out experience again.
- When you’ve just had your first child, this, believe it or not, is the perfect time to go out for dinner. For the first six month’s of my eldest child’s life, busy, noisy restaurants were actually great. We’d take him in the pram, and with all the background noise, he would fall asleep quickly, and we could enjoy an early dinner out. At this age, preparation is relatively easy- nappy bag stocked with nappy essentials and portable bottle warmer to keep the milk warm for bub.
- As kids get a bit older, preparation is key to a successful experience. Timing is everything. Make sure you’re planning your dining out around sleeps and meals so that no one ends up as a sobbing mess on the floor. (And you know if everything goes pear shaped, it’s more than likely us that will be the sobbing mess on the floor!) When we head out for dinner, we’re out the door by 5.30pm, and home by about 7pm. Lunch needs to be early, and going out for breakfast actually works best for our family.
- Have a “bag of tricks” ready to go. In it should be some snacks (for delays in meals), water, and small toys that can be played at the table that don’t disrupt things too much such as: travel chalkboard mats, portable matchbox car mat or make and match portable memory game.
- In the bag should be a few essentials for clean ups. Wipes, a change of clothes, bibs, and in case you end up somewhere that doesn’t have high chairs, there’s a great travel high chair that fit’s into your bag and turns any chair into a travel high chair from our friends at Finlee & Me.
- Electronic devices- smart phones, tablets etc. Controversial. They work for us. Your call.
- Choose a restaurant or cafe that welcome the little diners. You’ll be surprised how much better YOU feel when you feel welcome. And kids can smell fear. If you’re relaxed, they are far more likely to take it easy too. Find a child friendly restaurant, cafe or pub near you by eating to the direct Eat out with Kids website.
- If things end up going all wrong. Don’t worry. It has happened to everyone, and soon it will be a distant memory you may be able to laugh about one day. Apologise to the staff, leave a tip if you’re up for it, and make a hasty retreat home. You won’t be the first, and you certainly won’t be the last!
Remember eating out with kids can be fun; it just takes a little bit work and finding that perfect place to eat.