Make your kid more restaurant-friendly

bricklyn 2012/03/11 01:50:28

When crying kids disrupt dinner, who ends up paying the price?

That was the question posed last week, and more than 21,000 readers
weighed in saying that restaurants with stated policies about children's
unruly behavior would actually entice them to spend money there.

While Firefly executive chef Danny Bortnick has taken steps to make his restaurant more kid-friendly, it is a two-way street - your kids need to act right.

And before you go off thinking Bortnick is some kind of booster seat
hater, he is a father - and his restaurant is in the middle of
Washington D.C.'s Dupont Circle: a densely populated urban neighborhood
often busy with families and young kids.

Five Ways to Make Your Child More Restaurant-Friendly: Danny Bortnick

Disclaimer: My wife sets the tone in this department, and I support.
I credit her with sticking to her principles and helping my children
form good habits.

1. It all starts at home

Make meals fairly structured and most importantly, routine. Remember:
Kids start out as a clean slate, so as parents, it is our responsibility
to help them form good habits. Things to employ:

  • Provide a variety on the plate - consistently. Even if it is one
    baby carrot stick and one apple slice, at least you are teaching them
    the importance of balanced nutrition.
  • Stay away from foods and drinks high in sugar. Children are highly
    susceptible to highs and lows both mentally and physically when
    consuming high-sugar foods. (Ever wonder why they can’t sit still?)
  • Treats and sweets are just that, a treat. Keep them small (a fortune
    cookie left over from the Chinese food delivery) and offer them as a
    reward for eating properly.
  • Have them ask to be excused from the table. This sets the tone of who is in charge.

2. Make meal periods interactive

At home they can help set the table, help choose the menu, and/or help
prepare the food. This gives them a sense of involvement; they are
invested in the meal.

At restaurants, let them choose what they would like to eat and bring
a restaurant-appropriate activity (kids are not interested in adult
conversation or spying on the couple at the table next to you, but
whatever the activity, make sure it won’t be bothersome to neighboring

3. Make dining out sound like a special, rewarding and fun experience

Get them excited about the experience. If it is something to look
forward to, they will want to do it again, which will help you with the
next tip:

4. Discuss restaurant etiquette BEFOREHAND as it applies to children

Keep the rules simple and easy to remember:

  • "Use our inside voices”
  • “Stay in our seats”
  • “Do not throw food” – keep your expectations low if they are less than three.

If you are looking for more than the above as you are building good
habits, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The rules for
home as far as eating your vegetables, etc., may need to evolve into the
restaurant rules. After all, dining out with kids can be stressful
enough, so you may want to consider lightening your own stress-load.
Focus on the behavioral aspect.

Again, use dessert as a reward for good behavior/eating. And be
consistent - I cannot stress this enough! Also, be patient. It is going
to take time to go from zero to sixty.

5. Call ahead to the restaurant

Find out if they are family-friendly. Do your homework. For me, a kid’s
menu is not a requirement. Generally, we can find something that our
kids will eat or share. That said, if the restaurant does not welcome children, don’t bother. Know your limitations.

Give the restaurant a heads up that you are bringing children. This
gives them a chance to select an appropriate table and perhaps assign a
server that has a better disposition for serving families.

Read More: http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/02/28/55-make-your-k...

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  • bricklyn 2012/03/11 02:13:36
    Everyone loses when unruly children are at restaurants. If people cannot take their children out in public and have them behave, they should keep them at home until they have enough manners to do so.
  • Linnster bricklyn 2012/03/11 02:18:49
    Unfortunately, the way some parents fail at raising their children, they will never be taught enough manners to be out in public.
  • bricklyn Linnster 2012/03/11 02:26:44
    I am pretty sure you are right. We are destine to have our nights out at great restaurants distroyed by bad behavior by children and parents alike.
  • Linnster bricklyn 2012/03/11 02:31:04
    I find that it happens less when I meet someone for dinner in the City than if I go to a local place. You also lessen the possibility of running into kids if you do a late dinner which I like to do. In any event, if your child is not capable of sitting in his seat for an hour or so, please have dinner at home instead of foisting him on the rest of us.
  • bricklyn Linnster 2012/03/11 02:40:04 (edited)
    I agree totally. MacDonald is the place for children. Not your local fine dining room. I rarely eat befor 8 pm, but I have run into this numerous times.
  • Linnster bricklyn 2012/03/11 02:50:28
    That's another issue - kids stay up until all hours of the night these days. you would think their parents would put them to bed at a reasonable hour so they could have some quiet time to themselves.
  • bricklyn Linnster 2012/03/11 02:59:00
    Yup, time with your partner should be a requirement. Kids should not dominate your home life 24/7.

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2016/02/12 22:39:16

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