Dining Out with Kids


Practice, patience and choosing the right times to dine can make dining out with children a positive experience for families.

Parents know taking kids out to eat requires patience. The sights and sounds of a restaurant can be overwhelming and distracting to children used to eating at home.

Toddlers have not learned to control their impulses yet, and even school-aged children may experience intermittent breakdowns when they are uncomfortable or not feeling well. But parents who want to take their tots out on the town can employ some easy steps to make eating out a fun excursion for everyone.

Practice. Daniel Post Senning, the great-grandson of etiquette expert Emily Post and co-author of Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th edition, says parents can practice dining out by replicating the experience (as much as possible) at home. Ask the children to use inside voices and exhibit proper behavior at the dinner table. Remove children from the table if they misbehave and try again another time.

Parents also can acclimate their youngsters to dining out by gradually working their way up to more formal restaurants. Start by dining out at a place where table behavior or noise may be more tolerable, such as a casual restaurant and then a nicer restaurant when kids can handle it.

Provide distractions. Many young children cannot sit still for long and may need a series of distractions to keep them entertained throughout meals. Pack a bag of tricks that includes toys, games, books, and even a digital device tuned to kids’ favorite programs.

Pick restaurants that do not have a long wait to get a seat so that kids’ patience has not worn thin before you even make it to the table. A sightseeing walk around the restaurant also may be able to provide a welcome distraction until the food is ready.

Pack snacks. Although the goal may be to eat out, kids may not be as patient as adults when waiting for their meals to be delivered. Ask servers to bring out the kids’ meals when appetizers are served or think ahead and have some light snacks, such as crackers or dry cereal, available to tame kids’ hunger pangs.

Choose restaurants wisely. Make concessions as to where and when you eat. Coordinate around nap times so children will be happy and well rested.

Select restaurants that accommodate children. Ask to be seated out of the way just in case your son or daughter acts up. This way you will not disturb other patrons.

Restaurants tend to be less busy right before dinner service and directly after. If you can time your meals to these off-peak hours, it may make for a more enjoyable dining experience.

Offer plenty of praise. Always let children know when they are doing a great job and behaving well in a restaurant. Engage kids in conversation and keep them entertained. Boredom or attention-seeking behavior can make dining out with youngsters more difficult to manage. A treat or a special reward (sticker or coloring book) can be offered to a child who behaves when dining out.

Be courteous and respectful. Many children will eventually act up in restaurants, and parents should respond to such instances as courteously as possible. Apologize to those around you whom your child has disturbed. Remove your son or daughter from the area and take a few moments to help him or her calm down. If kids can’t be calmed down, ask that your meal be wrapped.

Remember to clean up after yourselves and thank the waitstaff for any extra service, such as lugging a heavy high chair or providing extra silverware if kids drop any forks or spoons. Don’t leave a large mess for the server, and tip accordingly.

Children grow accustomed to dining out over time. It may take some practice, but with the right planning, families can enjoy meals away from home.

CLICK HERE for a list of Kids Eat Free Restaurants in Staten Island!

Posted in Featured Articles

«       Mar 2018       » loading...
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1. Easter Egg Hunt @ the Port Richmond Library

    March 23 @ 12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  12:00 pm - 4:15 pm
    Port Richmond Library
    0 to 4 years @ 12 PM to 12:30 PM 5 years to 9 years @ 3:30 PM to 3:45 PM 10 years to 15 years @ 4 PM to 4:15 PM One winner from each age group will win
  2. Kidz Cook

    March 23 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Learn how the whipping technique adds volume to foods such as creams, eggs and cheeses.
  3. Wii Love Gaming

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Stapleton Library
    Challenge your friends and other kids as you play cool Wii games!
  4. Game On!

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
    St. George Library
    Get ready to play some of your favorite board & Wii games.
  5. Happy Pig Day! An Elephant and Piggie Party

    March 23 @ 3:30 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    Great Kills Library
    For ages 4 and up. Pre-registration is recommended.
  6. St. Peters High School Heart Health for Athletes

    March 23 @ 6:00 pm
    March 23, 2018  |  6:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    St. Peter's High School
    Free BMI, EKG and Echo screenings for athletes  
  7. Political Issues Affecting our Youth Today

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Zimmer Club
    Please join us on Saturdays from January 20th to April 21st (except March 31st) at 9:00AM for the 2018 Zimmer Youth Conservation Classes. The classes are from 9AM – 12 Noon for approximately 13 weeks.  Each week we teach about
  8. Saint George Greenmarket

    March 24 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:00 am - 1:00 pm
    St. Mark's Place and Hyatt St
    Set on a hill overlooking New York Harbor and the downtown Manhattan skyline, this market draws a dedicated following of neighborhood shoppers who line up each Saturday to get first dibs on the freshest seasonal fruit, produce, cheese, meat, seafood
  9. Eggstravagant Feast with the Bunny

    March 24 @ 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    March 24, 2018  |  9:30 am - 2:00 pm
    Staten Island Zoo
    Join us for a special visit with breakfast AND lunch: hot buffet, Easter egg hunt, intimate animal encounters, ride our carousel with Chuck the Groundhog, take your own pictures with our Bunny (please bring your own camera), our cotton-tailed friend
  10. Sensory Storytime

    March 24 @ 10:30 am
    March 24, 2018  |  10:30 am - 10:30 am
    Tottenville Library
    An inclusive, 4-session program that combines the best practices from special education and traditional storytime to create an interactive, engaging program for children of all abilities! Limited to 12 children, best for ages 2 and older. Pre-registration begins one week