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Survivial Guide: Eating Out With Kids

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henry happened: Survivial Guide: Eating Out With Kids

Monday, April 4, 2011

Survivial Guide: Eating Out With Kids

Take a peek at the right sidebar - we are conducting a very unscientific poll on how long you can eat at home without throwing in the dish towel and going out. 

Because even though it's work to take the kids to a restaurant sometimes moms need a break from cook, feed, clean ... repeat three times a day.

Some restaurants make eating with kids easier - here are my top 5 picks...
  1. Panera Bread: Caroline always gets the mac & cheese, yogurt, and apple (ask for it sliced). A bit of a dairy overload, especially if we get milk too, but at least I know the yogurt and milk are organic. And she has fun squeezing.
  2. Chik-fil-a: Fast food, I know. But I actually love their little playground area. And their nuggets don't scare quite as badly as McD's do.
  3. Ikea: Wow, these folks have figured out how to be family friendly. Bibs, baby food, kid seating area. And if you go, check out the bathroom. I love that they have a place for your kid to sit while you are in the stall (brilliant!) as well as kid sized sinks.
  4. Any noisy, neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Known as "chips & salsa" in our house. It's loud so screaming is less noticeable. Kids can easily get a quesadilla, rice, beans or guacamole while mom enjoys a margarita.
  5. Olive Garden: They do a great job of providing kid-friendly beverage cups, crayons & coloring activities, and food that I actually want them to eat. Pasta is usually kid-friendly but my children actually like the salad too! Amazing.
  6. And I almost forgot ... Cracker Barrel. A great choice when traveling. They have the coolest wooden booster seats and a veggie plate with lots of finger-friendly items. Plus they have games at the table!

What is your favorite place to eat with the kids? 

Here are a few restaurant survival tips. Please share yours!
  • Disposable bibs & place mats. I always forget these so I put a stash in my car.
  • Let the kids pick a toy to bring. Crayons and paper are always a good distraction.
  • Go early. We try to go even before 5 o'clock if at all possible. Fewer witnesses. And less waiting.
  • Practice at home. If you can't get your kid to stay in his chair for more than 30 seconds at home, don't expect a miracle at a restaurant.
  • Order something - appetizer, bread basket, crackers - as soon as you sit down for the kids to start munching. 
  • Avoid the the kids menu - I don't want the munchkins growing up on corn dogs and hamburgers. Usually my hubby and I share what we're having with the kids. I eat less and it's cheaper.
  • Please do the rest of us a favor and please do not let your kid watch a movie at the table. It's rude. Plus then my kid will want one.
Share your tips and favorite restaurants!

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