5 Tips to Eating Out with Kids
Last night we decided to ditch the meal we had planned and grab some patio beers and dinner to enjoy what is left of this fabulous Michigan summer.
I hear it all the time, how do you eat out with kids? The answer is simple.
We go out to eat with kids.
We bring a bunch of shit with us; mostly this means charged iPads and iPhones. To be completely honest and transparent here!
And I'm not afraid to say it, we throw things in their hands when shit starts to get loco and 9 times out of 10, it works. I'm so sick of parents saying Oh my kids will have limited screen time and they most definitely won't be allowed to watch shows at dinner!
Reality is, they are kids and their attention span is that of a flea sometimes. If you want to actually enjoy a meal and not just shove some cold ass burger down your throat you'll do what you gotta do!
Last night we went to downtown Ferndale to Rosie O'Gradys. They have a great patio and without us even knowing it, it was kids night where if you spend $9.99 on an adult meal, kids eat free! This also only goes till 7 and we got there at 6:57pm. By the time the waitress rang our order in the computer system didn't give a rats ass that we were a few minutes past the cut off.
I came prepared though. Coloring books/crayons and a charged work phone, because that data bill is free yo! Tonight wasn't really our night though. The patio was wide open so to the boys that basically gave them them the bright idea that they own the patio. They were taking cushions off chairs, laying on glass tables and basically acting straight up crazy; Jerek was so stressed out.
We casually sat back sipping on some cheap beer, throwing warnings out like if you don't come sit down and eat your dinner you won't get the ice cream that comes with your meal. They continued to act like inbreds and we continued to enjoy our beers. Finally they sat down and ate; well Tracen did that is. He was solely focused on getting that ice cream, Sky could give two shits about it though.
While last night wasn't exactly a mega win in our book no child cut off their fingers with the steak knives they had wrapped up in napkins and there wasn't a server with a sprained ankle because my kid was running under their feet. So really it was a win, wasn't it?
So if this didn't turn you off from eating out with your
monkeys children, here are some tips we've learned along the way to have a successful meal out.
1. BRING AN IPAD/IPHONE: YouTube kids and Netflix are huge for us. They can sit and relax watching a show while we can actually eat or enjoy a drink. Our goal is to hold off on all electronics until they start to really loose their shit though. If you give it to them too early they will get bored of it faster and you will be bringing a half eaten, cold dinner home sooner than planned.
2. COLORING/GAMES/I SPY: Some places have coloring stuff for the kids but not all. I try and remember to grab a coloring book and some crayons if I can to keep them occupied. Small games you can keep in a diaper bag are huge too, memory or a card game for older kids is great. And if you forget to bring anything with you, you can always play I Spy or our newest game "what am I thinking about" This game consists of you giving clues to an item, animal, etc and the other person has to guess what you're thinking about. Original, I know, I know.
3. BRING YOUR OWN FOOD WITH YOU: Have picky eaters but want to go get sushi, then you should go get sushi! Just make sure you bring your own food and drinks for the picky owns so you know that they are getting a good meal and you aren't wasting your hard earned money on meals they will never touch! I can't tell you how many times I've brought a fully cooked pot of mac and cheese with me to a Mexican restaurant with hotdogs and fresh fruit because I know there's no way in hell Tracen would touch any Mexican food! Hell, the bill is way cheaper if you aren't paying for kids to eat too!
4. GO TO PLACES YOU KNOW THEY WILL EAT: Sometimes going to sushi or Mexican is great and you can bring food for them but like all things in life you need to make compromises and sometimes going to the chain restaurants like Applebee's that serves boxed Macaroni is just easier! Some days we will head to coney or Applebee's because we know the boys will clean their plates there.
5. GO OUT DURING YOUR EATING SCHEDULE/TIME: If you know your three year old gets real pissy at 7pm don't try and go to dinner at 630 and then wonder why he's being a total dick. Try and think about the times of day that your kids are the most fun to be around! For us on the weekends we will go to Lifetime and swim for a while so they can have some fun. We then will go to a restaurant and run errands after knowing that they got to enjoy a few hours of fun before having to be dragged around to do all the "boring" stuff!
Like all parenting posts I like to always remind you that we are no experts, in fact sometimes we say fuck it and will go grab carry out then putting ourselves through the misery that is eating out! Other times we say tough luck, we're going out and you WILL have fun, you WILL enjoy it and we WILL have a beer damnit!
Remember that if you never take your kids out to Target, to the grocery store or to a restaurant, they will never learn how they should be acting. Its a learning experience and without practicing what to do in these situations they will never know! So if they act up one night out don't never take them out again. Explain to them how they should behave and try again next time. Bribing cookies and sweets go a long way too, just sayin!
And honestly, do you really care if your three year old is standing by the patio door, singing happy birthday to no one and attempting to poop, I mean, I didn't last night and neither should you!