How to Survive Eating Out With Kids

Whether our not you have young children, we all have been to a restaurant and have seen a family with young kids. It’s the table with cheerios flying, occasional blood curdling screams and usually two worn out parents. Maybe you’ve even cringed when the hostess sat you nearby them. For most moms, a break from cooking is a welcomed one, but eating out with young kids isn’t always a picnic.

Recently our family of five went out for pizza. Joe and I did the unimaginable; we tried to have an uninterrupted conversation. We had ordered and the kids had a coloring sheet with those crayons that don’t really color, and so we thought we were all set. After the 10th interruption in 5 minutes I felt frustration building up inside. It was right at that moment that our youngest put his hand in front of my mouth while I was talking, and I burst out laughing.

There are some things we’ve learned and I apparently need a reminder on when it comes to eating out with little kids:

  1. Expectations: One definition of disappointment is “the feeling of sadness caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations”. So many disappointments stem from unmet expectations. When at a restaurant with young children, expect to eat (at least a little), expect spills, and expect a few annoyed glances. Expecting to have an uninterrupted conversation is probably unrealistic.
  2. Preparation: Aside from the usual: cheerios, goldfish, wipes, extra clothes, plunger, etc. be as prepared as possible. I have gone as far as looking up the menu online, and arriving ready to order.
  3. Perspective: As my Grandma used to say, “this too shall pass.” It’s not always easy to remember in the thick of it, but this is only a season. Even more than getting through, these are precious moments as chaotic as they may seem. When we keep things in perspective, we are less likely to become frustrated.
  4. Laugh: When your two year old knocks his orange juice all over your smothered chicken, just think of it as smothered orange chicken. The truth is, it really isn’t the end of the world, try to find the humor even in a frustrating moment. 

Our kids are 9, 7 and 4. We are out of the flying cheerios stage. While I am enjoying them being more independent I miss those drool filled kisses, and sweet baby giggles.

So lets all remember today to find the joy in whatever season we are in. And if you are out of the season of little kids and you happen to see a young family at a restaurant, maybe offer a word of encouragement to them, it would probably go a long way.

Do you have any funny stories of eating out with kids? Please share them.