Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

How to Survive a Restaurant Meal With Your Kids
The do’s and don’ts of dining with children

by Pete Gilbert

March 01, 2013

Attempting a sit-down restaurant meal with small children in tow is a decision parents should not enter into lightly. For your best chances at a successful outcome, try these “from the trenches” tips.

1. Appetizers. Apps are cheap and shareable. An appetizer should get everyone off of the hangry (hungry/angry) cliff.

2. More apps. The other kind of apps. Put your phone on airplane mode and hand it over. Be that parent. Who cares if other people in the restaurant judge you? Your kids are now occupied—you are doing everyone in the restaurant a favor.

3. Be a unified food front. Don't let the server trick you into ordering your kids’ food before the grown-ups. All that happens is they finish before you start and you don't get to enjoy any of your meal.

4. Go to the restaurant when your kids are well-rested. Don't try to squeeze in a restaurant lunch right before nap time. You are just setting yourself up for failure.

5. Visit during off-peak hours. You know what type of people are in a restaurant at 4pm? Parents. Parents with their kids beating the regular dinner rush by a couple of hours.

6. Go somewhere kid-friendly. Choose a restaurant that’s loud and the servers are used to dealing with kids. If you see white table cloths and hear classical music, slowly back away from the host stand and find a different restaurant.

7. Give in a little. If your kids drink water or milk at home for lunch, let them have Sprite or lemonade. Splurge for the $1.00 cup of ice cream for dessert. That should keep them occupied for a while so you can finish off your meal.

8. Don't lolling. Be decisive when it is time to order your food. Kids can only behave for so long at a restaurant before they totally lose it. Don't spend 15 minutes deciding whether you want the chicken sandwich or a burger. Just pick one. I guarantee either one will taste better than the meal you have to box up and reheat because you took too long making up your mind.

Happy Parenting!