Everyone enjoys going out for dinner with their other half - it’s a great way to spend quality time together, relax and unwind after a busy week. Unfortunately, as much as we’d love to go out regularly, for most of us that’s not an option for various reasons.
So, what’s the alternative? Switch date night for family night and bring the kids along for the ride. Dinner out with kids will never go entirely smoothly, but here are some ways to navigate it successfully.
Timing Is Everything
Can you remember when your night out didn’t start until 10 pm? Nights out are no longer a thing when you’re a parent. When you’re with your partner you’ll probably head out for the evening (our babysitter thinks it’s hilarious how early we come home) and if you’re with your kids you could be done and dusted by 6 pm. Most kid-friendly restaurants are buzzing at 5 pm for good reason, everyone’s still awake, you can get the kids fed before they start requesting snacks and you’ll be home in time for their bath. You might even get a better value deal by arriving early.
When you’re going out for a family meal you don’t prioritise the wine, the ambience or the chef’s reputation. When kids are involved, you need handy parking, highchairs and helpful staff. You don’t need to secure a seat in a Michelin star restaurant for your dinner to be a success, you just need a change of scenery and comfort food.
Speed Is Of The Essence
Another factor that will ensure everyone has a good time? Speed! Look at the menu beforehand so you’re ready to order the minute you sit down and request the bill as soon as all the food has been served. Waiting around simply isn’t an option when you have impatient kids in tow.
Lower Your Expectations
So, I think we’ve established by now that dinner out with kids is different to date night. But that’s not to say it’s not worthwhile - it’s just important to lower your expectations. Don’t look around at how chilled out everyone else seems to be and focus on the fact that you’re enjoying great food with great (if a little noisy) company.
Devices - Do Or Don’t?
The dilemma that all parents have is whether to let kids have their devices at dinner. The simple answer is to do what suits your family best and ignore everyone else’s opinion.
The most important thing is that everyone enjoys themselves!