Eating out as a family can be such a lovely experience, especially when it is not something that happens very often.
Eating out as a family can be such a lovely experience, especially when it is not something that happens very often. Financially it isn’t always possible and for most families, it is a special treat.
For this reason, it is important to make sure that the experience is a really positive one. The choice of a restaurant
will have a huge effect on this. Many restaurants will claim to be family-friendly
but the reviews may suggest otherwise.
In the very same way, other restaurants may not scream it from the rooftops but actually provide a great family-friendly dining experience
As a family that loves to eat out together, we’ve learned a thing or two about family-friendly restaurants. Here are some of the ways to spot a family friendly restaurant.
1. Let’s start with the basics. They will have high chairs. If a restaurant does not have high chairs then they are probably not too interested in welcoming families with babies.
2. Toilet facilities are a big telltale. We recently visited Milanos and the toilet had a changing mat, a toddler step and a mobile above the change mat. I was super impressed by the extra efforts.
3. Do they have a dedicated children’s menu? Some of our favourite restaurants have a menu that includes a drink, a main meal and dessert for children at a really great price. There are usually quite a few choices on it too!
4. When you walk in do you actually see families in the restaurant? That is one of the biggest signs of it being a family-friendly spot.
5. Can you fit your buggy through the door and is there somewhere to park it inside? If you can’t physically enter the restaurant then it’s probably not starting on a great note.
6. The staff interact with your children. It’s not their job to babysit or entertain your children but it’s nice to know that they are at least happy to see them. Friendly staff can make a world of difference and help you and your children feel more relaxed.
7. Do they have kid-sized cutlery and plastic cups rather than glasses? These small touches make a huge difference to parents.
8. Colouring books and crayons/pencils are a really nice touch and set the tone for a child-friendly experience from the get-go.
9. Are there steep stairs, tonnes of sharp corners and lots of breakables? No matter how family friendly the restaurant markets itself, can you actually relax in this environment? It just might not be family friendly to you.
10. You’ll pay the bill and already start talking about the next time you will return. If this isn’t the last time you’ll visit with children then that’s a pretty good indication that you’ve found yourself a family-friendly eatery.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.