Dining out is a great time to enjoy time together as a family. Since you don’t have to cook you can focus more time on conversation and fun. But when you are a parent there is one dilemma we must deal with and that is how to dine out with kids.  When you have small children, especially those between the age of two to four, it is harder for them to deal with things like long hours in public. Even your older children don’t want to go to a restaurant that has nothing available for them. So this contributed post provides you with some tips to make dining out easier with your children.
little boy in high chair



If you have a small child, you will know that going to a restaurant is a much different experience to what you experienced before having children. It is no longer a relaxing place to go when you don’t want to cook, and it can be a challenge if you have a picky eater to find something they will be able to have on the menu.

But parents- don’t despair,  the abuse today we have the ultimate guide to making your life much easier when taking the kids out to eat.


Do your research

The worst decision you can make if you want to take your kids out to eat is to walk in somewhere you’ve never been before. The chances are when you walk into a restaurant blind, you won’t have a highchair available, the kids won’t have enough options and it will end in a tantrum. To avoid this you can usually look on the website to see what kind of good they offer, whether they have child facilities and everything else you need to know.


Go when it’s quiet

Children can get very stressed out and very excitable when you visit a busy restaurant, so it is always in your best interests to wait until it is quiet and go then instead. You will usually find some great restaurant deals during the week or at lunchtime which you can take full advantage of. Plus, your child will have more space to sit and play while you wait for your food to arrive.


Make sure they have familiar food

The absolute worst thing you can do if you want to take your child to a restaurant is to go to one which only has a specific cuisine. For example, if you visit a Greek restaurant you are not going to find chips and beans on the menu to satiate your child. Take the time to find somewhere which has Child options like pizza, chicken nuggets, fish fingers or pie. This will make things much easier for your child and they will not get upset when they have to try something new for tea. Remember, children get very hungry.


Keep them entertained

If your child is one that will likely become anxious around lots of people, you might want to bring along something that they can do. A coloring book or a puzzle book is an ideal choice because it won’t take up a ton of space, but it will keep them quiet as you wait for your meal.

Be considerate

Above all, remember that you are in a public place and not everyone will appreciate your child singing at the top of their lungs or running around the room. People are here to enjoy their meal in peace, so you should make sure you keep your child quiet and happy throughout the meal. If your child does throw a tantrum, take them outside for five minutes and calm them down before coming back inside. This will avoid any annoyed faces staring at you.



Dining out with smaller children can be tricky. I remember when my children were younger, going out to restaurants was something I almost avoided. When we did go we chose the same place over and over because it was able to accommodate our toddler.

 Just because you have small children doesn’t mean you have to avoid dining out like my husband and I choose to do. There are much better options today. Taking steps to plan your trip will allow you and your whole family to be accommodated.

You can take a some of your child’s books and games with you to help ease them as they get bored. Bring more than enough because you do not know for sure how long you will be there.

Choosing the right restaurant beforehand is very important because you need to make sure they can accommodate your families needs. Go early enough because you will have to wait for seating times and food service. All of this can add to your child’s frustrations.

Choosing a place with great kid-friendly menus that your kids will enjoy is very important. I remember my kids loved the kid-sized pizzas and the dinosaur shaped nuggets. It actually did keep them docile.

Though sometimes it can be difficult, when everything went smooth, the time we spent together as a family was so rewarding. And watching my toddler in his high chair eating on his nuggets was always the cutest thing. I really miss those days.

Have you had difficulties dining out with your small children? Are there tricks you use to make it easier?

10 thoughts on “How to Dine Out With Kids – and Actually Enjoy It!”

  1. I love your article. I have kids too and I can’t go anywhere with my kids and just enjoy myself. The tips you mentioned are most definitely meaningful and something I am going to implement when going out with kids.

    1. Hi Courtney,
      I have been there but all my children are older. I am glad you found the article useful. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Thanks for your wonderful insights. Totally useful! May make my next outing a little easier 🙂 Thanks

    1. No problem Tam! Any tips that can help being a mom easier is always a pleasure for me to share. I am glad you find them useful. Thanks for the comment!

  3. I really love your idea of ‘go when it’s quiet’. Whenever we dine out during peak hours, I myself get more frazzled than the kids! Even adults can act out from being over-stimulated, with all the noise and kids’ questioning, arguing, etc. the day is already bad to start off with when the parents are grouchy, tolerance will be low, and we set ourselves for failure. Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Joo,
      I agree I can’t really deal with all the noise myself so I wish I had this tip when I was younger. It is kind of unfair to put or toddlers in environments like that when they are not used to it so going when it is quiet is better for them. I am glad you liked the article. Thanks for the comment!

  4. It seems easier and less stressful cooking at home than dining out with kids, if you don’t prepare everything in advance. You shared very helpful tips and by following them, dining out with kids could be a great experience. Thanks for the great article!

    1. Hi Blanka,
      I agree cooking at home is a lot easier. I only use to dine out for special occasions or as a treat for my family. Something like a birthday for instance. But you definitely have to be more prepared eating out. I am glad you liked the article.

  5. Thanks for sharing these great tips! I don’t have children, and I don’t have any experience with dining out with kids. But I am sure it can’t be easy. It is great that you shared these useful tips for parents. I am sure many people will benefit from this post.
    Thank you again, Melissa!

    1. Hi Linda,
      Though you don’t have kids of your own I am sure you have experienced seeing other parents having to deal with their kids. I have been dining out and have seen plenty of children running around and think how hard it must be for those parents. I am glad you see the usefulness in the post and I thank you for your comment!

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