Most parents who eat out regularly and are fond of sampling different restaurants and different cuisines would love to include their children in their plans every now and then. But taking your children to restaurants doesn't always seem feasible, especially with younger children acting up ever so often. Most parents would rather take them to a fast food joint for a quick treat, and get them home as soon as possible.
It is always nice to expose your child to good eating habits at a younger age. In this manner your child will pick up table manners earlier as well, since you will be more particular about his behaviour during dinner when you are dining out.
Your child will also gain exposure to various cuisines at a younger age. Surprisingly, I have come across numerous older teenagers who are not very comfortable when it comes to eating with a fork and knife. This is because Indian cuisine rarely requires the use of a fork and knife, and if you order pizza at home, its easier just eating straight from the box. So when your teenager goes out with friends to a fancy restaurant and suddenly realizes she needs to eat with a fork and knife, you'd want her to be at ease, and not have to sneak a peek at her friends to make sure she is doing it right.
Here are tips on how you can cope so you have a great time at a nice enough place without excluding the kids.
Take your children to nice restaurants, but distinguish nice from hush-hush romantic and business meeting kind of places. Louder restaurants should be okay to take your children to, so that they don't seem to be causing a scene when they speak a little loud or act up for a few moments.
Always phone the restaurant in advance to book a table so your child will not be kept waiting and will not consequently get cranky. Also, ask the receptionist if they have a tall child's seat for smaller children. If they do, request them for the seat. If they don't have a child's seat, it doesn't really matter. You can always seat your child next to you.
Another tip to prevent your child from getting cranky is to give him a little something to eat before leaving the house, so he doesn't get hungry when waiting for the order.
Often, parents in India tend to stop using prams as soon as their child starts to walk. If you are going to a restaurant with an older baby, do take him in a pram so that he remains seated comfortably through the meal, and you are not constantly passing him on from one parent or person to another. Keep the pram between both parents and constantly keep talking to him throughout the meal making sure he feels part of the action.
Make sure you reach the restaurant early, before the rush and when most tables are still unoccupied. Initial teething problems about where and how you should seat your child, and what to order should all be taken care off by the time the crowd starts pouring in.
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