Question of the Week: Eating Out

Everyone,

This week’s question on the Multiples and More site is all about eating out.

How do you handle taking your multiples out to restaurants?

  • How often do you take your children out to eat, and how old are they?

We go out to eat fairly often.  Oddly enough.  Mostly we eat lunch out because we tend to be running errands at around lunch time.  My boys are 2 and my oldest is 5.

  • Do you have any tricks for keeping them entertained?

Order fast!  If there is a wait, we ask for a menu and decide while we wait.  I have a bunch of toys in the diaper bag that only come out if we’re waiting for something.  We also spend our time people watching (and talking about, kind of a bad habit but it keeps Butterfly [5] entertained) and coloring things.  We also spend a lot of the waiting time picking up the crayons.  I used to bring little snacks for them to munch on before the food came but I found that they wouldn’t eat the food the waiter brought.

  • Which restaurants do you find are the most family-friendly?

The most family friendly places I’ve found have been either the 24 hour places (Denny’s, IHOP, Village Inn) are the best places to eat.  Also, buffets are great because the kids can have jello!  Ice cream!  Raisins!  for dinner.

  • How do you handle tantrums in restaurants?

I take the tantruming child out.  We either sit in the waiting area (sometimes a change of scenery helps) or we go outside completely.  If the tantruming child does not calm down in the specific time I pick, then I take him/her back inside and let the other adult know that we will be in the car, come out as soon as possible.  Even if I haven’t finished my dinner.  And even if we haven’t even gotten our food!  I find that restaurants are very forgiving and will happily box up your uneaten meal if you need to go.

  • Do you ever venture out to restaurants without having extra adults to help out?

Yes, actually I have!  It’s NOT easy.  I plan on not eating much, and leaving as soon as possible.  It’s gotten easier as the kids have gotten older.  I imagine it will continue to get easier.

  • Do you think it’s better to take your kids out to restaurants, and get them used to the experience, or refrain from eating out until they are old enough to understand the right way to behave?
I think this is a matter of personal preference.  We have been taking Butterfly to restaurants since she was a baby and she is a great little patron.  She can even order her own food and drink and is very polite to the waiter.  It’s super cute to see her say, “I’d like a hot dog and some milk please!”  I hope the boys become just as good of patrons as she is!
  • Be honest- do you pick up the cheerios?
Sometimes.  If it’s a fast place like Panera Bread, I’ll pick them up.  If I’m in a hurry or we have to leave in a rush, I won’t pick them up.  I will do a sweep before we leave if the restaurant has been really helpful.  If the restaurant has been horrible, honestly I won’t pick up.  I figure they have to earn their tip somehow!
Eating out with little kids is rough.  Eating out with multiples is even harder!  Eat early (before the big rushes…4:30pm or 5pm is great!) and eat fast.
And occasionally, eat without them!
Safire