Understanding tantrums

….Ha ha!!!  Just joking!  I have five kids.  Of course we take them out to eat.  I was listening to the radio the other day and they were discussing taking kids to restaurants and the different restaurants that are more family friendly than others. 

Apparently Buffalo Wild Wings now has tablets at each table where you can order things and also play games on them.  We went to Chilis recently and they have the same thing.  I can imagine that if your toddler is having a melt down or your older child is not in a good mood (notice I tried to not say the b word….brat) you may think that giving them a tablet to play games on it is totally worth it.  The radio show host said that she loves to go to Carabbas (an Italian restaurant in the Houston area) because they have thick coloring books that take a long time for her young kids to get through. 
 My tips for eating out with kids
·       If you have young kids who you never know what personality you will get while in public, I think it is never ok to take them to a fancy restaurant.  If I am paying over 100 for a nice meal, I do not want to hear a crying baby.  As my kids got older, I started to take them to nicer restaurants (on special occasions). 
·       I think that you should try to take your kids to restaurants.  I have always taken my kids to restaurants and traveling because I think they should be exposed to different things.  One of the articles I read said that you have to get kids in the habit of going out to eat so you should take them out.
·       Go earlier rather than later.  We went to Cheddars the other night and got there at 6:00 PM.  We were finally seated around 7:30.  We did not get our dinner until almost 8:00.  By this time, Charlotte was completely exhausted and having a meltdown.  It is not fair to expect small kids to last this long. 
·       Make kids get off of their electronics during dinner.  This is a VERY hard one because we have all been guilty of just letting the kids stay on their electronics for the sake of peace and quiet. 
·       Bring activities and small snacks for little ones. 
·       Choose a restaurant with kid friendly options.
·       Sit in a booth if they have one!
·       If you know your child will freak out if you make them eat green beans, don’t do it for one night.  Choose your battles.  Take that battle to your home where there are not others trying to enjoy their nights.
·       Bribe your kids if necessary.  Tell them “If you are good, we will order desert.”

Before you go to dinner, make sure you have an Activity Box to bring inside with you and an Emergency Box that you keep in the car at all times.  You can go to the dollar store and easily put these together.  I got all of the items for my boxes at the Dollar Store.

Activity Box: 

You will put together this box based on the ages of your kids.  I have kids from ages 16 to 1 years old.  Most of the items in my box are for Charlottebecause she is the neediest.  However, I included a couple of things that my older kids like (silly putty and a deck of cards).  I am not going to let my kids play card games at dinner but they are good to have for office visits or long road trips.  You can pull out the activity box anywhere.  Today I brought my daughter Allison to the orthodontist.  While she was in the back, Charlotte played with her box in the reception area. 

Emergency Box:

While you are at the Dollar Store, pick up another box to keep in your car for emergencies.  I put things in the emergency box that I know we will need at some point.  Having four girls, a hair brush and rubber bands are an essential in our emergency box.  I have also included an extra outfit for Charlotte and diapers. 

Here is a cute website with fun games you can play with your kids at restaurants using the stuff right at the table.  The silverware tic-tac-toe is an example

http://kidsactivities.about.com/od/EducationalTriips/tp/Keep-Kids-Entertained-At-A-Restaurant-Using-Common-Table-Items.htm

Silverware Tic-Tac-Toe

This activity also needs sweetener packets, but since playing tic-tac-toe doesn’t require a lot of pieces, you should be good to go. Simply make your grid using four pieces of silverware, laying two vertically and two horizontally on top of the others. Knives work well because they are straight, but any combination of silverware will do.

In conclusion, take your kids out to eat.  Make sure if they are little, though, that you bring some activities for the little ones so your experience looks like this

And not like this

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