Have you ever turned down an invitation to dine out because you were scared that your kids might act up?
There might be some instances when you really wanted to eat out but had to think twice because you were thinking of crazy (and stressful) situations that may arise when the whole family is present.
However, the question is, how long will you be depriving yourself (and your family) of the chance to enjoy good food at your favorite restaurant because of your worries?
A Full Table
Mealtimes with the whole family should be an enjoyable event. Whether at home or at your favorite spot for fine dining in Abu Dhabi, these moments should be cherished as you get to share delicious food with your loved ones.
Nevertheless, anxiety can strike especially when there are young kids who might throw a tantrum at any given moment. These worries can make you balk at the idea of dining out.
However, eating out can sometimes be a good stress reliever, too, especially when you’re exhausted from work, caring for the kids, or doing chores. There are times when you just want to savor the food without thinking of cooking or doing the dishes.
To give you a chance to finally enjoy eating out with your whole family, here are some simple tips that may help:
1. Manners Matter
When you plan to eat out, make sure that you’ve taught your kids basic table manners.
Orient them about simple courtesies, and dining etiquette. You may not need to school them with a comprehensive lesson a la Emily Post, but teaching them the basics will already go a long way. Saying “please” and “thank you”, putting the table napkins on their laps, or using the right utensils will already instill in them manners that they will apply for a lifetime.
Very young kids may not be able to fully grasp these etiquette lessons but making them aware of how to be considerate to restaurant staff and other guests is a step to learning good manners. You can also tell them that they can practice being mindful of others by not crying their lungs out, running around tables, or pounding on plates with their cutlery.
2. Book a Private Dining Room
If you really want to ensure that you won’t be inconveniencing other guests, you can also book a private dining room at your favorite restaurant.
You can be more relaxed and carefree when you book a private room while dining out. Instances such as having to breastfeed or taking care of a fussy infant could also be less stressful when you are in the privacy of your own dining quarters. It might also be quieter inside, which will help with kids who are not yet used to noisy or crowded places.
Events and special celebrations with the family can also be held in private dining rooms. You can have more freedom to catch up with relatives and other guests in the comfort of your own dining room while enjoying the attention and quality service of the restaurant staff.
3. Set the Mood
When you plan to eat out for lunch, brunch, or dinner, make sure that your kids are prepared. This means that babies have had their teeny tiny snacks, got their nap, and are comfortably clothed.
It’s important that you also talk to them about the “dining excursion.” You can make them more excited and look forward to the meal by describing what your favorites are or what the restaurant is known for. You can even make it a teachable moment by using pictures or playing a game about food.
4. Engaged and Entertained
While gadgets and toys can keep kids entertained, it is still best to keep electronic items away from the dining table. Aside from instilling discipline in children, it will also help promote sociability and good communication skills.
Instead of leaving your kids to tech nannies, keep them engaged and entertained by chatting with them. If they can already talk, teach them how to place their order or show them how it is properly done. While waiting for the meal, you can play riddles or exchange jokes. During mealtime, keep the conversation flowing by asking them about school or their other interests and hobbies.
You can also make mealtime fun and informative by talking about the food, how it was prepared, or the story behind a certain dish. For example, when eating at a Japanese restaurant, you can tell them about Japanese cuisine, or even the country where all these delectable dishes originate.
5. Enjoy Each Other’s Company
Most of all, be genuinely pleased to spend quality time together. Grab this chance to really connect with your loved ones. Listen to their stories, interact with them, and share your own thoughts and experiences.
Sharing a meal also means sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings. Mealtimes can be a gateway to information that you or your family members may want to share. Since it is usually a carefree affair, most members are more relaxed and open to sharing – may it be a bite of their own meal or a piece of their mind.
Fine Dining, Fun Dining
Whether you’re out for the best steaks in town or craving for that scrumptious sashimi, dining out shouldn’t be a stressful event.
You can surely give in to your palate’s wishes even with your whole family in tow. Just make sure you keep in mind the above-mentioned tips and you can look forward to a fun and fine dining experience.