The #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, Eating Out with Kids
Tips for dining out with kids.
Eating out with kids. Does that phrase fill you with dread or have you mastered this skill down to a fine art? For us, just as we thought we had got to grips with taking our eldest out we had our little Pud! This threw me into a frenzy of coping with two kids at a dining table when eating out. Don’t get me wrong when Pud was a tiny baby the only issue I had to overcome was my anxiety of breastfeeding in public. Then we started to get to the point where he just wanted to explore the world! Luckily Pops can now be entertained by a magazine or a colouring book or dare I say it – the iPad!
So I’m not perfect, we have resorted to screen time whilst eating out but I will only use it as a last resort. I much prefer to try other tactics first. I feel eating out is valuable family time where we should try to interact, talk about the day or upcoming events, school, family etc. Good intentions and all that. Some visits out are easier than others, all depends on their moods I guess…and ours!
Well over time we have learned a few tricks and valuable lessons that mean we can enjoy eating out more. By no means are they foolproof but they could go a little way to helping you enjoy a family meal out.
PICK AN APPROPRIATE TIME
Eat out at a time that suits the kids. Breakfast and Lunch usually mean happier kids but if we choose to go out in the evening then my kids like to eat early, sometimes as early as 4:30! So why on earth would I book a table for 6pm by which point they will be grumpy and hangry. I try to find a happy medium and book the table for 5pm. Think about the time it will take to get seated, pick your meals and then await for it to arrive.
Or if you are dining at Prezzo, then avoid the whole decision malarkey and check out the La Famiglia Menu. The menu is designed to be shared and consists of a large bowl of pasta (choose from rusticana, arrabbiata, carbonara or bolognese) to share from, 2 garlic breads, 4 soft drinks and 4 single scoops of ice cream. No food envy here and an enjoyable sharing experience. You could even decide which dish you’ll go for before getting there and order straight away.
TAKE RESOURCES OR BE INVENTIVE
Take items that will entertain such as a small toy, crayons, puzzle book, small book, stickers, toy cars etc. Or make up some games like versions of eye spy or how many ‘x’ can you see.
DON’T EXPECT TO DINE LIKE A COUPLE
Don’t expect to be dining out for a leisurely length of time. Kids are unlikely to be happy sitting for a long length of time. Unless you give them a screen. But if you’ve got a toddler, even screen time is unlikely to keep the little cherubs happy in their high chair for long.
Luckily at Prezzo, we got to order within 10 minutes of arriving and the food was served no longer than 10 minutes after that. After the main course it wasn’t long before we were offered our ice cream.
GO FAMILY FRIENDLY
Going somewhere that is family friendly is key. You soon learn your favourite family haunts. You know, the ones with baby change facilities, a family approach and a quick and friendly service.
Previously I would have said to save nicer restaurants for those rare date nights and stick to family pubs with the kids, more families mean more acceptance of the largely normal behaviour of kids. However after visiting Prezzo I now know you get get the best of both worlds. A restaurant atmosphere, fine decor but still with a family feel. The waiter appropriately offered a high chair and to swap the large cutlery for smaller forks and spoons for the kids.
Over time I have become reluctant to order from kids menus. There’s often a really poor choice and an abundance of fried food with chips, that is overpriced. Only for most of it to be left. Now ok, all kids are different from what they will and won’t eat to the size of their appetites. My eldest will eat most foods but not a large amount. So the kids meals are often too large. My youngest is only 1, so while he can gobble on occasion the volume is generally not huge. So here are two solutions:
One kids meal between the two of them, or
At Prezzo with the La Famiglia meal you decide the portion size you dish out to them. Just make sure it’s not the oversharer that dishes the food out. In our house Daddy is responsible for huge portions being served up to the kids.
I have to mention that Prezzo is one of the few places that offer two kids menus, a children’s and a tots! The choice isn’t bad either. However we still found The La Famiglia Menu a winner.
We had a fab time at Prezzo. Fast service, friendly staff and very tasty food. Thumbs up all round from us. We’ll definitely be visiting again.
This post is an entry for the BritMums #PrezzoLaFamiglia Challenge, sponsored by Prezzo. We went to the Prezzo near Cheshire Oaks.