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Any tips for EATING OUT with a 4 year old & 11 month old

(22 Posts)
chezie Sun 17-Apr-05 09:25:34

We have 2 lovely (and lively) boys eldest 4 1/2, youngest 11 months. We would love to hear any tips on taking the kids out and where to eat. So far weve only really been to McDonalds and Morrisons as they are child friendly and I dont feel to bad if they make a mess. Any tips on how to handle them or places to go would be really appreciated. thanks

Blossomhill Sun 17-Apr-05 09:26:49

Ikea would be a great place to go as it is so child friendly and very cheap. Just to get them used to that kind of environment.

WideWebWitch Sun 17-Apr-05 09:32:55

Pizza Express is good as are most Indian restaurants ime. Take some toys for both and don't get them all out at once (cars always worked to keep my ds in one place) and order asap and ask if they can be quick if you need them to be - I've sometimes asked a restaurant can you get us in and out in 20 mins and they've done it. Try to pick somewhere with a garden if you're going to a pub as it's much less stressful being able to let them run about. The 4.5yo is old enough to understand he needs to behave in a restaurant so I'd explain the rules beforehand if pos. I managed about 2 hours in Pizza Express (for ds's 7th birthday) when dd was 11 months although I did walk around with her a bit and showed her things out of the window etc when she got tetchy. But on the whole it was fine. Good luck!

happymerryberries Sun 17-Apr-05 09:34:28

Take small, silent toys, pencils and some paper would be good for the 4 year old. Echo what has been said about going somewhere child friendly...places like Pizza Hut will get them used to the concept of having to wait for the food before you try anywhere nicer! And they give out goodie bags to help to pass the time. If it all gets too much get dh to take them outside for 5 minutes while you wait!

happymerryberries Sun 17-Apr-05 09:37:22

WWW we had a great meal in Pizza express ith our two a few months ago. Totaly stress free and we were there for well over an hour! I was amazed and felt that we had begun to turn a corner! Out two are 8 and 5.

Last year on holiday we had a wonderful meal out in a resturant in France. the staff were very pro family, the kids doodled on the back of the paper place mats and watch the world walk by, which they thought was so cool! Dh has a wonderful seafood meal. Its nice when it happens isn't it? Sort of like seeing light at the end of the tunnel

WideWebWitch Sun 17-Apr-05 09:39:48

Oh it is hmb! When I was working I'd quite often meet dp and the childrn in Pizza Express after work so dd is getting used to it already at under 2 and ds is perfectly able to behave at 7yo. It feels civilised, I agree!

flamesparrow Sun 17-Apr-05 09:41:10

I have always taken DD to wetherspoons places and Harvester.

Make sure you have colours and paper, and steer clear of fruit shoots!!

I love going out with B, and she pretty much behaves unless they take aaaaaaages feeding her. Going with the theory of yes, there will be some noise and mess and embarrassment in the beginning, but start em young, and they learn how they should be acting as they go along... make sense?

Whizzz Sun 17-Apr-05 09:42:37

Colouring & puzzle books never fail to keep our DS (4) occupied whilst waiting for food. Also he can play I Spy for ages without getting bored - good for letter sounds ! When he was younger it just tended to be little toys - cars were good as he could 'brum' them about !
We tend to go for pub meals - although do avoid Wacky Warehouse types like the plague as he would get far too overexcited & want to play rather than eat.

misdee Sun 17-Apr-05 09:43:53

family friendly pub chains are good to try (brewers fayre and brewsters are main ones in this areas). go mid week so not as busy. ask for kids meal to be bought out 1st if your having starters.

somne have play areas as well.

have always taken my kids out for meals, think its something they have to do.dd1 was about 1 week old 1st time we went pout for a meal . dd3 was under a week. after 4 days of hospital food i was desperate for real food lol.

Whizzz Sun 17-Apr-05 09:45:36

Another tip I've just thought of - take their own cutlery & perhaps their cup/beaker. I've often thought it silly that places do child size portions but don't have smaller cutlery on offer.

Hermione1 Sun 17-Apr-05 09:51:03

What about pizsa hut? We took out dd, ds and dd's friend the other week. you can have that buffet lunch and have as much as you want. I find them to be big aswell.

Hermione1 Sun 17-Apr-05 09:51:20

sorry my dd is 6 and ds is 5.

SoftFroggie Mon 18-Apr-05 10:25:43

We found Pizza Express good - decent range on the children's menu, and a useful colouring pack freebie. Take extra colours, small toys, window seats good for interesting view of what's going past on the pavement, don't worry too much about the mess - do a bt of clearing up, appologise and leave a decent tip. Take your own plastic cup, plate etc if they might throw it on the floor - broken glass / crockery is noisy and embarassing. Remove salt and pepper, menues etc from reach. WATCH the food temperature - our biggest problem is being given food too hot, and DS (2) having to wait with the food in front of him till it's cooled down. Ask for the kids food to come as soon as it's ready / to be in and out fast. Don't faff around with coffees afterwards, and skip pudding if they're getting restless. Our greatest success is to go for kid's tea (5pm) and I'll have a cup of tea. Most of all, rmember you're paying and your doing your best to behave - I think wild behaviour, noisy kids at 'adult time' (after 8pm), running round etc are not really on, but some food being dropped under the chair / on the table, lively chatting etc is fine during the day - unless it's somewhere really posh (avoid white linen tablecloths!). Make the wholet thing an event - explain to the older boy what's going on: help him chose from the menu, give his order, explain about the kitchen where they make the food. Most of all, have relax and enjoy.

MarsLady Mon 18-Apr-05 10:28:59

the temptation to say eat very quickly is compelling

iota Mon 18-Apr-05 10:40:08

Frankie and Bennys is great - thankfully has now replaced McD's in our kid's affections

iota Mon 18-Apr-05 10:45:44

and to keep the kids quiet, as well as suggestions already made, take Gameboys

Lonelymum Mon 18-Apr-05 10:50:01

If you know an Italian restaurant, run by genuine Italians, that would be a good place to go. The things they say about Italians loving children really does seem to be true. We took our 4 children (then aged between 7 yrs - 12 months) to an Italian pizza parlour and there were lots of children there and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Also, children tend to like Italian food (pasta and pizza are also easy for them to eat).

pabla Mon 18-Apr-05 11:03:10

Wagamamas would be my first choice for a meal with the kids. The service is so fast they don't get bored waiting. Our local one is always full of families with kids on Sunday lunchtimes so doesn't matter if they are a little noisy. The kids menu has reasonably plain dishes (sauce on the side) to suit any fussy eaters.

We went to a local Italian for lunch yesterday for a change. It is in a corner of one of the big parks so thought it would be ideal but when we turned up they didn't have any highchairs! We ended up taking half the pizzas home with us as ds2 got bored in his buggy very quickly.

dot1 Mon 18-Apr-05 13:19:08

another vote for Pizza Express! We tend to order garlic bread/dough balls as we're taking our coats off and being shown to our seats, so that they arrive really quickly - this keeps both our 1 year old and 3.5 year old occupied until more food arrives!! the older one loves watching how the pizzas are made aswell - v. good value for money IMO!

GeorginaA Mon 18-Apr-05 19:07:34

Our local Beefeater was surprisingly good recently - have child-sized cutlery and will heat baby food, provide toys and a fairly good if still rather processed menu - i.e. not all chips.

littlerach Mon 18-Apr-05 19:46:06

We take DD's to Pizza Express, Cafe Uno, Garfunkels, TGI's, any Italian, in fact anywhere that isn't too posh!!! DD1 is 4 and adores going out to eat and always behaves as she has realised that well behaved children often get a chocolate from the waitress!! DD2 is 8 months and has been out a few times.
I think as long as they are not disturbing other people then they are fine.

slug Tue 19-Apr-05 17:08:55

Anything family run and ethnic. We regularily take the sluglet to an all you can eat Vietnamese buffet. Instant food, lots of little things to try and jelly and icecream for dessert.

There's also a lovely Turkish restaurant near us. We have been taking her there since she was 6 months old. She toddles off and follows the waiters around, they take her to the kitchen and feed her tidbits. The family who run the place usally have at least one elderly member of the family sitting in a corner drinking coffee, she has been known to spend vast parts of the evening sitting on someone else's lap being fed tidbits and chatting happily away. When the music comes on she dances for the assembled encouraging audience.

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