Dining at a luxury restaurant is a wonderful way to relax and have great wine and food. Many parents have concerns about taking their children to a fine dining restaurant. Below are a number of tips to help make your fine dining experience with children pleasurable and not embarrassing.
1. If you have made a reservation several days or a week before, you can practice good behavior and manners with your children at home. Help them learn to say ‘thank you,’ and ‘please.’ Use positive reinforcement techniques. As well, if they are old enough, you will have to teach them to use cutlery and drink a beverage without spilling it. As well, if they are old enough, you can teach them how to properly order food. When you reserve a table, ask for a corner table for privacy.
2. When you arrive and park at the restaurant, it is time to have one more gentle and positive talk about how the children are to behave. Explain that they cannot yell, scream, and run around at the restaurant. Remind them that they have to consider the other people dining.
3. It can be a real hassle and distraction taking children to the restroom at a fine dining restaurant. Before you arrive, make sure the children have gone to the restroom.
4. When most people attend a fine dining restaurant, it tends to be between 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM. This can be very late for children who may get hungry and cranky. Bring some snacks such as carrots or apple pieces for them to munch on while waiting for the main meal. While you are waiting for your meal, have some activity books such as crossword puzzles or coloring books to keep them occupied. Include the children in the table conversation. You can also ask your server for some bread or crackers for the children. To make ordering faster and easier, make sure you know what your children like and don’t have them experiment with new or spicy foods.
5. Children are curious and love to pick things up and put them in their mouths. Keep candles, sugar packets, cutlery such as knives and forks, and flower displays out of their reach. For very young children, take along a bib, bottles or a child’s special ‘sippy’ cup for drinking. Use high chairs safely.
6. When the meal arrives, look after the children first. Cut the meal up in small pieces for better eating. Make sure you have ordered the beverage to come with the meal. When the children are finished, ask the server to take their plates out of the way. If your children are anxious, skip dessert.
7. Very young children do not like to sit for a long period of time. Once everyone has finished eating, it may be a good time to leave. Older children will be able to sit for a certain period of time before they start getting fidgety and want to leave.
8. Be patient and try not to let small incidents bother you. Children can pick up on frustration.
Fine dining is a wonderful way to spend the evening. When taking children to an elegant restaurant, you greatly improve the chances of having a successful meal without any unpleasant incidents by planning ahead.