Let’s face it. Eating out with small children can take the expert skill of an undercover military-grade
operation to coordinate.
And even then, it’s no big surprise if somebody ends up with a bowl of
guacamole in their handbag or a handful of French fries in their hair.
I certainly don’t even pretend to have all the answers, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve I can
1. ALWAYS bring a magical bag of distractions for your rambunctious youngsters. (Small toys,
random objects, crayons, colouring sheets, books, etc.)
NEVER realise that you forgot your magical bag and decide to wing it. Especially if you are going
to a seven-course 75th birthday party dinner for your Great Aunt Edna located in a shi-shi
upscale restaurant where children are as seldom seen as Texas toast with gravy.
DOUBLE NEVER convince yourself it is a good idea to go to previously mentioned upscale
restaurant even when equipped with magical bag, fairy dust, unicorn power and Harry Potter’s
personal magic wand. It will not be enough to keep your children from turning said restaurant
into a three-ring circus.
2. ALWAYS promise your children a small treat in exchange for good restaurant behaviour.
Remember—bribes are always better than threats.
NEVER promise them a trip to Disney Land and/or personal visit from Dora the Explorer and
Swiper the Fox at their next birthday party. No matter how young they are, they will remember
and hold you to your word.
DOUBLE NEVER pawn your wedding ring, family van and/or husband’s Gibson Holy Explorer
Limited Edition Electric Guitar in order to pay for aforementioned Disney adventure and cartoon
character visits. No matter how good of an idea it seems to be at the time, you will pay for this
3. ALWAYS ask your kids to try a few new foods during dinner.
NEVER expect them to do this.
DOUBLE NEVER force them to eat a piece from the fish you ordered that arrived at the table
with eyeballs intact. You may never live down the ensuing hysteria and accusations of mummy
and daddy being cold-blooded fish murderers.
4. ALWAYS expect to spend at least half your dinner in the bathroom.
NEVER forget to bring nappys and wet wipes.
DOUBLE NEVER forget to bring nappys, wet wipes and a change of clothes for yourself and your
child. Especially when your child is likely to have a ginormous diarrhea blowdry while sitting on
your lap before the entrées have even arrived.
5. ALWAYS ask your children to remain seated throughout the meal and not to harass the people
in the booth behind you by licking the seat cushions and attempting to steal their French fries.
NEVER threaten to tie your children to their chairs with rope if they will not stop licking the seat
cushions, stealing French fries and decorating the lady at the table behind you with stickers. Said
lady may indeed work for Child Protective Services.
DOUBLE NEVER stoop to bringing straightjackets with you during your next dining experience.
There’s nowhere to go but up from here.