Mommy Myth: Kids in Restaurants Are Unruly
For adults, restaurants are fun. The ambiance. The food. The conversation. Not having to cook. It’s relaxing and enjoyable.
For kids, however, restaurants are boring. They can’t make noise. They can’t run around. And they have to wait for food. And “waiting” is not on kids’ list of favorite activities.
So we end up with bored, antsy kids and adults who are desperate for an enjoyable family outing but are instead frustrated with the situation. In short, no one has a good time. It becomes exhausting rather than relaxing.
But with a little planning and some activity ideas in your back pocket, you can turn a stressful restaurant experience back into a fun one.
Restaurant Activities for Children
I Spy Letters
Using a kids menu or placemat, call out a letter and see how many times they can find that letter. Educational and entertaining! This game is probably for the 3 and over set.
The Color Game
Have your child look at objects on a wall (this works well at a place that has several things hanging on the walls). Then have her close her eyes. Then ask her questions about the colors of the decor. “What color is the lampshade?” “What color is the giant spoon on the wall?” You get the idea.
Three Sugar-Packet Monte
Instead of using three playing cards, use three sugar packets to hide a coin. Move them around and see if your kiddo can pick which packet is concealing the coin. Surprisingly fun!
What’s Your Favorite?
Kids’ “favorites” change all the time, right? So it’s fun to go around and ask each person his or her favorites. “What’s your favorite animal?” “What’s your favorite kind of berry?” “What’s your favorite word?” “What’s your favorite freckle?” It’s funny how kids have very strong opinions about these things. And they love to hear your favorites too!
Put five or six items on the table in front of your little one. Have him look at the objects carefully. Have him turn away and take one and hide it under the table. He then has to guess which object you removed.
Remember these from grade school? You fold a piece of paper (kids’ menus work fine) into a fortune teller and then write numbers, colors, and fortunes inside. (Instructions here.) The sillier the fortunes, the better!
So, get the kids together and go confidently to your favorite restaurant knowing that you have the tools to keep them entertained. For a little while anyway.Photo courtesy of Dan Foy at flickr.com