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how often do you take your kids out for a meal?


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#1 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:25 AM

We have a few friends who rarely take their kids out for meals (other than maccas)  as they 'dont behave'
Personally I think that practice makes perfect, and we take our DD out regularly (she often doesnt 'behave' but we distract and play/draw with her and dont linger for coffees etc after)
How often do you take your kids out? Did age make a difference?

Edited by trishalishous, 12 April 2012 - 12:27 AM.


#2 ubermum

Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:31 AM

About once a month. We do kid friendly places like the pub for dinner, or a noodle shop.

#3 SummerStar

Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:19 AM

Usually a few times a month except since the baby was born its been alot less but I'm sure as she gets older we will start going more often again.

#4 Feral timtam

Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:42 AM

We try to take the kids out at LEAST once a week. Usually not for a meal as such due to the fact that between the two of them they usually fail to complete even half a kids sized meal.
Depending on who is going (adult wise) we usually head out for coffee and cake. That way we can go somewhere slightly more upmarket for the kids to learn proper behaviour.

I actually find my kids are better behaved in the pricey cafe that serves a two year old a drink in a VERY fragile looking glass cup than they are at a "family restaurant"  like Maccas!

#5 2bundles

Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:56 AM

3+ times per week. They are 7&9. When they were both toddlers we stayed at home a bit more or did child friendly venues as it often isn't worth the effort.

#6 meljb

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:03 AM

I have a 2yr old and 4.5yr old, we go through stages where we might be out for breakfast or lunch once a week for a few weeks and then nothing for a few months. I do try to take them and have coffee semi-regularly so they learn how to behave appropriately.
We went out for dinner recently to a child friendly but still "fancy" restaurant for a special occassion and they behaved beautifully (not perfect, but pretty close imo). We booked for the earliest sitting (5:30, but we were there for over 2 hours), ordered their meals first and then when I finished my main I took them for a walk outside as the other adults were still eating. The restaurant supplied some pencils and a picture to colour in.

#7 Expelliarmus

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:13 AM

I think it depends on age, but also the child. Some are really good in cafes etc earlier than others.

The one thing we don't do however is take them out in order that they 'learn how to behave'. We take them out for the reason that we are taking them out! When we had little, little ones (toddler and babies) and there were only 1 or 2 of them we would go to middle of the range type places - probably between 1-3 times in 3 months, then we got outnumbered. I think we stayed home for a while, but I think that's more likely to do with affordability than the kids not behaving. We definitely went through a stage for years where we didn't go anywhere other than McDonald's because we couldn't afford to go anywhere other than McDonald's.

Currently we have the finances to go about once a month probably and as they have gotten older we have started to eat at a wider variety of places. A few years ago it was Hog's Breath and Fasta Pasta. Now we frequent fine dining/a'la carte about half the time. It's hard to say if age or finances has been the biggest influence on that. One of the reasons we go out more is that they can stay up later, another is we don't have to chase anyone around a restaurant - they can sit still for an hour or two. But without the money to go those would be moot points.

Edited by howdo, 12 April 2012 - 07:14 AM.


#8 threelittlegems

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:20 AM

We used to take our kids out to restaurants all the time, and felt very smug about it.

A number of times I informed posters on EB boards that it was their fault for not exposing their children to restaurants so they could learn how to behave.

Then we had Charlie.  Everything changed. He was a nightmare, and no amount of exposure or training helped. Worse, he influenced DD who decided, why should I sit here and be quiet if Charlie wont.

So we didn't go to restuarants or cafes for over 12 months. Even a quick breakfast usually turned into a nightmare. We did go to a local cafe on Valentines Day, and I thought the kids were reasonably bearable. DH disagrees though.

OP, do you have one child? Because I agree, it is easy to train most children on their own to sit and behave in a restaurant. In fact, I'd be reasonably happy to take either of my three children out to a cafe on their own. Three together however, is a totally different story.

Edited by threelittlegems, 12 April 2012 - 07:20 AM.


#9 Kay1

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:21 AM

Depends entirely on the child! DS1 we took out for breakfast weekly from birth - and later on for the odd dinner etc. He was great. We travelled o/s with him at 2 and he was great.

DS2 on the other hand....we didn't dare set foot in a cafe from about 10 months. He was hell bent of sweeping everything off every surface and no amount of 'training' would stop him. He would also throw food on the floor, cry and arch his back in the high chair etc.  He is 3.5 now and we are finally able to go out for meals again. We go maybe once a month for dinner and more often for breakfast. We generally go to kid friendly places, so where they can run around while we're waiting (outdoor places, we don't let them run around inside) and always take lots of activity books etc.

Edited by Kay1, 12 April 2012 - 07:25 AM.


#10 Bubblicious

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:28 AM

I don't take DD out for meals all that often, but it's mostly because of what's on offer for the kids meal. She doesn't like chicken, I'm sick of fish, the 'schnitzel' always looks gross, they are ALWAYS served with chips, and she just won't eat a whole adult meal.

Mind you, we went to QLD for a week last September and we went out for dinner every night and she was very well behaved, so once the 'kids meals' catch up to what she eats we will probably go more often

#11 JRA

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:33 AM

Too often.

I don't think it is essential though.

I grew up never going out for dinner, it just wasn't done, and of course there was no money. We grew up with perfectly reasonable manners. Eating at home doesn't mean you eat like a heathen.



#12 rokate

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:35 AM

We take our kids out all the time, DS is very well behaved out and DD is only 3months old, so snoozes in the pram or my arms.  
We are lucky that DS eats anything, so we can take him anywhere. His favourite is the nice Japanese restraunt near home.

#13 DEVOCEAN

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:41 AM

Our kids are pretty well behaved at restaurants etc. and have always been that way. We do go to a few presentation evenings and fundraisers, so they are used to it. Whilst they are younger, they take a small backpack and a few books and pencils and a small visual arts diary to keep them occupied. We have never had complaints about them, and more often then not have people coming over to ask why they aren't running around like most of the others.

#14 Pompol

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:42 AM

I'm with you OP, we take ours out weekly at least for raisin toast at a cafe for this very reason. My sister gets very embarrassed if her kids play up in public so avoids eating out like the plague, when we do all go out for dinner for a birthday etc her kids have no idea how to behave and it's always a disaster.

#15 Chelara

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:46 AM

At least every week with dd, almost 3. Sometimes yum cha, Thai, Italian, the pub, even to a nice restaurant in the blue mountains for my birthday. That was 3 courses and we had a later dinner booking, after driving a couple of hours to get there she was very well behaved. I am glad she doesn't seem to mind going out, I guess she's used to it. We really enjoy being able to do things we would have done pre kids.

#16 Iris37

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:49 AM

Not often, we are on a tight budget and it would be expensive if it wasn't just to a fast food place like MacDonalds, which we dont eat at often either.

#17 gina70

Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:51 AM

No much.  Probably once every few months?  We are all home bodies and would much rather get a takeaway and a dvd and eat off trays on our recliners.  My dd's have always been well behaved when eating out.  I also find it too expensive to eat out with all 3 of us.  I eat out without them more often.

#18 Frau Farbissina

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:00 AM

Pretty regularly I'd say at least once each weekly (sometimes they are out with grandparents too). They are well behaved (most of the time).

#19 Xiola

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:05 AM

We all go out for a meal about once a month.  Age has made a bit of a difference as to how they behave whilst waiting for the food to arrive at the table but not that much.  They're quite good and love to go out for a meal.

#20 mylittlemen

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

QUOTE (JRA @ 12/04/2012, 07:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Too often.

I don't think it is essential though.

I grew up never going out for dinner, it just wasn't done, and of course there was no money. We grew up with perfectly reasonable manners. Eating at home doesn't mean you eat like a heathen.

Agree totally. To answer the question though, if you include coffee and cake, at least 2-3 times a week. DS1 (2.5 years) has eaten at more than one michellin star restaurant. And done a great job. Sure, he's spilled food and even broken a glass but he was trying his best, and the staff were fab with him at each of the restaurants.

ETA you'd be amazed how many fancy restaurants have high chairs, so we can't be the only ones.

Edited by mylittlemen, 12 April 2012 - 08:16 AM.


#21 a letter to Elise.

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:13 AM

I actually think fostering good table manners at home is more important then going out a lot. DS has never been allowed to get up from the table at home and run around, so it wouldn't occur to him to do it when we're out. He has to wait until everyone has finished their meal. We don't exclude him though, I make an effort to make sure that we are not so caught up in adult conversations that he is completely ignored, as that's when the poor behaviour starts. I've really emphasised eating together as a family from the start. We had a very painful couple of months at one point when he tried to get up all the time, but I persevered, and it was worth it.

We do eat out very regularly though - a few times a week at least. DS packs a bag for himself to take along with a little car, some crayons, and maybe some sultanas if it's going to be a long wait for food. We are conscious of not going when he is too tired, and try and limit it to about 2 hours maximum. I do expect good behaviour from him, but he is two, so I don't expect miracles!

A lot of my friends don't seem to think young children can learn any self control, and they just expect poor behaviour, so they just don't bother trying to teach them not to run around like lunatics everywhere they go. DS isn't perfect - he certainly has his moments, but I would at least attempt to stop him from running around, screeching etc. and if he was really out of control for some reason, I would leave.

#22 Raynne

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:15 AM

never - we don't even do McDonalds, and normally don't even do take away, works out too $$ for 6 of us.


#23 ~Mo+Moosh~

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:17 AM

We take our kids out most weekends, often for a meal but sometimes just coffee and cake. They mostly enjoy it as much as we do.

Now that I'm on maternity leave I also often catch up with my girlfriends during the week for lunch and often take at least 2 of my boys along. Generally as long as they are fed and have something to occupy them then they are well behaved.



#24 WhatWouldBuffyDo

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:21 AM

Not very often. Hoping to start a bit more now that they are older though. DS and DD1 are quite good and i'm going to start doing something with DD2 so she gets used to having to sit and wait etc. Depends on finances though because i am finally getting my teeth fixed and it's going to cost around $13K so at the moment, most of our "spare" money is already accounted for.

#25 lozoodle

Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:28 AM

We go out to dinner around once a fortnight, sometimes more. Kids come with us most of the time.




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