We’ve all been there. We’ve been sat in a restaurant, only for all hell to break loose as the kids run riot. Eating out was once one of life’s rewards. When the kids come along, it (can) be anything but.
Of course, all of the above is the very worst-case scenario. In truth, if everyone is on tip-top behaviour, dining out at a restaurant is another glorious family moment. There’s no doubt that things can get tricky in the peak periods, though, with the upcoming Christmas weeks being one of these.
Bearing this in mind, if you are plotting a Christmas restaurant trip with the family, read on for some top tips on how to manage it.
Pick your location extremely wisely
Put simply, some restaurants are more child-friendly than others. If you take to somewhere like Covent Garden, the options are endless. However, visit the other side of the city, and the situation can be very different.
So, what suggests that a restaurant is suitable for children? A kids menu is the obvious one, but if you’re wandering around the area and spot lots of little people heading in and out, it’s usually a good sign. Another one is high chairs; if a restaurant has a stack of them, you’re sure to be in good company, and things will be easier going!
Do you have to visit at rush hour?
There’s rush hour, and then there is Christmas rush hour. Neither is desirable, but the latter is something you should look to avoid at all costs. The last thing you want with busy stressed shoppers is to head into a restaurant in the thick of it.
The busy period tends to last between 12 pm and 1.30 pm. If you can visit outside of these hours, it will be a much more tolerable experience!
Assess the Christmas meal options beforehand
This again reverts back to the famous question of if a restaurant is child-friendly or not. As we all know, some children are fussier than others – and some festive menus (regardless of the cuisine) can get a bit too complicated.
This is where you should assess the menu beforehand. Sure, we’re all for being spontaneous, but if you can research where you’re going before heading out, it will make things a lot more seamless. You won’t be frantically trying to get everyone in order and finding out what everybody wants – it will all be arranged, and you can concentrate on the other finer details!
Book if you can
Finally, did we mention that this was the most chaotic time of the year in towns and cities? Taking kids into a hectic environment tends to be a recipe for chaos, so at least try to bring some organised factors to proceedings by reserving a table in advance. There are no wait times this time, and you’re at least taking control of the situation somewhat. Again, it might feel like it is excessively planned, but in truth, this is the best formula for Christmas dining with the family.