All of us have had at least one dining out experience that you thought would be relaxing and quiet only to have it disturbed by unruly children who think the restaurant is their own personal playground.

To avoid having this happen with your own children, here are few ideas to help keep them quiet and happy during dinner:


Dining out can be an overwhelming and, frankly, boring experience for small children. Bring games or activities they can use at your table. Bring along a bag with coloring books, markers, colored pencils, activity books, jigsaw puzzles – anything that will keep them entertained while waiting for your meal to be delivered.


Teach manners early. When children know what is expected of them, they will behave better. When you’re ready to leave for the restaurant, have a talk with your child or children and make sure they know what type of behavior you expect of them while dining out.


Choose the right type of restaurant. If you have very young children, it may be a better choice to eat at a more casual restaurant.


Eat early. Most restaurants have a dinner rush from about 5:00-7:00 pm. This usually means longer waiting periods for your table which can be trying for the children. Avoid this by picking and earlier dinner time.


Most importantly, be respectful of those around you. There are just some people who will be uncomfortable with children around during their dinner. Encourage your children to use softer voices and keep the noise level down. You’ll find that the respect you show will be much appreciated.

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