Outdoor Dining with KidsAdventureMom guest blogger Kathy Dalton shares tips for helping kids (and parents) enjoy outdoor dining.

Have you ever been in the following situation when eating out with your family?

Not so long ago, our family is seated outside dining at our favorite family restaurant for brunch on Saturday.  A bird chirps above in the trees over my right shoulder. The sunshine warms my back. The clicking of water cups and utensils can be heard over the casual Saturday morning chatter.

All is serene and peaceful. This is how brunch is meant to be. Until, the slow wind up of my daughter begins… “Waahhhahha!!!”

Heads turn in our direction like a wave.

They stare.

“Oh dear, where is that pacifier?” panicked, I think to myself.

“Nuts, it must be in the car…”

I blush.

My heart races.  The thought to give her some water from a straw comes to mind.

“Ah! That’s it! She’s thirsty”.

Have you ever experienced a less than graceful dining out experience like me?

Since then, we’ve tried to plan a little better. Eating out, especially in nice warm weather can be a fun family experience that everyone can enjoy. Don’t let the unexpected throw your meal for a loop. Plan ahead and be prepared and you’ll be set!

Here are a few quick tips for a fun outdoor family meal.

  1. Research Before You Go:  Using a gift card? Make sure you redeem it first. Simply to go Restaurant.com. Be sure print your Restaurant.com certificate or have it on your mobile phone.
  2. Call ahead: many places will take reservations and you won’t have to wait in line with hungry tummies.
  3. Pack a Fun Bag: Bring a bag of toys & books to the restaurant
  4. Snacks: Even if you’ve called ahead, it may take time to get your food. Having a few snacks on hand like raisins or crackers can help keep kids happy.
  5. Let the kids pick the spot: If it’s a “seat yourself” restaurant, our 5-year-old son suggests you let the kids find the spot. “Count the number of people and then the number of seats to be sure there are enough spots,” he advises.
  6. Sun protection: remember that little one’s ski is more sensitive to the sun than ours and they also may get dehydrated.
  7. Play games: play “I spy” or create different patters with the sugar packets.  Last month I shared Healthy Eating Tips. Use the “My Plate” to create your own game.

Hope these tips will help you on your next outdoor dining experience!

Do you have any tips for dining outdoors with children?

Kathy DaltonKathy Dalton is a Restaurant.com Blog Ambassador who lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and 2 children. She’s also the face behind AdventureMom.TV. AdventureMom helps adventurous moms raise adventurous kids who are worn-out after a day full of outdoor fun. With the latest technology, social media, video, photography and blog postings, they demonstrate tips and tricks for all things al fresco. Readers can find outdoor product reviews, family travel activities, as well as dining and vacation planning for unique family escapades.