When I became pregnant with my daughter over four years ago, one of the millions of things that crossed my mind was, “where are we going to eat now?” I wasn’t about to sacrifice the stylish restaurants I loved for fast food, or becoming a hermit just because kids are boisterous, so I set out to find which restaurants in my area (Greenwich, CT and New York City) were cool yet kid-friendly. Fast forward a couple of years and Glimpse Guides was born – our family loves to travel and friends were always asking where we took our kids in other cities, so I decided to start creating guides. The restaurants we visit are the same ones my husband and I would visit even if my kids weren’t with us. They’re the fashionable spots, and they are also totally fine for toddlers – if you’re prepared. Here are a few tips I’ve come up with for enjoying yourselves while trying to stay au courant:
1) Preview the menu
The second you sit down at the table, place an order for the kids. They need to be doing something at all times – preferably eating. I like to look at the menu ahead of time so if there’s no kids menu, I’ll already know that they’ll eat the pasta.
2) Bring activities
I start with crayons and paper and then move onto books. My kids aren’t too into coloring so we usually move on quickly (Where’s Waldo? is a great book that keeps them busy forever.) I also bring their iPads if all else fails – trust me, it will bother no one if they’re just sitting there well-behaved (although of course you’ll get the random judgy stare – just remember those people probably don’t have kids, so who cares?).
3) Try not to let them out of their seats
Wanting to get down and walk around can become a bad habit. But if you’re desperate, take a walk to the restroom and come right back. If you choose a particularly lively spot, which most of our choices are, you won’t disturb anyone by making a long loop. You do not want this to happen:
4) Eat early
You’ll avoid the crowds and have the place to yourselves for most of the time. Plus, who wants a toddler staying up past their bedtime anyway?
5) Look good
I like to dress my kids up in their cutest outfits, so they might have a chance of charming other patrons into thinking they’re adorable little angels. Here are a few past attempts:
I’m sorry, but who do you know who has honestly never bribed their kids? Offer up dessert if they are well-behaved, and keep mentioning it throughout the meal. Works like a charm.