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Tips for Dining in Nice Restaurants with Young Kids

Jordan Rhodes

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When I became pregnant with my daughter over six 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 judgey 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? Bonus - you'll lose weight by eating early.


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.


6) Bribery
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.