Pre-kids era, Hubby Byren and I would decide to out for dinner at 20H00 and it wouldn’t be an issue.
Post-kids era, we try and work the time in around 17H00 so that there’s enough time for eating and playing before the kids are overly tired and need to go to bed.
Pre-kids era, we could be spontaneous, name a place and go there.
Post-kids era, is there a playground?
Pre-kids era, where we sat didn’t matter.
Post-kids era, finding a seat closest to the play area for safety purposes. Also will a booster seat fit in at the table we’re at?
Sounds familiar, right?
We’ve been going to the same restaurants for years since it’s convenient. For the kids, it doesn’t matter. Their main objective is to get to the play area as quickly as possible. The food is just a bonus.
For parents, it’s not the same effect. Over the years, you get used to the same food because the menu doesn’t change and you get tired of the same environment.
So what do you do? You start looking for new places to go to that are of course, family-friendly.
I don’t always have the time to sit online and look for places to go to that will work with kids, so I need to use the times I have to my advantage. And most of those times are when we are out and about, running errands.
If you’ve also found yourself wishing for a change, I’ve put together a few things to look out for when on the hunt for new family friendly restaurants that won’t steal time out of your day.
Use keywords when checking online reviews
If you are searching online, using specific keywords will help optimize your search. Phrases like “play area” or “family-friendly” will narrow down the search results. If reading through reviews online, keep those phrases in mind when scanning through them.
It’s obvious that if there’s an outdoor play area and seating areas, you’ve got a winner!
An important factor if you have a baby or a toddler in nappies so you don’t have to stress about where you will be changing them should the need arise.
It’s a given, if there’s a kiddies menu, they cater for young kids. Most restaurants have a display at their front doors to send a ‘message’ out that we are kid-friendly.
Where there are kids, there is laughter and screaming. Funny how that goes together in a play area. If you’re hearing that, chances are kids are welcome.
Another important thing to lookout for if you have a baby because you don’t want to spending most of the time holding your baby or keeping their hands out of your food.
Places that have tables spaced close together aren’t kid-friendly. Kids run around so the chances of them running into a table and knocking something off. Also getting to your table with a pram with little space to move-high frustration levels.
Waiters talk to kids directly
Places that are kid-friendly, waiters talk directly to the kids. Whether it’s about what they want to drink, eat, if they want an activity book, balloon, etc. Obviously, it’s a little tricky to see from the outdoor, but this is where the next point comes in.
Ask and talk
One of the best ways to find new places is by asking other parents. This way you can also ask about their experiences of the places they name as well as get a feel of all the above mentioned points.