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Some parents won’t go near a restaurant with their children in tow, for fear of being ostracized. Children of all ages have a right to eat out. The reason it’s hard to eat out with young kids is that they don’t sit still and they don’t like to wait. The eating part isn’t so bad.

Here are some tips on how to eat out with your little ones:

1) Before you go, pack a goodie bag with some things to keep them entertained such as crayons, notebook, favorite books, games, and some quiet toys. If your child is especially energetic and restless always be sure to pack a few new toys to keep them interested.

2) Do your research and make sure that the restaurant you choose welcomes children. Any restaurants with a kids menu will obviously be happy to have them. For example, a kid friendly place or a buffet. One that is casual and loud enough to absorb any noise that your family might make.

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3) Go early and beat the rush. Restaurants are less crowded, it’s easier to get seating, and the service is much better during that time.

4) Practice table manners, politeness and public behavior at home, not just when eating out. This will help your kids be more comfortable when eating out in public settings.

5) Try to order as quickly as possible, and make sure to ask your server for some bread or crackers for your children, while waiting for the meals.

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Are you really there for your kids?