With kids, dining out can be extremely tricky, more so if they are picky eaters or toddlers who haven’t yet mastered the table manners.

However, here are five tips for dining out with your little ones:

1Eat at the appropriate time

With kids, it is best to avoid the common meal time hours and rush. Choose a time when the rush has gone down as you will be more likely to find a table large enough to accommodate your family.

Moreover, the attendant will not be much distracted and will attend to your needs timely during the off-peak hours.

The proper time to dine with toddlers is 11 am or after 2 pm for lunch and 5pm to 7pm for dinners.

2Practice restaurant manners before you go out

For toddlers, role playing and practice can make a huge difference. Physically sit at the table at home with your kids and explain to them what will happen at the restaurant. Brief them on the simple process that will take place.

A waiter will arrive to ask about their food choices, they will choose the meal they want to take from the menu and they will not be allowed to get out of the table unless really necessary.

Outline to the kids the rules they need to follow before you are at the restaurant. This might also involve selecting your meals from the restaurants that offer their menus online.

3Choose kid-friendly restaurants

Pricey restaurants with several stars to their name are more accustomed to an adult crowd. Bringing your kids to one of these places might not feel comfortable.

Instead, go for a kid-friendly restaurant that might accommodate a little spill and screaming from the children.

4Choose an outside seating or a booth

If the restaurant you are visiting has offers outside seating, then this is the best place to sit your family. The sidewalk and traffic noise is not only likely to be a good distraction for the kids, but it will also mask any misbehavior arising from them.

Moreover, be happy to clean after your children messes by tipping well, this will a better feeling to you and the server at the end of the meal.

If inside, use the booster seat that will give a chance for your little one to move around an area that is well padded.

If dining out with a friend, booths allow you to tuck the toddler between you and someone else to limit movement.

5Take a fun pack

Be sure to bring your children’s best toys with them when dining out. The toys will keep the children busy throughout the meal time and will reduce the disturbances and possible messes arising from them. Most kid-friendly restaurants offer crayons and coloring options for kids. Be sure to use them to keep your children occupied and to prevent them from becoming fussy or bored.

Eating out with kids comes with a lot of stress. Know that it is going to be a lot of work. Remember to keep calm even if things go a little overboard.

Keep in mind that the family dining out experience is one of the best things about parenting that no one should miss.