Save the cartoons for later: If your children like to watch cartoons or games on your phone, then tell them before you go into the restaurant what the ground rules are. Ideally you should (if possible) hold off until after they have eaten, as it will keep them in their seats while you finish your meal. If you give it earlier they might get bored sooner and you have nothing to fall back on. Avoid threatening not to give it as you probably won’t be able to follow through on this without causing a meltdown.
Choose the best time: The worst time to go to a restaurant is when either you or your child is very hungry! The key to a good restaurant experience with kids is going at the right time. Generally, kids have their lunch or dinner much earlier than adults. Hence, choose a time which coincides with your kids’ hunger and there is less rush at the restaurant. Order food for your kids first, and ask for it to be brought to the table as soon as it’s ready or at the latest with your starters.
You don’t need to feel embarrassed: When things go wrong and you end up with a meltdown or a tantrum, don’t worry about what other people think, the most important thing to do is console your child. Try to reassure and calm them, “I know you want to …. But in the restaurant we all have to ….” Don’t feel you have to struggle on with a dinner that is quickly falling apart, it’s okay to admit defeat and head for home.