For parents of children under 10 years old, it’s not always easy to eat out at a restaurant, unless your child is one of those special ones that will sit still, keep quiet (well reasonably) and eat without fidgeting and becoming bored.
My son was one of those children, and by the age of 3 we had decided not to bother even trying to eat out at restaurants with him, since he only sat still for 10 minutes at best, and by the time the food that we had ordered actually arrived, he would refuse to sit down, and kept wanting to walk around in the restaurant, and so it was a case of trying to eat our food as fast as possible, not enjoying it, and ending up with indigestion at the same time.
Back in those days in Europe most restaurants didn’t have high chairs, otherwise that might have been a good option to help keep him still, but he would have fought to get out all the time.
This all changed when we went on vacation to one of the islands in the Mediterranean, and the food in the hotel consisted of a buffet.
Well my son would as usual misbehave and hardly ate anything, except he did like the creme caramels (same as the Latin American flan) , and one day he asked if he could get his own food from the buffet, to which I agreed.
He of course didn’t want anything for an appetizer or main course, but his creme caramel.
So we allowed him to do that, to keep him quiet and get him to eat, and after 3 of these, he decided he wanted something else. Within a couple of days, where he could choose his own food, he was eating normally.
We now have a boy who is perfectly behaved when he goes out to eat (and so he should be at 30 years old), but I wanted to tell you about this, because children are more likely to behave themselves in a restaurant when they are given responsibility to act grown up and to choose their own food, even if an adult has to put it on a plate for them.
The problems of children being bored while waiting for their food to arrive, and then not liking what is on their plate, are all removed if you take them to a buffet restaurant.
Also, buffet restaurants always have a plentiful supply of high chairs to help keep toddlers and younger children under control, as well as allowing them to sit more comfortably at the table.
The wide selection of buffet food allows children to become more familiar with some dishes that are not eaten at home, and to widen their food experience. It’s a great opportunity to introduce children to new dishes, especially if they don’t eat too healthily at home.
My two daughters have always been used to eating out, and now my eldest is old enough to go up and get food for her and her younger sister, which they both really enjoy doing when I take them out to eat.
Buffets are also good if you have a party of children, even a birthday party, and they make a change from the usual fast food establishments, and provide a wider variety of food items for the children to choose from.
So if you have a younger child who is not particularly restaurant friendly, why not try taking them to a restaurant that is more child friendly, and give them the opportunity to help choose their own food.
The experience might just help open up a whole new dining experience for the family.