Top 3 Tips for Dining Out with Kids
Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse isn’t just a place for adults, because in Brazil the louder the better, the more the merrier. Central to the community ambiance at Brazilian gatherings are the kids, whose enthusiasm, joy, wonder, and exuberance add to the dynamic and make the experience so much fun. So at Pampa, we want you to know that your kids are welcome here. At the same time, we know taking your kids out to nice restaurants can be a challenge: exhausting, frustrating, and an exercise in patience. Between busy, squirmy kids and picky palates, kids can make it hard to enjoy eating out when all you want is for someone else to do the work! That’s why we’ve compiled our top three tips for restaurant dining with kids to help make your brunch, lunch, or dinner at Pampa memorable (in a good way).
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
Before taking your kids out to eat for an evening, practice eating out at home. What kid doesn’t love to play pretend? Pick up some fun, felt play food from IKEA and a kids’ china set and set up a little toddler table restaurant-style complete with a candle (one of those battery ones, of course) and cloth napkins and show them how it’s done. For added fun, you can even make menus and get an apron for the server role. Take turns being the customers and the server – for a fun twist, mommy or daddy can pretend to be a Gaúcho! Once your kids have their table manners down, practice with real food and make a mini salad bar/buffet so they know what to expect at Pampa.
2. Lay Out Your (Reasonable) Expectations
As parents, we all too often underestimate our kids’ ability to understand – especially toddlers. But instead of assuming they know to say “please” and “thank you,” make sure you tell them that they’re expected in a restaurant. By talking through what it’s like in a restaurant and explaining what you expect of them, you set them up for success. But make sure your expectations are reasonable – no kid can sit still and stay quiet for a two-hour meal at a restaurant. Give them suggestions for what they can do when they need to move around. For example, it’s okay to ask Daddy to walk with you around the restaurant and it’s okay to laugh loudly, but it’s not okay to run around or throw food.
3. Prepare and Engage
As much as practicing and setting expectations is preparation, you also want to ensure that you have activities to engage your kids when they get bored as well as a plan to ward off meltdowns. For babies and toddlers, you’ll want to serve them some food immediately to keep them busy and prevent “hanger” from getting the best of them – which makes Pampa the perfect choice since you can snag any number of items from fruit and cheese to Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese buns) as soon as you arrive – and don’t forget bibs, sippy cups, baby wipes, and paper towel. For young kids, bring colouring books, little puzzles, small Playmobil kits, and travel board games and keep these things for eating out only so the novelty doesn’t wear off. Kids just want to be engaged and when they feel heard and valued, they’re well behaved, so don’t just talk to your partner, talk to your kids. Play word games and spelling games with your little ones and ask your older ones about their lives and interests – because the whole point of going out to eat (especially for the parent who is typically tasked with cooking) is to spend time with your family without the distractions of home.
There’s nothing worse than having kids and feeling like you can’t go out to eat any more, so in addition to following these tips, choose restaurants that truly welcome kids. All you care to indulge concepts like ours at Pampa also ensure that even the pickiest eater can find food to enjoy, and if you’re kids aren’t meat eaters – you can choose the ‘salad bar only‘ option. At Pampa, we have something for everyone, and our dedication to authentic Brazilian barbecue means that we’re a family-friendly place to eat. Make your reservation today!