Our Restaurants Welcome the Kids.
And Eating Out Can Be a Learning Experience for Children.
It seems like it is increasingly difficult for families to eat together these days.
Everyone is just so busy! Today, in many families, both parents work. And even if there is a stay-at-home spouse, he or she is constantly on the go because the kids have demanding schedules, too—homework, sports practice, dance lessons, etc. Families often have to eat in shifts.
For our grandparents, and their parents a family dinner was traditional; for some, mandatory. But that was before TV, cell phones and other electronic devices, as well as athletic and other endeavors, competed for our time.
Research shows, according to the Huffington Post, “eating together has multiple benefits for everyone involved…”
That is especially true for the kids, who can be at lower risk of poor eating habits, weight problems and even substance dependency if they eat at least five times a week with their families, according to the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University, Kids who eat with their families also do better academically and have better relationships with their parents.
For some, it is easier to arrange dining out together than it is to organize a family dinner at home. That’s true in part because dining out is an event, and an event can be scheduled!
Now, some parents will tell you that dining out with kids can be traumatic or embarrassing. But it need not be so. Family dining out can be fun, but it also should be a learning experience for the kids.
It is at the dinner table that children learn good manners, proper eating etiquette and the art of conversation. When children are in a public environment, like a restaurant, they seem to be more receptive to learning—chew with your mouth closed and not while talking; use your silverware from the outside in, and use both fork and knife while cutting food.
Sheryl Trower, who founded The Etiquette School of Central Pennsylvania, recommends parents introduce children to dining out by progression. Start in a fast food restaurant, then a casual restaurant and then to “a nicer, locally owned restaurant.”
“Take them to a neighborhood restaurant and introduce them to the owner,” she says. That will make the children feel special and put on their best behavior.
Our SJHotChefs.com restaurants offer another important learning experience: children can be come acquainted with a wide variety of foods—many of which they might not be served or available at home. Equally as important, they can sample diverse cuisines—literally from around the world. SJHotChef.com restaurants run the gamut from Chinese to Indian to Italian to Greek and Mediterranean to Mexican. And, of course, American.
That may be all well and good for youngsters, and even teenagers can be taught good manners and may even try exotic foods. But, what about babies? Sometimes they cry at inconvenient times. When that happens, taking the child to the restroom can be a calming move. It is also helpful to bring activities that keep the child involved and seated throughout the meal.
At our 40 plus independently owned and operated restaurants that, collectively, we call SJHotChefs.com, we love to serve families and enjoy seeing kids eating and learning at the same time. Why not schedule a family dining event this week? You can make reservations right here.