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Children friendly restaurant - how to find one?

Dining with minors can be a harrowing experience. An afternoon meal can turn into a round of tears within minutes. We all dread the possibility of a fuming manager escorting you off the premises while other patrons give you judgmental glances. Eating out at a child friendly restaurant can minimize the chances of any unpleasant encounters. Here is how to find one.

Get referrals from people with kids

This is a sort of short cut that helps you narrow down your options. A one on one description will also capture more information than an online review. Talk to people with children who are close in age to your children. They will have some good advice that is based on their own experience.
Online reviews will also give you some information you may use. This is especially if they mention outdoor sitting areas and child specific menus. Be keen on noting the opening and closing times so you are not inconvenienced. Take more interest in the customer reviews as opposed to the restaurants' own advertising.
Visit some restaurants by yourself

Have a meal at a few restaurants by yourself. You can start with the top choices that were recommended to you. Check out everything that is on offer on the menu. Also observe their seating arrangements and what their ambiance is like. This will let you know what to expect if you come here with a child. Go on a weekend in the afternoon so you can see if there are any children present.
Check the pricing to be sure it fits into your budget. Also, be sure that children are allowed because some high end restaurants forbid them. The two main things to consider will be the menu and the ambiance. When you visit these restaurants, get the following information.
The menu
Children are fussy eaters who are not too keen on trying out new things. A child can throw a tantrum because of being served something they do not want. This will ruin your dining experience and inconvenience those around you. Identify the restaurants that serve a variety of foods that your children enjoy.
Most children’s menus include easy to eat foods like French fries, burgers and spaghetti. Steaks, sandwiches, pizza, and pastas, fish fingers, mashed potatoes, milkshakes and coleslaw are sometimes included. You may not find a restaurant that has all these foods on their menu, but one or two choices is enough. Others simply offer smaller portions of their regular meals.
The best choices offers special diets that put allergies into consideration. Here you can have a meal made from scratch, according to all your specifications. Some even have infant menus that include options such as fresh vegetable puree. Restaurants that are flexible, with food choices are a good pick. Your child might want bacon and eggs at 2 p.m., so a place that serves breakfast foods at a certain time will not work for you.
The ideal children's menu considers food portion sizes. Children of different ages eat different amounts of food which should be priced differently. A generous drink menu is also a welcome consideration. Drink refills are a deal breaker, especially when served with special straws and bright unbreakable utensils. Children also make messes sometimes, so patient staffs at a restaurant will improve your overall experience.
Restaurants with buffets make a parent’s life much easier. Some kids have a habit of changing their minds. When they have options they are able to accommodate the children's interests. It is also cheaper than buying assorted food choices and desserts. Some places offer one child a free meal for every meal bought by an adult.

The ambiance

The best restaurants for children are those with informal seating. Children like space and they behave better when they have the freedom to move around. It also keeps them from getting restless because of sitting for too long.
A restaurant that has a play area for children offers a welcome distraction. It keeps a child busy while waiting for their meal. It also helps a parent unwind without worrying. If your child needs constant attention, then the alternative would be to put crayons and paper on the table. That way, the child keeps busy while being monitored.
Outdoor sitting areas also provide some flexibility. A child is able to move around so they don't feel stifled by the formal setting in most restaurants. Some restaurants have a playground or a movie corner for playing.
Your best bet is a warm, brightly colored, noisy casual restaurant. Here your child's loud banter will not make anyone uncomfortable. Some child friendly restaurants also have a nursing area and a section where you can change soiled diapers.