10 Surefire Signs of a Kid-Friendly Restaurant

little girl looking at a restaurant menu

A mom's gotta eat, and sometimes cooking isn't in the cards. And you know what that means: dinner out with the kids! Only since children aren't always the most well behaved restaurant guests, many parents may want to head to restaurants that welcome their little ones with open arms. To help parents out, we've found some telltale signs a restaurant is kid-friendly so you can eat out without the guilt.

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signs kid friendly restaurant

1. Certain words in restaurant reviews. "There are certain words parents can look for on restaurant review sites that may help them find a place more suited for kids," says Keela Robison, CEO of Urbanspoon.com. Words like "casual," "outdoor seating," "relaxed," and "noisy" all bode well for little ones. More on why next ...

2. A loud atmosphere. Why is this good? "Any crying or screaming will mostly be drowned out, and these types of restaurants are less likely to have couples on a romantic date night," Robison explains.

3. Servers who speak directly to kids. Do the employees bend down to greet your little one when you enter, or do they act as if they're not there? "If the staff acknowledges your child upon entrance, chances are the restaurant is kid-friendly," says Notoya Green, a parenting expert and mother of triplets. "Many restaurants have staff that won't even look at your child."

4. High chairs and booster seats. Bonus points go to restaurants that make them highly visible and readily available. "If the restaurant hides them, they probably want to avoid any young children dining there," says Green.

5. Kid menu. This is a clarion call for kids -- come on down! Even better, "Check to see if they have days where kids eat for free," suggests Kyle James, founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com.

6. ... or at least kid-friendly food. Even if a restaurant doesn't have a kid menu, it's a good sign if you spot some kid classics from hamburgers to mac 'n' cheese. "When looking for a restaurant online, make sure the menu offers more simple dishes," says Green. "If all of the dishes are extremely contemporary, your kids probably won't like the food and the restaurant is probably targeted towards an older demographic."

7. Diaper changing table. Since, after all, where are you supposed to change your child's diapers -- on the table?

More from The Stir: Baby's Diaper Change Gets Mom Kicked Out of Restaurant

8. Paper tablecloths. "This is a sign that the restaurant is prepared for spills and messy eaters," says Robison. Big plus if crayons are on the table, too, since your kids can create a masterpiece while eating their meals.

9. Widely spaced tables. "Eateries that have tables really close together may not be ideal when you're making frequent bathroom trips or your child is having a tantrum and needs to be taken outside," says Robison.

10. Outdoor seating or a courtyard/playground. These settings are great to distract kids and get them moving a bit to burn off all their excess energy.

What signs have you seen that a restaurant is kid-friendly?

 

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