Some families treat going out to dinner as a special occasion. It is certainly a great way to celebrate something important, such as graduation or athletic success, but it can also create this false belief in a child's mind that dining out is only for special occasions. It is important for a child's growth to learn how to socialize with others, not to mention the benefit of spending quality time with the family, and making family meals out a regular part of the routine is a big step towards making that happen.
It is easy to see why parents might have misgivings about dining out. Restaurants that focus on younger children have a habit of encouraging behaviors that do not translate well to a more traditional dining situation. One national chain even has the motto "Where a kid can be a kid" and while that might be a great place to celebrate a six-year old's birthday party on a Saturday afternoon, it is not what the parents want to suffer through on a monthly basis.
The truth is that children will not learn how to behave properly in a restaurant until they are given the opportunity to do so. It is a bit of a catch-22, and the tension is heightened by the fact that if it does not go well, the parents feel like they have wasted their money. Nobody wants to pay for the opportunity to have a lousy time, and so parents simply tell themselves that it is not worth it right now and instead of helping to broaden their children's horizon, they continue to patronage fast food places and national chain locations.
There is a solution for families looking to break out of this trend, and it can be found in privately owned casual fine dining restaurants all across the country. One of the most popular styles of restaurants for families are Latin fusion restaurants. The combination of authentic spices and flavors with familiar menu items means that the food is not so far removed from what kids are familiar with that they will not be interested. The inspiration for these restaurants typically comes from the family meals the chefs grew up enjoying, so the staff recognizes the importance of the family unit being together, and most also have a full bar, allowing the parents the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine or a drink with their meal, something that many other "family friendly" restaurants do not offer.
Dining out as a family has many benefits for everyone involved, and it does not have to be relegated to places with animatronic animals and a playground. Treat your family to a Latin fusion restaurant at a casual fine dining restaurant and see how much fun it can be.
Jack Terry is a freelance writer who has been involved in the food and beverage industry for more than 20 years. http://www.osorioslatinfusion.com