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Big Family Tip

by David Kuharski

For those of you who don't know my family, Julie and I are the proud parents of six kids.  While big families aren't anything new, we don't usually see very many of them around our neighborhood.  There are some, but not many.  SO... You and your significant other are expecting multiples?  You already have a kiddo and you worry about your budget.  The question is... How do you afford taking the kids out?

Well, from our little corner of the world--Here are some ideas, broken down by restaurant type...

1.) Fast food: Yup, your kids are going to want the kids meal with the treat.  But your wallet doesn't want to buy 6 of the $4-5 meal.  Solution, buy a family size of chicken nuggets, a couple of large fries and split them among your veracious little kiddos.  Buy what you need a la carte!  If you can find a restaurant with an indoor play area, they'll scarf down the food and go play!  Yes, this is easier said than done if your kids want that expensive kids meal, but what we've found is that if you take care of the question early, "Honey, remember this is a treat and those meals are expensive.  We can go here by buying food this way."  If the kids already have an expectation that they're getting a meal--good luck

2.) Sit Down Restaurants: You'd be surprised, some restaurants will let you buy chicken tenders etc a la carte.  Also, most restaurants we've found (best case if you don't know--ask) will let you split meals between kiddos.  Example: Some kids meals, by themselves, can fill up an adult.  So, why waste the food and money?  Split the plates.  Waiters and waitresses, usually, bring Julie extra plates so that she can break up the plates.  Think about it--if you and your significant other are getting bigger plates (and with us, Grandma is usually along for the ride too) it's to their benefit to make the experience easier.  What you say your kids are too loud for restaurants?  Remember. some eateries have separate rooms where you can contain that sound.  BTW-- booths work good to help corral squirmy, on the move kiddos.  

Yeah, eating out can be costly, not just for your wallet but also for your sanity.  But planning ahead can help make the experience more fun and save you dish washing time.  OH YEAH.. bring baby wipes--bring PLENTY of baby wipes--like an industrial supply!