When you visit a restaurant with a children’s menu, you can generally always expect them to be essentially all the same: hot dog, small hamburger, microwaved frozen pizza, macaroni and cheese, occasionally with infantile names like Minnie Mouse and Daffy Duck. It’s familiar, kid-friendly food, easily recognizable and causing minimal hassle. While it might be convenient to let your kid order off of the children’s menu (and also a guarantee that little Timmy will at least eat some of it), you really should encourage your children to order off of the regular menu instead. Here’s why:
1: Kid’s menu items are usually incredibly unhealthy. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a vegetable on a children’s menu?
2: They save the restaurant a ton of money. A plain hot dog probably costs a restaurant 25 cents, but you’ll be paying $11.99 for it.
3: Parents should encourage their children to experiment with new foods and broaden their palate. Kids like hot dogs and pizza because they’re salty and fatty. Introducing kids to new flavors at a young age will help to develop their palate while it’s still forming. Encourage them to experiment and order “adult” dishes.
4: It teaches them how to interact with wait staff. Looking at a menu, deciding on a dish, asking questions about it if necessary, and ordering is a skill that everyone should learn, and kids should learn it while their parents are there to guide them (seriously, some people still have no idea how to order food at a restaurant, and it’s absurd). Obviously this isn’t a skill four year-olds need to know, but by the time a kid is eight or 9 he or she should be able to speak for themselves in a restaurant.