This welcome advice is on the Internet so it must be true
Like many dads I often take my boys to the park so that my wife can have some time to herself. The boys always play happily on the climbing frame, want a push on the swings and humour me by having a bit of a kick around with a ball. Having spent many hours standing around in the cold, my mind has naturally gravitated towards a somewhere inside and warm. One of the more rewarding ideas has been to extend the outing with a visit to the local pub.
As any drinker will tell you, pubs have certain benefits. Firstly, pubs sell beer. I don’t mind admitting it: sometimes I find it easier to be a good dad when I’ve got a drink in my hand. Now I’m not suggesting you take your children to the pub and get lashed. All I’m saying is that I enjoy a drink and it helps me relax. A dad who feels relaxed is probably better than one who’s stressed. Agreed?
Secondly, pubs are built to be indestructible. I find it easier to look after children when I’m not worrying about them breaking the furniture or damaging the paint work. Finally, most pubs are nice places to hang out.
I’ve found that my boys are always keen to sit at the bar. I think it’s because they like being higher up, they can chat to the bar staff and can see all the drinks and food on offer. Nowadays I try to persuade them to sit at a table in the corner. At first I found that once the juice and crisps had disappeared, the experience turned sour as the boys got bored. On a number of occasions I was forced to down a pint before tipping out on to the pavement with the boys fighting each other.
Then one day I put a pack of playing cards in my pocket before I left the house, found a table in the pub and dealt out the cards. To my surprise, the boys enjoyed the experience and I was able to drink my pint in manner befitting a 40-something father. If you think this sounds rather grown up, the cards were Cars Top Trumps and they now whiff of cheese and onion.
Below are some other card games I’ve found work well in the pub – bear in mind that I have 2 boys aged 7 and 5 whose chief pastime is fighting each other:
Snap is easy to play and a good warm up. You can use normal playing cards – and if you’ve lost your last pack, [amazon text=they’re virtually free&asin=B000BAUVL2] – or buy a specially printed deck which may be easier for younger children
[amazon text=Uno&asin=B00005BOFG] is played with a specially printed deck (Mau Mau is an almost identical game played with normal playing cards). The deck consists of 108 cards split between 4 colours (red, green, blue, and yellow) and wild cards. Each player starts with seven cards and the game is to match the colour or the number
War uses normal playing cards and is for 2 players. All cards are dealt out and kept face down. Both players turn over the top card of their piles and put them face up in the centre of the table, beside the other player’s card. Whoever has turned over the highest ranking card takes both cards and adds them to the bottom of his pile. This continues until two cards of the same value (i.e. two sevens) are put down together. The game is now in a state of “war.” To continue, both players take two new cards and put one face down on top of the card they have already placed in the middle and one face up. Whoever puts down the higher ranking face up card wins all six. The game is won by the player who collects all of the cards.
I’ve found pubs a great place to take children so long as you can keep them busy. And while they are busy you can enjoy the landlord’s finest ale in the knowledge that you are fulfilling your role as a dad.
Who else is a fan of taking the kids to the pub? (All comments from David Cameron will be moderated). How else do you keep them amused through that tricky second pint?