Tag Archive | "dining out with children"

Tips For Dining Out With Children

Eating out can be very relaxing. You get to be in a nice place and eat delicious food. However, dining out with children is a whole other experience as it can turn into a nightmare at times. So how can you enjoy dining out with children? Here are some tips that will help make your meal out with your toddler a stress-free one.

Time It Right

Make sure your toddler is in a good mood and is well rested before heading out to eat somewhere. If your toddler is weary or in a bad mood, then it will make the entire meal unpleasant. For instance, go to a restaurant 30 minutes before your toddler’s regular meal time, this way he is hungry but not famished. Eat out after he wakes up from his nap. Also, try to go early so that you avoid crowds and you will be seated and served promptly.

Choose A Child-friendly Restaurant

Picking the right restaurant is very important when dining out with children. Choose a restaurant that is casual and family friendly, preferably one with playground equipment, arcade games or puzzles such as McDonald’s, Chuck E. Cheese and Denny’s. Buffets are also great for toddlers - children like the wide selection. In addition, pick a restaurant with a kids menu.

Establish Ground Rules

Set ground rules in advance and implement them at home. Make it clear that dining out is a special event that requires him to be on his best behaviour just like going to grandma’s house. Even if you are just going to the pizza parlor, it is imperative that your toddler knows not to throw food, keep his elbows off the table and be nice to his siblings.

Provide Distractions

Keep your toddler entertained while waiting for his food to arrive by packing something special such as coloring books, papers, crayons, his favorite toy, some board games and stickers. Bringing a light snack such as crackers or
trail mix will also keep your little one happy for a few minutes.

Be Prepared

Not all restaurants have child-friendly utensils such as sippy cups and a spoon and fork so you might want to pack these items in your diaper bag. Also, take a pillow or blanket to prop your toddler if he is uncomfortable on his highchair. Lastly, do not forget to bring extra diapers, baby wipes, bibs and a clean set of clothes.

Sit Strategically

Sit in a place that will not overstimulate nor understimulate your little one. Maybe your toddler prefers to sit in a quiet booth of the restaurant, next to the window so he can look out the street or in the loudest section of the restaurant.

Let Your Toddler Order What He Wants To Eat

Assist your toddler when ordering but let him choose what he wants to eat. Remember, children love being able to decide for themselves. Encourage him to read the menu if he can, tell the waiter what he wants, say please and thank you when his food arrives. It is an excellent way for your toddler to practice etiquette and interaction with others.

Indulge Your Toddler

Allow your toddler to have food or drinks that are off-limits at home. Let him eat ice cream or drink soda. Not only will the incentive keep your little one happy, it will emphasize the idea that dining out is a special occasion which will encourage your toddler to display good manners.

Make Eating Out A Reward

Make dining out with children a special privilege. Do not let your toddler know that you are dining out because you are too busy or lazy to cook. Instead, dine out with your child during the weekend, for getting three stars on his assignment or for completing household chores.

Most of all, relax and enjoy this activity with your toddler. Dining out with children is fun but at the same time a frenzy affair so just let him make a mess, let go of small tantrums and be patient so as to avoid spoiling this special event.

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