We go out to eat frequently so through my experiences and talking to other mamas I have learned a few lessons learned on taking children to restaurants and wanted to share. BONUS: I have a goldmine of where children eat free, but first the tips.
We have all been there; you are sitting at your favorite restaurant and all of a sudden your child decides it is a good time to start screaming bloody murder. You look around anxiously at other patrons to ensure they are not giving you the stink eye as you desperately try to calm your little one down. Here’s are some tips that help me and some of my mom friends:
- Timing is everything
- Is your little one going to be hungry during your meal? Make sure you have snacks on hand AND order their meal first. Like as soon as you sit down! Most places have their menus online; I always know what I am going to order my son before I even walk in the door
- Also – go when you don’t think the place will be packed. There IS a time limit – you don’t want to spend too much time up front waiting to be seated. A 5:00 dinner may not be convenient but less crowded means less people to stare at you if your child does have a tantrum
- Outside seating available? Always say yes!
- Books are probably my favorite because once my son is done looking at one I can rotate out a few and he doesn’t realize he is looking at the same 5 books. Bring their favorite small toys to play with – but space them out and don’t give them all the toys at once. That way every few minutes you are offering a new exciting distraction! (Note: In the second picture – yes that is a breast pump part on his head…. we ten to get silly, whatever works!)
- There are little highchair covers out there that have attachable toys. This more for smaller children but they are comfy and familiar to your baby no matter where they are! Message me for details –
- Take a walk
- Show your child around the restaurant – cool pictures on the wall/ other people waiting for a table ect. They will calm down eventually looking at new sights
- Use what you have got in front of you
- Crayons/ restaurant toys/ chopsticks….? Anything new will be exciting to your little one and keep them entertained for at least a little while!
At the end of the day – stay calm. As long as you are trying your hardest and are not at a 5 star establishment that is all you can do. I used to FREAK out if my son cried – I am calmer now which I think makes him calmer.
To top all of this advice off – I waited tables in college – please do a little cleaning if your child makes a mess and make sure you tip well. Nothing is worse than your table not being turned to new customers because a child made a mess that takes extra time to clean – be kind!
BONUS!!!! I found a website where you can put in your zip code and they find places that have ‘kids eat free’ nights. Who couldn’t save a few bucks – I know I could! www.Outtoeatwithkids.com
Hope you find something that helps!!