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TODDLERS AND DINING OUT | Love it or Hate It?

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When my daughter was a baby going out for a family meal was pretty straightforward. I would be able to take her in her pushchair, have  handful of toys and a dummy and I wouldn't hear too much from her. Now she's a toddler and when you decided to take a toddler out to eat, you will be including a guest who finds it difficult to sit still, who is prone to a tantrum or two and probably has a limited interest in being quiet while eating their peas. So I can understand why many parents of young children avoid eating out and prefer to eat at home, when thrown food will only hit members of the immediate family or the poor dog. But sometimes going out for a family meal is necessary so if you are the lucky owner of a toddler and you feel uneasy about dining out, I have a few suggestion to help make the experience less stressful.
 
Before you go you have to have a bag full of tricks to keep your toddler occupied while dining out. So bringing a variety of reliable amusements such as their favourite books, toys, some games is essential. If you know that you'll be an hour or so pack a bag that is equipped for two hours.
 
A BAG OF TRICKS
 
As you will know toddlers can become bored quite easily and so as you can imagine this one comes as no surprise. To help avoid a screaming meltdown, being embarrassed or flying peas make sure you take a bag full of tricks. These could be their favourite toys, books and if child is especially energetic or restless, pack a couple of new small toys that will hold their attention at least until their food arrives. It's always a good idea to keep some paper and crayons stashed away in your car. Children love nothing more than to doodle to their hearts content, even some restaurants supply paper and crayons which is a big bonus for those who forget. But it's always best to keep a watchful eye on your toddler in case they decide to try and eat the crayons or doodle on the restaurant's menu.

PLAN YOUR TIME CAREFULLY

Always try and avoid the busiest time when dining out with a toddler. We have found that the best time to eat out at a restaurant with our daughter is during the early evening or opting for a late lunch as there are less people about to try and annoy. A meal that you didn't have to cook + happy toddler = happy parents!

ORDER YOUR TODDLER'S FOOD FIRST

Children don't like waiting too long for their food just like hungry husbands but at least the husband won't scream at the top of their lungs...too much! So when you go order your food ask your server to get your children's food out first out so all tantrums can be avoided. It is always best to try and order their food as soon as you arrive because babies and toddlers prefer eating tepid food and most restaurant's pride themselves by serving hot piping dishes.
 
YOUR HANDBAD MAY COME IN HANDY
 
One for the mums, sorry dads. When the novelty of their toys or creating a masterpiece has worn off the next thing that I would do would be to dive into your handbag. It's not as if it's short of a couple of distractions that will sure to keep those little mischievous minds occupied, my daughter loves my keys because it has a picture of her and Father Christmas and a fluffy sheep. My daughter also loves to play with my compact mirror and makeup brushes so there is always something to help keep her occupied whilst dining out.

ALWAYS BE CONSIDERATE

Yes, your child is your world but they are not everyone else's so try and be considerate and let others enjoy their meals as much as possible. You can never predict when a toddler has a tantrum but do whatever you can to try and minimise it. Take them for a walk around the restaurant, load the kindle with lots of apps to help and keep those tantrums to a minimum. When you have finished your meal always try and clear around the destruction that your toddler leaves behind, it only takes a couple of minutes to look back and clear away. Even if you don't leave your table spotless I am more than sure that the staff will appreciate the gesture. Some days you are unable to keep these under control so you have to keep in mind that sometimes you may have to leave, it's just something that you expect when you become a parent.
 
TAKE A TREAT

This one may come as a surprise as you know that you'll be eating in a little while. But you can never guarantee a short waiting time and be served straight away so prepare a few snacks, however keep them light. Rice crackers, breadsticks or even cheerios are great way to keep those hunger tantrums at bay until their food arrives.

There are many ways to keep your toddler busy and entertained in a restaurant. When you arrive prepared with a bag of trick you may be able to enjoy your meal without a toddler having a tantrum. Happy dining!
8 comments on "TODDLERS AND DINING OUT | Love it or Hate It?"
  1. Love this post, it's really helpful! my little one has just entered the toddler stage, so it's all new to me! I often forget the toys, so I kinda need to remember those haha. He's a muncher, so I've always got some form of snack or food in the bag at the ready! Definitely a life saver haha! and I agree, if your baby is having a meltdown, take them away and calm them down. #KCACOLS Becky x

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  2. Some great tips! We always take colouring pencils and paper to keep the children busy until the food arrives.

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  3. These are all tricks I have utilized myself a time or two. I also make sure I separate the older two boys as it cuts down on the fighting. #KCACOLS

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  4. Some great tips. Can see why some parents choose to avoid dining out entirely though! #KCACOLS

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  5. Some great tips here. I always used to try and pack a few small toys when eating out. It's gotten a lot easier now they are older though but we still order their food first as it's become a habit!

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

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  6. These are great tips - I agree about taking toys and snacks, we do that too! x

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  7. We're always hit or miss when out for dinner, def always take the kindle along with his apps ready in case of a meltdown!

    Was so much easier going out for dinner with a baby! x

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  8. We do all of these things, though honestly, most days with baby and
    Toddler in hand we just choose
    To eat at
    Home where we can do our own thing!! Much easier until they are ready to
    Enjoy the eating out experience.
    That said every
    Christmas my parents, my
    Family and my
    Brothers family go out for dinner after our
    Yearly putting and it always goes well and this year we had a 8 month old, 15 month old, 2 year old, 3 year old, 8 year old and 17 year old!! We also play musical chairs to keep switching up the entertainment for the kids and prevent burnout for the adults :) #KCACOLS

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