Going out to a restaurant with your family is a fun treat for everyone, but it can easily dissolve into chaos when a toddler is involved. Dealing with a restless child as well as disapproving looks from other childless diners can ruin the whole experience. Here are our quick tips to dining out stress-free with a toddler.
- Get your timing right. Heading out to eat for lunch during your child’s usual naptime will only ever end in tears. Plan wisely and make sure your little one is well rested before you venture out in public.
- Bring distractions. Toddlers get bored very easily, so sitting in a restaurant can be a recipe for disaster. If you have an energetic, restless toddler then make sure you bring plenty of distractions to keep them busy at the table while you enjoy your food. Small toys and books can certainly help.
- Have a back-up plan. While your toddler may love pasta at home, the pasta that’s served up while you’re out could be rejected. Bring some back-up snacks for them to nibble on if they’re not a fan of what’s on offer so they don’t become hungry and irritable.
- Choose your venue wisely. A fancy, quiet restaurant may not be suitable for your family if you have young children. Opt for somewhere that you know to be child-friendly. Look at the menu ahead of time to make sure they have options your whole family will enjoy, and try to avoid places where you’ll have to wait a long time for a table or your food. A restaurant with a play area can be a life-saver.
- Be clear about your expectations. Boundaries are important, and it’s crucial that your child knows what’s expected them in a public setting. If your child is old enough to understand, explain the plan to them ahead of time and be clear about how you expect them to behave.