Taking a Toddler to a Restaurant

Taking a little one to a restaurant is not an easy feat.  Eating out used to be a cake walk and was a welcome break from cooking at home.   A little treat to ourselves.  Yeah….not so much anymore!  While not cooking dinner for a night is wonderful, sometimes it is just plain simpler to stay in and do the dirty work yourself.

BUT, because I am a stay at home Mom, I love, NEED to get out of the house once in a while (remember my sanity tips?).  So that being said, dinner out still is a welcome break from those four walls.

There is just a bit more planning that goes into taking baby boy out to dinner.  When he was younger (8 months or so) we would prepare the food at home and take it with us, because it was mainly purees.  Now that he is eating mostly finger foods and most of the time eats what we are eating, we can wait to the restaurant to order food.

I racked my brain (and stole a few from my traveling with baby tips) and came up with 10 tips for taking a 1 year old out to a restaurant (if you dare!).

Tips for Eating Out with a Toddler

tips for dining with a toddler

  1. Pack your go-to toys.  Don’t settle for your run of the mill just OK toys.  Go for the gusto when headed to a restaurant and pack the toy that you know will keep your little one’s attention for a length of time.  For us that is any of baby boy’s favorite books.
  2. Pack the sippy with water.  Obviously bring the milk or whatever baby is drinking with the meal, but just in case throw the water in for a back up!
  3. Have easy snacks on hand.  I have found that baby boy loves graham crackers, and that he eats them very s l o w l y.  Which is great!  I know if I give him one I have a good 5-7 minutes of time awarded.  Just perfect for the down time after the food has been ordered.
  4. Divide your time.  I have always given my husband a hard time for eating his food fast (inhaling it to be exact), but now it works out perfectly!!!  I wait to start eating myself when the food arrives and will cut up and start baby boy out eating his food.  My husband starts eating and then by the time he is done he can take over baby boy and I will eat my food.  He is also available to take baby boy away from the table if need be.  Perfect!
  5. Serve finger foods.  Finger foods take a lot longer for baby boy to eat, (as opposed to us spoon feeding him) and it allows us to eat at the same time.  Win win.
  6. Bring a placemat.  I don’t have one, but they look awesome! – Kiddopotamus Placemat
  7. Have the wipes handy.  Forget being green for once by using one washcloth to wipe baby up.  Instead use tons and tons of wipes that you throw away!
  8. Bring the stroller in.  If you are by yourself with baby, bring the stroller right in!  That way you have a place to put the baby while you collect and clean everything.  Works great in restaurants like Panera Bread, etc.
  9. Feed baby more.  Even if I think baby boy has had enough to eat I give him more!  Buys me some time and keeps him busy picking away at the food!
  10. Be patient.  They are babies and they will make noise!  Try not to sweat it.  Most people don’t hear babies making loud noises and older people find babies cute anyways (smile).

Linked up to Top Ten Tuesday

What works for you when taking the kiddos to a restaurant?


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