There is a magical age during which dining out is easy....or at least not too scary. Yes, you have to lug ten times your baby's weight in gear. But, she isn't mobile yet and, if she isn't eating or pooping, chances are she is sleeping. Win. Then, just a short few months later, you have a long period of time when you feel like maybe you shouldn't take your feral toddler out in public.
Don't let the toddler years keep you house bound. Check out these tips and products to make dining out successful!
1. Dine during off hours - like early brunch (ok - breakfast) or an early dinner. Less people dining mean less stimulation for your littles, letting them focus more on their meal and dinner companions. Less people also means more flexibility for your tribe in terms of space. Get the bigger table and give your self some elbow room and a bit of a buffer.
2. Offer your kid a small snack on the way to the restaurant. It seems counterintuitive, but if they aren't hangry they will be more patient when waiting for their food. Try a go-gurt, half a banana, or a small cup of milk.
3. Make them a place at the table. A portable booster seat, like OXO Tot's Perch, brings them right up to the table. Silverware at restaurant's can be tricky for little hands. Throw a Sugarbooger travel silverware set in your bag to encourage self-feeding. While you're packing your diaper bag, slip a Mini Mat in the back. This will give your tot a "plate" that won't flip, break, slide or let foods mix. Plus it comes in a handy travel bag.
4. Distractions! For older babies try a couple favorite toys strapped securely to a Grapple or Lil' Side Kick and you won't spend your meal picking stuff off the floor. Toddlers and older kids love Pocket Tegu magnetic block sets for small scale building and creative play. Chalk-It-Up books can be educational or just plain fun for scribbling in. All of these things can live in your diaper bag or car making them special "Dinner Out" toys. Yippee!
5. Throw your Mini Mat and silverware back in their carriers to wash at home, pack away your blocks, fold up your booster seat and then reach for the NeatCheeks. These face wipes are sweetened with Stevia extract and are specifically designed for children’s sensitive little faces and made to taste yummy for fuss-free clean up.