Easy ways to make dining out with a toddler easierMy husband and I love to get a meal out with friends. Having a baby has definitely complicated that, though. Here are a few tricks over the last year or so for keeping our son happy and entertained at the table.
1. Booths Are Our BFF. Booths are the best, because you can use a booster seat or let your little one climb around in a fairly contained area that is padded. When we are out with friends, we put him between us in the booth.
2. Part of Our World. Our son hates to watch everyone eat if he can't be a part of it. So we try to order something off the menu he can nibble on. Rice, beans, bread, fruit… most restaurants will have a good option. Then we give him his own plate so he feels like he's part of the group. We also pack a bunch of finger food snacks from home we can give him.
3. Toy Central. A lot of restaurants have little crayons and coloring sheets and toys for kids, but we still pack our own to occupy him in case he starts to get fussy or bored. We also bring our tablet and have a few of his favorite movies ready to go!
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4. Just Breathe. We go into it knowing that it is going to be more work than if we were dining child-free. I try to just remember that the calmer I am, the better it is for everyone.
5. Let Them Interact! We encourage our son to interact with the other people we are dining with so that he feels like he's being seen and acknowledged. That helps soooo much to keep him from acting out for attention. Luckily we've got great friends who love to watch him do all his tricks and show off, so he hams it up and they love it.
- By Becka Robinson
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