We used to eat out fairly frequently before we started putting all of our money into our house and had a baby. Ocassionaly the other half and I may go out for an evening meal, but we both prefer it when we have little Patrick sat with us, which kind of seems like a crazy thing to say when you realise how traumatic a meal out with him can be.
When we go out to eat with Patrick neither Myself or Dan can really relax and soak up the atmousphere, we are usually busy keeping the little one enterained and enouraging him to eat with us. It can be noisy chaotic, a tad stressful and we barely talk to eachother about anything other than Patrick out. But we wouldnt have it any other way.
Unfortunately, every time we sit down for a meal with Patrick it triggers his bowels and without fail he will have a public poo! This is can be slightly inconvenient and very embarrassing when it smells awfuls, but the worst part of it all is when the restaurant has no baby chnaging facilities.
I also hate it when they put a changing area in the ladies toilets so my other half doesn’t like changing him. Things like that really get my goat!
I have come up with a few tips for anyone struggling to eat out with their toddler;
1. Clear anything of the table you don’t need. It sounds obvious, but those sauce bottles you aren’t using and extra cutlery are all things that your little one will want to grab and they will have a strop if you take them away, so just try to get rid of them before they are a problem.
2. Make sure they have their own food and drink whilst you do. This is crucial to make them feel like they are partaking in the meal experience. We all know how cruel it is when you see someone eating something delicious whilst your peckish!
3. Come prepared with entertainment. Make the most of that ginourmous handbag and pack a few crayons, paper, puzzles, stacking cups; bascially anything small that won’t annoy all of the people around you.
4. Bring your own. Seems odd to bring your own food but just incase theres nothing on the menu that your little one will eat, just pack a few of his/her favourite snacks to stop anyone getting Hangry (Our emergancy handbag food is pom bears and oat bars)
5. Look up your chosen food place. If you havent been before, see if they have a website, that will help to give you a feel for the kind of atmousphere the place has and how child friendly it is. You will usually be able to find out if they have highchairs and if they do that is a good indication that they will have baby changing facilities. I personally have found that if they accept dogs or have a good garden area then they are more than happy to cater for families and kids. This is usually means we have a choice of decent pubs which fortunately there are a lot of where we live.
Other than my five top tips all I can say is that if it all goes wrong and your toddler has a tantrum or doesnt want to be there for whatever reason, just remain calm. The only thing worse than a stropping child is a flapping parent. Talk to them calmly at your normal level of speaking and try to compromise with them. Just try to not let it ruin the whole meal 🙂