First, I would like to start out by saying that I am in no way an expert when working with toddlers. I have my own trials and tribulations that I have gone through with my munchkin, but I do think that it is helpful and healthy to share what I have learned. Therefore, I’m starting a “Toddler Tip Tuesday” series where I will share what works for us. My first attempt is the dreaded going out to eat with the munchkin.
If you love the idea of meal planning but not sure where to start, join the Join the 10 DAY MEAL PLANNING CHALLENGE!today!
1. Just do it! I feel it is important to try going out to eat at least once a month if it is within your budget. If you don’t try the experience, of course your munchkin is likely to have a meltdown. They have no idea what the expectations are and if you are stressed they are going to sense it. On the other hand, if a restaurant becomes a setting that all of you are comfortable with it becomes part of the routine. You’re calm and they are too.
2. Choose wisely. Keep in mind the time and type of restaurant. The time is key in more than one way. If you know the munchkin is going to be starving because you are arriving at the restaurant when they are usually eating, you are in for it. You need to plan on arriving at the restaurant about thirty to forty-five minutes before your usual dinner time. This way the munchkin is eating at his/her usual time (routine again). The of restaurant can definitely make it a deal breaker. Here is a perfect example of a no-no type of restaurant that we made the mistake of last Easter. White Table Cloths! The second I saw those table cloths I cringed and was on edge the entire time. You don’t need to go to an Applebee’s every time, but you certainly do not want to go to a fancy restaurant, especially if it is during normal dinner time (this last piece was our saving grace during Easter because there were not many other patrons when we were there). You also want to make sure that you check out the menu before you get there. Most restaurants have their menus online now so it’s a pretty simple check. Make sure you can find something that the munchkin will happily eat.
3. Manipulate with what’s available. I have some pretty basic things in my munchkin’s diaper bag (books, a small leapfrog product and paper). I’m not the type that can pack a seperate bag of goodies for going out to eat (travelling is an entirely different story). Consequently, I use what is available at my talbe to distract her. The sugar packets make an excellent toy (stack ’em, line ’em up, make shapes, play guess which hand). Another favorite of my munchkin is I spy… She knows her colors so we stick to colors for now. Soon I’ll start with letter sounds (I spy with my little eye something that begins with the sound “b” and I make the sound of the letter, not the name of it). Another great of playing this for preschool kids is with rhyming words (I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with hair…chair). I also highly recommend taking walks. You can’t expect them to sit the entire time before their food comes. Therefore, the type of restaurant comes back into play (we are big fan of Bugaboo Creek because of all the talking animals).
4. Have their food come out with yours! We learned recently that this was the best way to go. In the past, we used to have her food come out as soon as it was ready. We found though that she would be done just as we were starting to eat, which meant we were slamming down our food or one of us was amusing her while the other ate. Not fun! Having her food come out with our was more like home. We could eat and have a conversation at the same time. No slamming here!
5. Let’s face it, our munchkins are cute so RELAX! Most of the patrons at the restaurant most likely have been there so take a deep breath and enjoy your time as a family. Let their personalities shine through, within reason of course. Most people will get a kick out of a cutie so let them be themselves. At our house dinner is complete when Riley walks from the dining room to the kitchen with her hands up so she can get them washed. We do the same thing when we go out t eat. People think it’s hilarious and it’s much simpler than trying to wiper her down with ten thousand wipes.
Join the 10 DAY MEAL PLANNING CHALLENGE!
Here’s a pic I snapped of her walking from the dining room into the kitchen with her hands up. Meanwhile, she was yelling, “No cheese mama. Riley has dirty hands!”
Hey, I’m Jenny! As a working mom, I understand the importance of saving time and money. My hope is that my blog brings you countless resources for great, fast recipes and easy cleaning, health and DIY tips. MORE ABOUT ME »