Sure it can be stressful taking your toddler out to eat, or taking your toddler anywhere for that matter… but at some point we have to leave the house! These tips for dining out with your toddler can actually make the experience a lot of fun, as long as you come prepared.
I’ll admit, once Artie started walking, dining out became more of a challenge, but now that I know what to expect, it’s one of our family’s favorite things to do!
I discovered these disposable placemats as soon as Artie started eating solids, and they are first on my list for good reason! Not only does it protect your little one from eating off of a dirty table, it makes cleaning up after your messy toddler’s meal SO much easier! I have had so many moms ask me about these, and so many servers thank me for using them!
Avoid a mess by bringing your own sippy cup! Toddlers tend to squeeze and crush the Styrofoam cups provided by most restaurants. This Paw Patrol, no-spill cup is the best I have found! It’s the only one that Artie can easily drink from that actually doesn’t leak.
Timing is everything! You want your toddler to be in the best possible mood when you take them out for a meal. Artie takes his nap around the same time every day, so I always plan our outings outside of that time frame. The last thing you want at your dinner table is a tired, cranky toddler! Another thing to consider is other diners. If at all possible, plan your dining experience around the busy dining times. Have an early dinner or a late lunch to avoid crowds.
You will need to bring along a few distractions when dining out with your toddler. Choose something that doesn’t make a lot of noise so you don’t disturb other diners. Artie loves this book, it has simple activities that will keep your toddler distracted while you check out the menu! You can use these to secure your toddlers favorite toy to his high chair so you don’t have to pick it up over and over and over!
Most restaurants will give your toddler a huge piece of silverware with their meal. I keep a plastic set of forks and spoons, like this, in Artie’s diaper bag but you can also ask for plastic, “to go” silverware to make eating easier for your little one.
Sure, you don’t want your toddler to fill up on snacks when you have a meal on the way, but sometimes a light snack is the easiest way to keep a hungry toddler busy. These organic snack packs are perfect to take on the go!
This one is especially important to me during flu season. I usually just wipe down Artie’s high chair but take a few extra precautions once the weather cools down and the germs start spreading! This 2 in 1 cover can be used to cover your shopping cart too!
Go For A Walk
If your toddler is active like mine, sticking them in a highchair for an hour is NOT going to work. When Artie gets antsy I take him for a walk around the restaurant or outside. This gives him a little break to stretch his legs and explore a new environment.
This may seem like common sense but sometimes Mommy brain sets in and we need these reminders! You can find out what I pack in Artie’s diaper bag here!
Click here for printable toddler scavenger hunts!
If you enjoyed these tips for dining out with your toddler check out this toddler mom hack!
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