Dining out with Toddlers
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Before we had any kids, we would always go out to eat dinner. That was our thing. We never really enjoyed going to the movies, primarily because I’m a yapper; I’m that annoying person who asks too many questions and talks too much in the middle! We don’t go out clubbing either because neither of us drink and after a while, it gets repetitive. So trying new restaurants and reviewing them was our thing. When we had Serena, we agreed that we would still go out to eat often, continue our little tradition of trying new restaurants. It worked for a little while because she would be in her car seat and sleep through the whole experience, but then the exhaustion of being a new parent and working long hours wore us in. It was easier to pick up some Wendy’s at call it a night.
Once we got into the grove of the whole parenting thing, we got back into our routine of trying new restaurants and eating out. Only this time, Serena was old enough to be in highchairs and start throwing tantrums. We probably lasted ten minutes the first time at a restaurant before we decided to pack our food and come home. It was that bad. We were scarred. We tried a few more times. We really didn’t want to resort to giving her our iPhones because she has already broken one (yikes!) so we tried to be a little creative with our solution.
Introducingggggg our Restaurant Survival Kit!
This one is made from a small tin lunchbox. It has the follow contents:
- Melissa and Doug Alphabet Magnets
- Crayola 4 pack Crayons
- Play-Doh Mini
- Halloween Stickers
- Minions stickers
- Slap Jack Card Game
- Clothes Pins
- Mini Pom Poms
- Mini wooden pencil (this one is from Ikea but you can find similar ones here: Mini wooden pencils)
- Brown paper (actually the paper that comes in the Amazon packages. I just unraveled it, flattened it, and refolded it. You can use any scrap paper you like!)
You can also use this anywhere you go that you need to keep a toddler busy, not just a restaurant. For example, we went to a baby shower recently and needed to keep our daughter distracted while the adults played some games. The box kept her entertained until lunch.
We have made three or four different types. To be honest, you can put anything you like in it. Others have included Ziploc bags with mini pom poms for counting, books, mini white/chalk boards, etc. Get creative! What other ideas do you have to keep a toddler busy at restaurant?
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