Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Tips to Eating Out with Your Kids

 Only two more weeks left of the One Year and Beyond Series, for this round at least. This weeks topic is Tricks For Eating Out with Your Toddler.

Hmmm...tough one because I really do think it depends on the kid. I have really mellow-ish kids so taking them out isn't necessarily hard. What's hard is that I have so many food allergies that I am limited to where I can eat. But that's a different story, for a different day.

Tip #1: Something we do, rather don't do, we don't let him use our iPhone or iPad while eating. We think that sets a bad precedent, often times we'll look around at a restaurant and half of the tables have kids on some sort of electronic, not talking to their family. We value family and want that family dynamic you get when you're just sitting at a table with each other. Yes our kids are only 3.5 and 11 months, but we still expect them to sit there with us. Maybe that's it, we expect them to sit there with us, we tell Baby Fox when he wants to continually get up while we're eating, do you see Mommy or Daddy getting up and down while we eat our food? That's rude, and you need to sit back down. We've said it so many times that he doesn't do it as often any more.

Tip #2: We learned the hard way, NEVER get their food before your food. We did that ONCE and never again. We had to wait a bit for our table, so we told them to bring out Baby Fox's food right away, well guess what, he was done and we hadn't even gotten our food yet, and then what? He got antsy and wanted to go outside to play. We distracted him, but it was hard on both of us. So now we make sure his food comes with ours. Easier to distract him before our food comes, so we can all eat together.

Tip #3:  While we don't go out to eat very often (again the whole food allergy thing), we usually go to places with a kids menu, crayons and pictures to color.  We play tic-tac-toe and draw random things, that usually takes up about 5-10 minutes. If we went out more, I would probably have a little bag of things that he can do before our food comes. It's all about wasting time until the food gets there. Sometimes we play i-spy, now that he talks more, usually we can ask him about his day or he asks us random questions about EVERYTHING.HE.SEES. EVERYTHING.

Tip #4: Since Baby Fox is  pretty picky eater, we usually bring his dinner with us, and then order french fries for him (yep our criteria for a restaurant is, do they have french fries?), so for the first 10 minutes or so we have him do random activities and then the next 5 or so minutes we have him eat what we've brought him for dinner. We tell him he can't have any french fries until he eats what we've brought for him, that usually gets him to eat, and is a major time waster. We've never had a problem bringing our own food for him.

Tip #5: The last one...since having only 4 seems consistent. If you make a rule at a restaurant you should follow suit at home. We don't let him get up and down from his seat at home, so why would he be able to do it at a restaurant? side note: If you're having problems with them getting up and down, we usually give him a choice. We'll say you have a choice, you can either sit down at the table and finish or you can go straight to bed, since you're done eating you're telling us that you are ready for bed. Usually he picks the eating. We always give him a "choice" but the other choice is ALWAYS way worse than just sitting there and doing what we want, so far it's been working. One day he'll figure it out, but until that day...

Oh and one other thing, we don't usually go to places that is going to be longer than an hour, we find that 1 hour is Baby Fox's limit on patience and sitting we go to places that won't take longer then that. Unless my mom insists on the kids coming to a fancy dinner and it taking over 2 hours. We let him get a hot fudge sundae at the end of that marathon dinner.

Us at that fancy dinner, I tried to get a picture of the ice cream eating, but Baby Fox was too excited to sit still for a picture.
Baby Fox feeding Mini Fox before our food got there

It helps when Auntie is there to distract them too.

Do you have any tips or tricks?

Now go check out these lovely ladies to see what they have to say.

 What is your secret trick to eating out with your little one?  Check out the other mama's blogs for even more tips!  And be sure to link up with us below if you also have a post on this.  

July 10:  Keeping your marriage alive with a toddler
July 17:  Favorite summer toddler activities
July 24:  Helping Your Toddler to Communicate (Words, emotions, etc.)
July 31:  Dealing with Separation Anxiety
Aug 7:    Car Trip Necessities
Aug 14:  Deciding when the time is right for baby #2 (and/or how to handle these questions)
Aug 21:  Tricks for eating out with your toddler
Aug 28:  Feeling confident as a mom (How to feel this way, Your struggle with, etc.)


  1. Looks like we have similar rules when it comes to eating out with toddlers. Yup, no iPads or iPhones. We emphasize how important to be considerate of the family at the dinner table, which means no getting down to run around.
    We also pick restaurants with fries for the most part, lol! We've learned to just find another restaurant if one has a long wait time. Toddlers and waiting especially if it's really crowded, just don't mix.
    Great tips!

  2. Love your tips! Especially the first one! :) family time should be valued :)