It’s a common problem faced by nearly all parents of toddlers. They want to go out to eat but their child begins getting fussy while waiting for the food to arrive. If you’re like most parents in this stage, you probably want to know how to keep your toddler busy and entertained in a restaurant. The following are some ideas which have been successful for other parents.
1. Choose a family-friendly restaurant. Find a restaurant which caters to families with children and your child will feel right at home. People eating at this type of restaurant are used to the noise level and with having little ones running around them. However, if you’re interested in having a quiet meal with your partner, try to get a babysitter.
2. Even though you probably don’t want your child to eat fast food until they are a teen, plan to eat at places serving food you know they’ll enjoy. Fast food isn’t always the healthiest but as long as your family doesn’t make a steady diet of it, choosing it when eating out means that your toddler will probably enjoy themselves.
3. Order your child’s meal with your drinks. This will ensure your child will be able to eat quicker which will keep them busy until your meals arrive.
4. Become a play place sleuth! Many family-friendly restaurants have play areas for children. They may have a specific area set aside with blocks or other toys for children to play with while waiting for the food to come. Call around to some restaurants you’d like to try and find out if they have anything like this available. Who knows? You may find there are more of them available than you think.
5. Take your child for a walk if your chosen restaurant doesn’t have an area set aside for children. It isn’t unusual for small children to be a ball of energy. One of you can take your toddler outdoors or to the waiting area until your food is ready.
6. Create a bag of toys which they can only play with while you’re eating out. Crayons and coloring books or other small toys can be kept in your vehicle until you need them. Board books with flaps are also a great item to include in the bag. The point is to find something your child enjoys which will keep them busy and entertained while you wait.
7. Use the time to teach them. Are there different-colored sugar or sugar-substitute packets on the table? Teach your child their colors while you wait. You can also help them learn to count with these table items.
There are many ways to keep your toddler busy and entertained in a restaurant. You can use one of the ideas above or think up some of your own. When you have an arsenal of ideas at your disposal you’ll be able to enjoy your meal perhaps without your toddler having a tantrum.