Here are my 6 tips for dining with toddlers:
1- Pre-game: Hungry kids never make well-behaved diners. Because toddlers don’t eat their $7 plates anyway, I feed my children at home, bring healthy snacks for the wait time and share my dinner with them.
2- Pick your battles: If the kids have been cranky all day, maybe taking them in public isn’t the best idea. Or if the wait time is 45 minutes, maybe you should find another restaurant.
3- Teamwork: My husband and I take turns. One will walk around with a restless child while the other eats.
4- To-go is your friend (not to be confused with fast food): It’s not only faster, but allows for much greater views. We do a lot of picnics with our take-aways. Parks, beaches & our own home are actually far more enjoyable than busy restaurants.
5- BYOE: Bring your own entertainment. While most restaurants have crayons and paper, this doesn’t do much for younger kids, especially my 13-month-old who is a crayon eating fiend. Toys, books and dare I say, iPods are a huge help for quiet meals.
6- Tip well: As a parent I can attest to the fact that kids are loud and messy. Make sure to drop your waiter a good tip for cleaning up the mess you didn’t feel like making at home.
Best of luck my friends and wishing you a peaceful dinner!