Eating out for the first time?

Lea - posted on 11/24/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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We are taking our nearly 15 month old daughter out for a meal this coming Thursday and I'm not sure how well she will handle it. The restaurant we are going isn't posh and claims to be a family restaurant, so I'm hoping they will be prepared for a tantrum or two.



My concerns are keeping Isis occupied and avoid a tantrum as long as possible. She is a bit of a fireball and has no qualms about throwing a hissy fit whenever things don't go her way. Now she has also discovered that it's fun to try and run and is really not keen on sitting still for a long time. It seems to me that it might be a bad idea eating out, what with waiting for the meal to arrive etc, but it is for a family get together with folks we don't see often so it would be nice to try. She can be distracted with food, but only until she's had her fill and then she wants to be as active as possible.



I guess I'm asking if anyone has any tactics or advice to give me :)

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Michelle - posted on 11/25/2012

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Sure and again, good luck! I have never had Charlie melt down or scream in a restaurant and we have been eating out since he was 3 months old (so for about a year now). The most we have ever had is a yell or two, quickly quieted by redirecting him, and some food on the floor that I clean it up before we leave.



I think it is all about being prepared, tuning in to your kiddo and your own comfort levels and feelings while there, and keeping them occupied, plus making sure they aren't tired or worn out. Timing seems to be the most important element. And if it doesn't go well, don't be tied to staying. Just pick up and leave and know the next time will probably be better.

Amy - posted on 11/24/2012

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Family friendly or not you need to be respectful of the other patrons in the restaurant, no one wants to listen to a screaming toddler through their entire meal. I also wouldn't have my first time in a restaurant be a big gathering, it would be one thing to get in and get out as a couple it's another thing when you have a few people who are as interested as socializing as they are in eating.



When we take my kids to restaurants 6 1/2 and 2 1/2 (both have been going from a young age) we call ahead or do reservations so when we arrive we have a very short wait time, we would refrain from going during peak dinner hours. We also know what we are ordering as soon as we sit down so as soon as the waitress comes over we place our entire order appetizers (if we are feeling daring) and main courses. As soon as the food arrives we ask for the check that way if we have a meltdown it's paid and we can get out as quickly as possible.



When my kids were younger we would bring snacks for them to keep them occupied, we also brought small quiet toys for them to play. Now that they are a little older we usually give them our phones to play with. If for any reason my kids were not behaving either my husband or myself would get up and leave with our kids. They were not allowed to run around or carry on screaming in the restaurant. If they didn't calm down one of us would finish our meal and then trade off. My daughter was has only had to be carried out once kicking and screaming and that was when we had waited over 45 minutes for our food so by the time meal time was wrapping up she had run out of patience.

Michelle - posted on 11/24/2012

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We bring toys that won't damage anything if Charlie launches them and if we are trying a new restaurant, I buy a new little toy or book he hasn't seen before and pull it out then. We also find using a booster seat so we can pull him close to us in a booth or a regular chair is easier than a highchair. And if he gets too restless, we hold him. He likes playing with straws, too.



And if she gets really restless, just take a little walk to the restroom or the front door.



I love the sticky placemats you can buy for the table. Helps with clean up - just fold them up with the food in them and easy peasy.



We take Charlie out about once a week. Every time is not easy but it actually is more fun and a little easier than I expected most of the time.



Good luck!

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Lea - posted on 11/24/2012

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Thank you Michelle. The toy idea is great, we have afew toys squirrelled away for Christmas, so one of those will be great :)



Thank you also Amy, I guess being time efficient will be really helpful. We have a reservation and are going at a quiet time, so fingers crossed!

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