Eating out was and still is one of my favourite things to do. Yummy food, a glass of vino and no washing up. I’d be warned by several friends to eat out as much as I could before my eldest came along. This will be a totally different experience with her after. Really? I thought stuffing down a curry a few weeks before I was due. But they were right. Surviving eating out with a toddler is an achievement, trust me!
After she was born it was mine and hubby’s 1st wedding anniversary a week later and we ventured out to Cafe Rouge for a meal. The gremlin slept the entire time! Well this is great, we thought. I also remember going out with a friend for an Italian and both our newborns slept the entire time again. Piece of cake. Newborns are easy!
Things changed though as she got older.
At one point hubby and I went through a bit of time when we refused to go out and eat – it was a waste of time and money and not enjoyable at all. Big fat sense of false security were those newborn days! As soon as weaning commenced it started to change. The grabbing of everything in sight. The MESS! I have since got used to the state of carnage we leave under the table after a meal. It’s like a pack of wild dogs have raided a bin bag and dumped it under the high chair.
Now she’s walking it’s even worse. The constant “Come outs”, fidgeting and climbing out of the high chair and grinning triumphantly, means I wolf my food down just to get out. Usually by this time the food’s cold as I have been ensuring the toddler eats first. Phew!
This phase of not eating out didn’t last long. I mean we couldn’t just stay in and eat all the time because of a toddler. Right?
Surviving Eating Out With a Toddler
Right. We started eating out again and just had more of a survival guide. Here it is:
– Time is money. Check the menu BEFORE you go so you can literally pounce on the waiter/waitress and get your order in within 30 seconds of sitting down. This ensures little monsters have less time to get bored.
– Use modern technology. I was completely against this before having kids but oh I have gone back on that one. I want to eat in peace so yes darling, you can watch Peppa Pig on my phone, at the table.
– Use ANYTHING the staff give you. Breadsticks, paper, crayons. It takes my toddler’s attention for like 2 minutes.
– Take some of your own food. My eldest invariably eats some of her ordered food and starts asking for yoghurt or a fromage frais. I usually take a little tub of Greek yoghurt, 1/2 a banana and a scone to keep her quiet for a bit longer.
– As I said before, I used to care about mess; now I don’t. I let her feed herself when the food comes and it’s cooled down. It’s that or eating stone cold food myself!!
– Order a glass of wine. Everything becomes hysterical with about 25ml of Sauvignon Blanc and an empty tummy. Is that just me?
– Don’t make the mistake of letting them down or out of the highchair. You will NEVER get them back in without a monster tantrum (I learnt this on Mother’s Day).
So there you go. I hope these help or have at least made you smile. Please pass on your tips too. Surviving eating out with a toddler is possible!
You can enjoy a meal out with kids!