I have three kids under five, so we rarely eat at restaurants. The thought of trying to manage meltdowns and keep my kids sitting still while trying to enjoy an expensive meal gave me anxiety for a long time. We used to exclusively reserve going out to eat for date nights.
However, we realized we just weren’t setting ourselves up for success when going out to eat. Going to a restaurant doesn’t have to be stressful.
Here’s a few tips for having a positive restaurant experience!
Location, Location, Location
Choose a family-friendly restaurant. Going out to eat is going to be stressful if you go to a fancy restaurant with no other kids there. You’re going to feel awkward anytime your kid makes the slightest sound. Make sure the restaurant you choose has an environment you’ll feel comfortable in and food your kids will enjoy!
Restaurants with outdoor seating have been a great option for us this summer. The kids are able to move around more or go explore without bothering people. If they’ve moved around a bit it will help them to sit still when the food comes!
Let’s Get Busy
If moving around isn’t an option then keeping your baby busy with a variety of activities is a great way to make going out to eat less stressful. Some ideas include:
- Toys: Reserve some special toys for special occasions such as going out to eat or church! If the toy seems “new” it is likely to keep their attention span a little longer! Bring plenty of toys to keep baby entertained!
- Stickers: Restaurants usually have crayons and paper to color with, but stickers are a fun option to keep your little one entertained. We love the Melissa and Doug Reusable Sticker Pads!
Newborn pacifiers are a great way to keep a baby happy at a restaurant! Nonnutritive sucking is relaxing for babies. Infant pacifiers are an inexpensive option to help with that desire! They also prevent baby from putting unwanted items from the restaurant (salt shakers, napkins, ect.) in their mouth.
The problem with a newborn pacifier when going out to eat is the newborn pacifier keeps falling out. It’s very important to keep your infant pacifiers clean so if the newborn pacifier keeps falling out at the restaurant you’ll want to sanitize it or use a different one!
Use hot soapy water to clean your newborn pacifier or run it through the dishwasher when you get home! Babies get sick enough as it is so you want to take sure you’re taking all the necessary precautions to keep them happy and healthy!
Skip the Hassle
If you’re tired of your infant pacifier constantly falling out, then you should invest in an Ingy Bingy Band! No need to worry about your baby constantly dropping their infant pacifier on a dirty restaurant floor. The Ingy Bingy Band is a pacifier wristband that velcros around baby’s wrist to help them self-soothe from as early as 4 months.
This pacifier bracelet works with any type of pacifier. The infant pacifiers attach and detach to the pacifier wristband for easy cleaning and replacement!
I hope you feel a little less anxious about taking your baby out to eat at a restaurant. Always know that you know best. If going out to eat with your baby feels too overwhelming, then don’t feel bad about waiting a few weeks or months before taking your baby out!