Yep mamas, we’re going outside! Here’s Zeyna’s top tips on having meal time out with your toddler.
Mealtimes can be a challenge in itself when in the comfort of your own home, but it can be even more of a daunting experience when out and about. Below I share with you a few steps that you can take to ensure your meal time experience is as pleasant for your toddler as well as yourself.
Step 1: Prepare
Preparation is key, and you know your toddler best. Get your toddler excited about going out, and sometimes that may mean letting them have an extra nap right before going to the restaurant so they are chirpy and fresh. Also ensure that meal times when out coincide with your regular time of mealtimes at home, to avoid hungry and grumpy toddler tantrums.
Step 2: Choosing the right ambiance
I have found that my toddler hates restaurants that are dimly lit, and we have come to avoid such places. If your toddler has a certain preference, whether that is connected to lighting, noise, or number of people, keep that in mind when choosing the place you are going for your meal.
Step 3: Consider the view
If you have the option, position the baby chair to best suit your needs. My toddler loves to look out of windows, and so we prefer the window seat at restaurants. The hustle and bustle, and of course flying birds keep him well entertained in between bites.
Step 4: Arm yourself with distractions
Some restaurants have colouring activities for children, whilst others don’t. Don’t be afraid to ask for a pack of colours or even a balloon whilst you wait for your meal to arrive. However, don’t rely on the restaurant all the time either. You can cram in your toddler’s favourite toy or your own pack of crayons into the changing bag to ensure your toddler doesn’t have a meltdown.
Step 5: Order toddler-friendly food
When ordering food, keep in mind your toddler’s preferences or food that is toddler fist friendly. Potato chips are undoubtedly a universal favourite, but boiled vegetable like broccoli florets or carrot sticks can be just as enticing. Your toddler is most likely to enjoy his meal if he likes what your are offering him.
Step 6: Let your hair down
For your toddler to have a good time, you too need to enjoy yourself. It may be hard to convince your toddler to use the cutlery, but if he/she gets happiness from devouring that piece of chicken with his/her hands, then let that be the way.
What steps do you take to ensure a successful family meal out? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!