I’ve always been a fan of going out for meals and used to spend approximately 90% of my salary on food (although that’s now been replaced with clothes orders from Zara for the kids). When Harley was born we continued to dine out almost as much as before so he’s got used to being in restaurants and having to sit patiently. Obviously we’ve had a few blips along the way but in general Harls loves going out for dinner so I thought I’d share some of my tips for dining out with kids.
Take your own chair.
I’m a bit of a clean freak (I carry antibacterial wipes and hand gel everywhere with me) so would basically give highchairs a deep clean before putting Harley in one. This was neither quick nor ideal so I set about finding an alternative. Introducing the Chico Pocket Snack Booster Seat. It’s super lightweight and attaches onto most chairs, and has different height variants depending on the height of the table. We used to take it everywhere, even on holiday, as it takes the stress out of fussing over a highchair, especially as some restaurants don’t offer the sturdiest of chairs.
It’s all about the entertainment.
I always make sure Harley’s got a backpack filled with things to keep him entertained whilst we’re out for dinner. Small jigsaw puzzles, travel-sized games (the Aquadoodle was always a firm favourite) and sticker books are our go-tos. Whenever we go out for big family meals for birthdays/celebrations my mum will get the kids a little something to open at the table too, which always keeps them very happy!
I love looking at restaurant menus, it’s like a weird little hobby of mine, so I always take a look before we go and check out the kids menu to make sure there’s something Harley will like.
Avoid peak times.
Obviously it’s not always possible but avoiding peak times means not having to wait too long for food. If we’re out for Sunday lunch we’ll always try to go early lunchtime.
Find the offers.
There are lots of kids eat free offers available at many of the big chain restaurants. One of our favourites is Jamie’s Italian, which often does a deal during school holidays.
Saving the tablet/phone as backup.
Ahh the power of a tablet/phone, how did our parents cope without them? I do always take
my Harley’s iPad out with us as an in-case-of-emergency failsafe and make sure it’s got plenty of battery (nothing worse than that running out halfway through dinner!). To be honest I try really hard not to use the iPad when we’re out for a family meal and only really use it as a last resort to prevent any mini meltdowns, but sometimes it’s out before the starters arrive because we all have those kinds of days don’t we?! Thank goodness for those educational apps – hello Reading Eggs.
What are your tips for dining out with little ones? Let me know in the comments.
The Aspiring Yummy Mummy. x