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Eating out with your child......
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Chris_WebMD_Staff posted:
Eating out these days with your little one can be a challenge. Do you have any tricks or games that you do to keep your little one busy at dinner while waiting for that meal?

It's rarely easy to do!
Chrissy
WebMD Community Staff

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FarmWife1979 responded:
We just talk to her like normal conversation. If it's provided we let her color on the kids menu, or I'll dig in my purse for a pen and some paper (receipts, backs of envelopes, etc) for her to draw on. That's about it. We've never really had much trouble.
Holly (31) DH (38) DD (3-born 11/16/07). Full-time working Mom, Wife, Library Board President, Chef, Chauffer, Maid, Toy Assembler and Repair Technician, and Chief Boo-Boo Kisser.
 
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phoenix31674 responded:
Depending on what's going on we either color with her, play with her trains, play with the stacking cup or give her the iPod. The latter lets us have some nice adult conversation. :)

Most places around here will also bring her food before the main meal so she can start eating sooner and then when she's done if she finishes before us (not likely since she's a pokey eater) she can have the iPod.
Me (36), DH (36), DD (3), DS (10/4/2010) and one cat
 
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neeru_pdx responded:
Well, if it's just me and the kids, we generally order a fruit side or something like that almost as soon as we walk in. Then we just all talk etc, colour with the things that restaurant.

If, however, I am with my hubby or friends or colleagues who I want to talk with, I have a stack of quiet, easily transportable kid toys/activities that I keep in a container hidden under my bed. I will take a few of those, which the kids only get at restaurants or on airplanes etc. (magnetic travel packs, magnetic tangrams, activity books, felt boards, dot-to-dot books, stamps and paper, wiki sticks, small puzzles (from dollar store, kept in ziplocks), finger puppets ...
I've been collecting things whenever I see something good on sale. The keys are that they are easily transported, quiet to play, and kids can do them mostly independently.
If anyone else has any more ideas, it would be great to hear them!
We have a 2 day drive to a wedding this summer, as well as a 24 hour trip overseas, and other minor trips, so I am looking for new ideas!!!
 
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mol13 responded:
First thing is, our favorite meal to go out for is breakfast. Usually faster, usually less crowded.

Other than that, we bring a few books, bring iPod if necessary, take the little one for walks as the big one is old enough to sit at the table and color, and order appetizers. Once they're fed, they're usually fine. BUT if they get fed too soon, they won't still want to sit at the table while we're eating.

It's a delicate balance, but it's really important to teach them from as early an age as possible what going out for a meal, and just sitting at the table in general, is supposed to look like. As they mature and continue to see your example, they know what they're supposed to do.
Molly (30) DH (36) David 8/30/07; beat cancer, now needs hearing aids. Jesse 07/05/09; my daredevil! Boy 3 (!) EDD 7/13/2011.
 
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nursingbug responded:
My husband and I have always brought our dd out with us since she was an infant. 99% of the time it is not an issue, she will play with the crayons they give, or babble about whatever. We go out a lot though, at least once a week. I wonder if she is good about it because she is so used to it.
 
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FarmWife1979 replied to nursingbug's response:
Don't know, but we go out 2-3 times a week as well, so DD has a lot of experience with it too.

Not to say that she is perfect. We have had to get up and leave a couple times (maybe 6 times total??) due to bad behavior, but that was when she was probably 1 yr or 18 months and we'd waited forever to get our food and she ran out of patience. I'm not going to subject other people to my kid's misbehavior, so we left.
Holly (31) DH (38) DD (3-born 11/16/07). Full-time working Mom, Wife, Library Board President, Chef, Chauffer, Maid, Toy Assembler and Repair Technician, and Chief Boo-Boo Kisser.
 
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mol13 replied to FarmWife1979's response:
Restaurant staff in a place that is supposed to be family-friendly should be sensitive to little kids and their needs, and if they aren't, and you have to leave because your kid loses patience with their service being slow, you need to let them know that they lost business that day. Of course it's a two-way street and you need to be aware of your kids and what it takes to keep them in check, but they are in the business of serving people and taking care of them.
Molly (30) DH (36) David 8/30/07; beat cancer, now needs hearing aids. Jesse 07/05/09; my daredevil! Boy 3 (!) EDD 7/13/2011.


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