Your challenge: It’s been a full day—nay, a full week—and you can’t muster up the energy to cook dinner tonight. But the prospect of going out to eat with kids doesn’t exactly seem much more relaxing. It doesn’t have to be chaos, though.
The solution: With a little prep and strategy, going out to eat can be a fulfilling (and regularly filling) time for the whole family. And, best of all, you don’t have to do the dishes.
Have a grab-and-go entertainment bag: Going out to eat used to be as simple as picking a restaurant. Now you’ve got to stock the diaper bag not only with those essentials, but also with some tools for keeping the kids entertained while waiting for the food to arrive. Save yourself the step of repacking a bag every time by keeping your go-to restaurant tools by the door—including things such as a lightweight book, quiet toy and coloring book.
Control the mess: Unless you’re dining at one of those places that encourage throwing peanut shells on the floor, you may want to contain the mess. Only trouble is that’s easier said than done when baby want to test their throwing arm. Include in your grab-and-go bag some peel-and-stick placemats, a catch-all bib and favorite sippy cup. Then, if it’s really messy, plan to tip a couple dollars extra.
Prep baby’s food in advance: Thanks to their adorable charm, babies can get away with more things—like bringing their own food to restaurants. Rather than waste a few bucks on a children’s meal that will go uneaten, it’s usually fine to bring along baby-friendly foods already prepared. And, as a bonus, you don’t have to keep baby waiting until the main course arrives.
Eat on the early side: Hungry kids + on the verge of bedtime + a crowded space. We all know where this is headed. While you probably used to get away with late meals, it’s best to join the early birds for dinner with kids in tow. Not only is it less likely to be crowded—meaning faster service!—but you’ll also make it home before the bedtime fussies.
Pro tip: Ask for the check when dinner is served. The last thing you need is to try to flag down a waitress when baby is ready to go.
You’ve got this.
Motherly + Kids2 provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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