When you're traveling with little kids, eating in restaurants can be trying for the children and parents too. Here's some tips.
Time Required: Ongoing for about 9 years
- Choose family-style restaurants whenever possible.
- Even better: find places with ballrooms.
- Of course it's also nice to find a family-friendly place where Kids Eat Free.
- Schedule meals before the kids are starving. (Service might be slow!)
- With babies and toddlers, as soon as you sit down, move all glasses, salt shakers, etc., out of reach.
- Don't forget the baby bottle or sippy-cup, if your child uses one.
- In sit-down restaurants, order some instant munchies-- like taco chips, or focaccio bread-- while everyone discusses what the main course will be.
- If appropriate to the restaurant, bring along small toys, picture books, comic books, etc., to pass the time until the food arrives.
- Bring tupperware or other food storage containers, to keep half-eaten meals for later.
- Small kids are messy eaters; tip accordingly!
- You can reduce your restaurant meals while on vacation by renting a condo or suite with kitchenette; eating "picnics" with take-out food from a restaurant or deli; or preparing instant soups in your hotel/motel room if a kettle is available.
- Always bring plenty of snacks on outings: you'll save both money and time by reducing restaurant visits.
- Always carry baby-wipes in your purse, to clean up dribbles down shirt-fronts, etc.