Keeping Young Kids Entertained at Restaurants

Posted in Good Eats
by Amber on March 15, 2011

Picture this: You have been dying to try a new Park City restaurant so you drag your two young children along. Within minutes, your son starts clanging his spoon on his glass and your daughter throws her Cheerios at the waitress. The service is slow so by the time you receive your food, you inhale without tasting it and ask for your check before your meal is complete.  

restauraunt-kids (restauraunt-kids)Sound familiar?

My husband and I love going out to eat so when we had kids, keeping them home simply wasn’t an option. Over the years, we have honed our skills and I’m proud to say we’ve have very few restaurant meltdowns because of it.

Tantrums at home are an entirely different matter.

Here are our tried and true tips:

    •    Come prepared. Don’t show up at the restaurant hoping they provide crayons or a coloring page (though I always ask). Bring a small backpack full of “quiet”  toys that are reserved for restaurants.  These could include books (my daughter loves hidden picture ones), small cars, coloring pages or anything that interests your child.

    •    Order your child’s meal with your drinks. Kids (and their tummies) aren’t patient so ordering early will ensure they receive their food in a timely manner. Make sure to bring snacks in case they come hungry and the food is delayed.

    •    Bring a placemat. When my children were infants, I always kept a placemat in their diaper bag. Some moms prefer disposable adhesive ones so they can simply throw it out after the meal. I used the Kiddopotamus Tinydiner Placemat, which is made of durable 100% waterproof material. It has suction cups to keep it in place and a built-in scoop to catch the mess. Plus, it is easy to wipe down and roll up after the meal.

    •    Switch to games that integrate your environment if your child gets bored. We’re big fans of “I Spy” or the food/color game where one person picks a color and the other thinks of two foods of the same color.

    •    Go for a walk if your child starts fussing. Don’t stay at the table! Hang out in an uncrowded area that won’t interrupt the wait staff.  There are times to teach lessons and let our kids cry it out but restaurants are not that place.

If you are consistent with implementing these recommendations, I promise your kids will be contained and if you are lucky, entertained.

And you won’t just be inhaling your food but actually enjoying it.


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