Megan has been weaning for a week now and she’s taken to it like a duck to water. She loves her food and gets really grouchy if we eat and don’t give her anything. We went out a lot this weekend and I wanted to share some top tips for eating out as a family that we either use or have learned this weekend!
On Saturday we went to Manchester Museum to look for dinosaurs and have some lunch. It was a really lovely day out and I was amazed how relaxed and stress free it was. I’m sure the key was that we were prepared.
On Sunday I took the kids to my parent’s house while Alistair got some work done and they had lunch there. Harry is easy to cater for now but my mum still gets a little nervous about the whole idea of baby led weaning. It’s easier if I take Megan’s food with me.
I used our Easy Mat from Easy Tots to take Megan’s food on both days. It made life so much easier. It’s a mat that suctions to surfaces and has different compartments for baby’s food. The mini, which we used to go out also has a lid and folds up into a handy little bag which makes it perfectly portable.
My top tips for eating out with a baby and toddler
Go somewhere child friendly
I know this isn’t always possible if you’re going out with other people but, whilst your children are still young I find going somewhere that embraces children and their needs really helps. Lots of places have kids menus, colouring sheets, high chairs and some even have chefs hats and stickers!
Look at the menu before you go
This is a good tip for Slimming World too. Lots of restaurants have their menu online so you can choose what you want before you go. This means you can talk through the choices with your fussy toddler or choose something you know they will enjoy before you go. It also means you can order faster when you get there which, if your child is very impatient like mine, really helps.
Sometimes when going for a day out it’s difficult to know exactly what time you will be eating. This is fine for adults but children aren’t so patient when their routine is changed! I always take a snack box with us just in case we end up eating late or I need food bribes while we are out (I’m not too proud to admit I bribe my son with raisins!)
Take things to make life easier
Don’t be afraid to take your own crockery or cutlery! We took our Easy Mat for Megan this weekend and it made life so much easier! We were able to put all her food ready in the mat and feel confident that she wouldn’t throw it straight on the floor because of the handy suckers on the bottom! The pouch was the perfect size to put a bib in too and after we’d eaten meant we could pack all the mess up afterwards without worrying about getting food mess all over my bag. Also, as every parent knows, never leave the house without baby wipes!
We also took distractions with us for Harry. A dinosaur magazine with stickers and a dinosaur toy were a great help whilst he was waiting for his dinner.
Be prepared for even the best made plans to change
On Saturday we had checked ahead that the museum has a kids menu and high chairs. They even had a lovely chalk board for children to play with whilst waiting for their food. However, when we got there, all of the straps on the high chairs were broken so we had to feed Megan on our knees. Even the best made plans can change and I feel it’s important to mention that. When we go out to eat again I will take a belt with us, in case of broken high chairs, as you can use it to strap baby in when there are no straps or they’re broken.
Ignore the background noise
There is always a busybody at the next table who is waiting to tut when your baby throws their broccoli on the floor or your toddler has a meltdown because their dinner doesn’t arrive fast enough. Ignore them. Kids are kids and the only way they will learn is to be in situations and experience eating out. Ignore everybody else and focus on enjoying time with your family. You’ll probably find 90% of the other people there have been there themselves at some point anyway and completely understand.
The most important tip I could give you for eating out with young children is to enjoy it. Embrace the chaos, live in the moment and have fun.
What are your top tips for eating out with young children? I’d love you to share in the comments!
This post has been written as part of a paid partnership with Easy Tots. This doesn’t affect my thoughts on the products mentioned and I’d only ever share a product with you that I love. We will be using our Easy Mat a lot in the future and would highly recommend it to anyone.