My husband and I have been blessed with a well-behaved daughter. We are fortunate that we are able to take her out and actually enjoy some time out of the house as a family. However, even the best behaved children can benefit from these dining out tips:
Avoid stains from the previous patron.
I will be the first to admit that my husband and I are slight germaphobes. However, everyone can benefit from a light sanitation, right? Before we place our daughter in the restaurant-provided highchair covered with sticky food residue and germs, I like to give it a quick rub down with antibacterial wipes. To be honest, this is more to save her clothes from the ketchup stains left over from the kid who used it before.
Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize.
I also like to place a sticky cover over the table where she will be eating/playing. Since she still eats off the table, I prefer to just cover it than trust the cleaning solutions at a restaurant. My favorites are these disposable placements from Babies R Us.
Bring snacks that make sense.
When our daughter was little, it was pretty easy to bring her food, as I made her baby food and just brought a small cooler with when we ate out. We were extra fortunate that she didn’t mind cold food. However, as she got older and no longer ate baby food, it became more difficult to find food that we could bring with to restaurants. We always try to feed her the food available at the restaurant, but depending on the cuisine, that isn’t always an option. My best tip is to stay away from foods that make a big mess. I’ve learned the hard way that solid foods like pasta, chicken or crackers tend to be better received by wait staff than soft veggies, fruit or other food that, when dropped, stains or gets embedded into the carpet.
Avoid the dropping game.
One of our daughter’s favorite games is the dropping game. You know, she drops the toy and laughs as you pick it up? After 15-20 rounds of this game, you can develop quite a sore back. We decided to buy a couple extra sets of her connecting rings and create a little high chair entertainment center by connecting her favorite toys to the high chair. Not only did this save our backs the pain of bending over to pick up the toys, but she really enjoys figuring out how to pick the toys up by grabbing the rings. It still proves to be a great restaurant entertainment.