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Eating out with your child – how to keep it enjoyable

You’ve been invited to dinner at a family or friend’s home or have decided to eat out at a restaurant. And your child is going with you. Those who think you can’t eat out with a young child are wrong. But it does require some preparation. How can you make it a fun outing for the entire family? Keep reading for our tips!

Make any dining experience with your child a successful one

It may seem a little strange to your child to be eating somewhere else. Preparation is half the battle. If you are eating at the home of family or friends, ask them beforehand whether they have a highchair you can use. If not, bring your own (portable)child seat with you. Most restaurants have highchairs, but if you’re not sure, contact the restaurant to ask whether they have one you can use.  You can also bring your child’s own cutlery, bottle or sippy cup with you. This way, your child has something familiar and personal with him or her and will eat more easily as a result.

Prepare yourself and your child

If your child still eats a different meal than you, you can easily feed him or her dinner beforehand. For example, you can feed your child at five and then meet your friends for dinner at six-thirty. The situation is a bit different if your toddler eats together with you. Ask your friends whether you can eat at your usual time. They will be understanding of this. When eating out, make the reservation for the same time as you normally eat at home. After all, no one enjoys a crying child who is hungry, but can’t eat yet because the food is not ready!

And, of course, you should bring some toys for your child with you. Sitting calmly at a table for two hours waiting until mum and dad are finished is extremely difficult for most children!

 

"Eating out with a young child can be an enjoyable experience and our tips help make it a success!"

Tips:

  • Bring a pram or pushchair with you to the restaurant. If your child gets tired, you can simply adjust it to the sleeping position and let your child sleep.
  • Choose a child-friendly restaurant. If your child is having fun, you will also have a more enjoyable time and eating out will be a positive experience for everyone! Most family restaurants have toys or a play area for kids to enjoy while you eat.
  • Bring your own sippy cup if your child is not yet able to drink out of a regular cup.
  • Does the restaurant not have any toys? Bring some with you, such as small cars, colouring pencils and paper or blocks. Does your child like to read? Bring a book with you. Try not to bring toys that make (a lot of) noise.
  • Prepare your child beforehand. Explain that you are going to be eating somewhere else, so that he or she knows what to expect.
  • If your child is still very young, bring a bib!
  • When going to a restaurant, check the menu (or children’s menu) beforehand. This way, you can have your child choose something he or she likes beforehand to prevent disappointment if there is nothing your child likes.
  • If your child is still very young, bring some baby food or a bottle with you. You can warm it at the restaurant. If you are breastfeeding, ask whether there is a place where you can feed your child undisturbed.
  • Bring extra clothing with you. A bib is handy, but drinks sometimes get spilled.
  • Stay calm. Has something gone wrong or your child is not behaving well? Go for a walk together until the situation calms down.
  • Do not stay at the restaurant for too long. Children have a short attention span and are not able to sit at a table for hours on end.

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