A restaurant survival guide

by Emi


I love a good family  night out, but let’s face it with little one(s) it can be a real challenge. The timing isn’t always right, maybe tonight they in-fact do NOT like mac and cheese (even though it literally is Kraft mac n cheese… grumble grumble), and sometimes all they want to do is run around. Fair enough. It’s hard to expect kids to sit still while at a restaurant and I’m not a huge fan of letting them watch  or play something on the iPad (although no judgment here because I have for sure done it).

We typically go to restaurants equipped with a little survival backpack. It is a child-size pack that our toddler can carry by himself. Here is what is in it:

  • At least one book. I would prefer more but they can make the bag heavy, so usually 2 mini board books is all he can handle.
  • Crayons (and save room to take the restaurant’s crayons too when you’re done!)
  • Something to draw ON. Coloring books are big, so we take a small notepad with blank pages.
  • Hot wheels. (Why I didn’t know about hot wheels until my son was almost 3 is beyond me. Parents, if you don’t have hot wheels get them now! You can buy them new or get them second hand for NOTHING, literally some parents will just give you bags of them at garage sales, and they are great for girls and boys alike. The big win here is because they are so cheap it’s not a big deal if one or two get left somewhere.)
  • Other small odds and ends that fascinate your toddler. This last one rotates. Sometimes its a set of disposable coasters from our last dinner out. Sometimes it’s a play cell phone… it varies and having one rotating thing is always a plus so the fun of the bag doesn’t get stale.

Speaking of stale – we also only pull out the bag when we are going out to dinner. It’s not something he gets to play with regularly so when he does get it, it’s something special!
Got anything to add? What is a MUST to keep your kiddo entertained when you’re out?

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