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Going to restaurants with crawlers

(104 Posts)
TheCrumpetQueen Sun 29-Sep-13 14:58:04

Going out with ds before he was crawling was a breeze but now he doesn't want to sit still in the high chair for long. Are we going to have to just give up on eating out for a bit?

Dollybird99 Mon 30-Sep-13 11:49:20

RoshBegosh - useful comment...not

Morebiscuitsplease Mon 30-Sep-13 12:30:47

We used to go to places that served us promptly, never had dessert sad but they generally liked it and behaved well. We always eat at the table at home and have always had to ask to leave the table so eating out was no different.I phones are great to keep occupied while waiting. Sometimes we needed to make a fast exit...only to find the bill paying would take ages. sad. On that point Nandos is good as you pay up front.

waterlego Mon 30-Sep-13 12:36:19

Like others, we had a phase where we just didn't do it because it wasn't relaxing for us or others in the restaurant so we shelved it for a while and then it was fine once they were a bit older.

Snowgirl1 Mon 30-Sep-13 12:45:00

Go with friends? One parent gets to have a conversation with friends, other follows crawler around restaurant/entertains crawler (if you're lucky friends might do this too). Not ideal as it means you miss conversations and have to take turn at eating, but it's an option.

Retropear Mon 30-Sep-13 13:03:39

I agree with Rosh,restaurants aren't soft play,others have paid to eat.If you're having to put that much effort in stick to a quick coffee in a cafe until they're older and can manage more.

zatyaballerina Mon 30-Sep-13 13:11:37

It's good to get them used to eating out in public but they should never be allowed to use a restaurant or cafe as a playground, it isn't. Stick to quick lunches and be ready to leave by the time he get's frustrated in the highchair.

We try and order, then let the 2yo DTs roam outside (take them to an interesting shop or go and look for ducks or something if there's no garden space), and only put them in their high chairs once the food is pretty much ready.

I always take snacky food as well, in case there is a bit of a wait, although the danger then is that they end up filling up on snacks, not eating their food, and getting fractious while you eat yours.

We have had some lovely meals and some total disasters. I think it's worth persevering though so it's not a shock when they get older.

Wishihadabs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:32:45

Depends on the child and the venue. Never ever ever let your crawling/cruising/just walking child go free range, it just isn't fair on the staff or other diners. Both mine had a lunchtime snooze at that age so I would bring the buggy and probably their food too. Feed them quickly then rock them to sleep so I could enjoy my lunch. Dd would sit through an evening meal (3 courses) by just less than 2, Ds by 2.5 so it quite a short time realy.

Wishihadabs Mon 30-Sep-13 13:35:13

Agree with twelve leg walk. A realistic expectation at that age is to stay in high chair for the actual eating (and a coffee if your luck is in) definitely don't use it up before the food arrives.

Katienana Mon 30-Sep-13 14:03:16

I take some snacks of my own in case the food doesn't come quickly. Also try putting in the high chair at the last minute. Bring a book or two, or a car or something that will keep baby occupied for a few minutes at a time. I just try to keep the food coming and he seems happy to stay in there for a while. Take it turns with whoever you are with to take him for a walk otherwise. I find department store cafes are good, as are places with other entertainment (e.g. petting farm, park etc) as then the meal is not the whole event. We have taken our son to Strada, Frankie & Benny and various other places like fish and chip restaurant, and on holiday he ate in a restaurant environment 3x a day and was fine. He probably eats out 2x a week on average. I think just keep doing it, don't feel bad about food on the floor, and accept that you can't linger for hours and hours!

curiousgeorgie Mon 30-Sep-13 14:46:42

I never stopped going out because of DD.. I used to take food I knew she would eat, but that she could eat herself that would take a long time, like breadsticks, raisins, dry cereal, and set up a portable DVD player or ipad for her.

I never let her out of the high chair during a meal, or it's game over as you then can't get them back in. She's now almost 3 and a very good restaurant goer grin

minipie Mon 30-Sep-13 15:11:10

DD is a similar age, seems to be ok in restaurants for a max of 1.5 hours at the moment, but that's enough for a main course and coffee.

my strategy is:

- pick somewhere casual eg Gastropub or cafe/bar type place. Genuinely Italian-run places tend to be DC friendly too
- arrive at restaurant at or just before DD's lunchtime
- position high chair facing lots of action - if there is an open kitchen or bar area she can watch, or a window facing busy street, this is a godsend.
- order our food (one course only)
- feed her something quickly while our food is coming, so she's not hungry
- loads of finger foods while I am eating, incl bits of mine usually - keeps her occupied reasonably well, I bring a couple of toys (ones that attach to high chair) as well
- play it by ear as to whether we can have coffee/pudding, depending on DD's mood
- leave and dd will have her post lunch nap in the pram.

I think it helps that from about 12.30-1.30 dd is heading towards her post lunch nap, so she's not massively full of beans and wanting to rampage, but she's also not missing her nap and screamy tired.

Does your DS have a similar pre nap quieter period, maybe you could go out during that time?

ringaringarosy Mon 30-Sep-13 17:36:54

take some bits and bobs to keep him occupied while your waiting for food and dont leave it too long after eating to go,it will be a hwile yet before its leisurely,i agree though,its good to get them used to eating out when young as you can do it more when they are older.

PlateSpinningAtAllTimes Mon 30-Sep-13 19:40:19

quenelle are you me? I could have written that exact post! Agree with everyone who says avoiding eating out during that awkward older baby/young toddler stage doesn't seem to have done any harm. Much easier from 2ish onwards.

bumperella Mon 30-Sep-13 19:58:33

It doesn't hinder them to not eat out for a couple of years... they'll learn how to behave at the table as easily at home as they will in public. I have eaten out with my toddlers but choose relaxed-café atmosphere rather than fine-dining, and more from happy necessity than as a family treat or educational experience.

gloucestergirl Mon 30-Sep-13 20:07:39

We have spent a lot of time looking for large hotels or places that have child-friendly nooks or are empty at certain times. We let DD run around as it is only us or one or two kindly souls who think that she is cute.

Lots of research and knowing our limits basically.

BettyandDon Mon 30-Sep-13 20:09:00

Are you anywhere near W London OP ? There is just the place for you if you have a bit of spare Wonga...

gloucestergirl Mon 30-Sep-13 20:09:15

And of course, timing it so that she is asleep and then running to the nearest nicest eating estabilshment for an hour or two undisturbed.

TheCrumpetQueen Mon 30-Sep-13 20:45:00

Not far from West London if its worth the drive...

Thanks for the tips, v useful, agree on not going if its just going to be stressful and results in me glugging gaviscon when I get home. Will probably ease off until he's 2-3 years

ToddleWaddle Mon 30-Sep-13 20:56:58

Going out for breakfast can be a good alternative. Little ones are usually quite happy in the morning and can have favourites like dippy egg and sausage. Lots of colouring, stickers and some small toys.

ShoeWhore Mon 30-Sep-13 21:11:55

I agree that taking a break from eating out will do no harm at all in the long run.

Ds1 and ds2 were always very well behaved and we could take them literally anywhere and bask in the compliments grin Ds1 especially lunched in some very grownup establishments.

Ds3 was a totally different animal and it was impossible to eat anywhere with him between the ages of about 1 and 3. He was a total nightmare. He escaped highchairs. He climbed on tables. He crawled under tables. He threw cutlery. We gave up.

Then it got OK again and he is brilliant now. Last time we went on holiday we enjoyed long leisurely lunches and were complimented on his behaviour. Try not to worry about it, in the grand scheme of things this time is quite short.

Catsize Mon 30-Sep-13 22:18:19

Have a 21mth old escape artist, and eating out has been a total mare to be avoided if at all possible since he started crawling. Your posts have filled me with hope that it will get better. Meanwhile OP, no tips, sorry!

LapinDeBois Mon 30-Sep-13 22:46:19

My boys are 6 and 3 and we rarely go out to eat. They're not badly behaved considering, but it's more that eating out is expensive, and not really worth it when we're not enjoying ourselves because we're constantly overseeing the kids and rushing through our food so we're not in there too long. No offence to others on here but I don't buy the argument that you have to get children used to restaurants early. When I was young families ate out far, far less than they do now, but I don't remember any problem 'getting used' to restaurants once I was older. And to be honest if kids are busy colouring or using ipads then they're not getting used to restaurant behaviour anyway - they're just being distracted, regardless of where they are. In my view, 'restaurant behaviour' is about nice table manners and joining in conversation, which is really something for older kids (and is probably best learnt at home anyway). Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no problem with well behaved kids of any age being in restaurants - I just don't agree that it's somehow necessary to shape future behaviour.

kateandme Mon 30-Sep-13 23:35:51

dont give up.noty going out is fuelling the playing up.they will learn and it will get easier.colouring books are very helpful or a book.if others are having starters,ask if you can have a salad fr them to pick at.try places you know youll get served quicker to start,even cafes so they start to experience the idea behind eating out.make it exciting!!their treat!!

BaniPahal Tue 01-Oct-13 01:17:57

My baby has reflux and as advised by the Health Visitor I was told to try the Aptimil Reflux Milk. Initially it worked a treat as the milk thickened up. Recently I have noticed that the milk doesn't seem to thicken and my baby is being sick after every feed. Just wondering if anyone else has noticed this?

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