Going to restaurants with crawlers(104 Posts)
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?
Oh gosh Rosh...do you think this about planes too. Crickey I wish all the non child friendly people would stay home and not bring their low tolerance into the public arena.
I am fine with your child running and crying. It is what children do. I am sure you will attend to their needs when this happens and I as a mother feel nothing but empathy for you.
Having said that expect no more than half an hour and ask for the check when the meal is served. We do more takeout or cheap family friendly places because frankly rushing a meal in a restaurant is a waste of money somehow.
Pitmountain, no I do feel sorry for people bringing LO's on planes. I live in yummy mummy land and have had some lovely evenings wrecked by a child screaming, banging cutlery on the table etc. Their mothers drag them out when they would clearly prefer to be home with mum rather than some kind of ignored accessory in a restaurant. You mention running and crying, well no, I don't want to put up with that going on next to me all evening when I am out with DH or friends for a nice meal and chat.
banipahal perhaps that needs a new thread, sorry I don't know about how to manage reflux. Hope you got some sleep.
"Their mothers drag them out when they would clearly prefer to be home with mum"
um, what about the dads Rosh?
agree though that it's a daft idea to take a small child out past their bedtime, they will act up.
In a restaurant or cafe I would be most concerned about safety of the child - if they are a bolter, then they could get a hot coffee spilled all over them.
I went against the "usual" MN grain here though - didn't take mine out to eat 'til they were about 5 anyhow.... at that age they would sit and eat and talk with us.... which was part of the point of going out for a meal together.
We found that going somewhere familiar helped. We kept to 2 or 3 places where we knew we could remove them if needed and bring back when they were settled. We never allowed them to crawl/walk between tables, they had to be in the highchair or sitting on us all the time. We tended to divide and conquer, so one of us would eat whilst the other took the child off for a bit. Also, we never ate out with them in the evening, always at lunchtime.
To be fair, I think it really depends on the child. We have been fairly lucky with our 2, but I don't think that's down to us particularly. Some children just can't sit still for long and there's nothing you can do about that. Now they are 3 and 5 we can take them to very nice places, although we still have to be respectful of other diners. Some friends of ours invited us to the opening of their new restaurant and the looks on some of the other diner's faces was a picture (the place did have a children's menu/high chairs, so we weren't taking them where they weren't welcome). Once people saw they behaved though they were fine. In fact they were quieter than most of the adults!
Submit your entire order while you're taking your coats off and get the bill when it comes. Have lots of toys to occupy them, though ours have now reached an age when electronica absorb them. We always have the problem of "two bites and they're full/bored"; getting the DTs to eat anything has always been a challenge, so we are under some time pressure. But we stick to Pizza Express (though no part of the experience can actually be described as express) and Giraffe, and their ilk, so at least if your kids are being a pain, most of the other punters are sympathetic.
Thing is, I just don't really see the point of going out if it's essentially something to be got through rather than enjoyed. And at the risk of sounding like my mother, I find it a little bit sad that children are often glued to their iPads in cafes etc. surely if you want to get them used to good restaurant behaviour, that's about interacting with fellow diners and enjoying the food - the opposite of playing on an iPad. Yes, electronic stuff is great as a distraction if things are getting tricky, but often parents seem to take kids out with no intention of doing anything other than letting them play on phones etc. I was at an airport restaurant a while ago, and a family of four (2 boys of about 6 and 8) sat down at the next table. They got their food, then the mum buried herself in the paper, the dad went on his laptop, the boys got out their iPads, and none of them spoke a single word to each other throughout the whole meal. They then did exactly the same in the departure lounge. I found it quite depressing. They were clearly off on holiday, on a plane, which should be really exciting, yet they apparently didn't have anything to talk about. My kids aren't perfect, and if they'd been there there would doubtless have been a few cross words at times, but we would also have been talking about the flight, watching the planes, looking at the departure board and trying to work out the countries, guessing where people were going, probably doing an I-spy at the airport book - at least communicating with each other.
I agree with you Lapin and that does sound sad
My would easily sit on his phone all day long but I've banned them at dinner time (yes, banned a grown man) but needs must. I don't want my ds to pick up habits like that.
When I was little we would chat, laugh or have discussions around the table, not ignore eachother.
We're going to go for an early dinner today around 5pm at a very family friendly restaurant/pub place (they have a back room for all the families) so we'll see how it goes.
Good tips on not bringing wooden toys as ds is always banging things now. I've got some finger puppets which he loves from ikea
My dp that should say second paragraph
I just stopped eating out with children for around 18 months each, and started once they were old enough to behave appropriately. although a lot less often because by then there were more of them to feed.
It's just dawned on me that it will be years before I really eat out as a family as we want another dc when ds is around 2.5/3 - just as he will be ready to take out I might have a newborn
Hey, just think of the money you'll save Crumpet. Case in point: over the summer, we were staying with my parents and they thought it would be fun for us to take the kids for a pub lunch. They chose a nice pub (not super-gastropub but nice food), with a garden but no specific kids' play stuff. Anyway, the food was v nice and the kids ate well, but we were plagued by wasps (the pub seemed to have some sort of wasp magnet!), the kids were reasonably loud (although not naughty) so I was always conscious of the other diners (weekday, no other kids there), they were restless once they'd finished so we left straight after eating, and the whole experience lasted no more than an hour. The bill for four of us (for a burger/baguette/salad plus pudding and drink) came to about £75. Add another £30 and we could have gone to Legoland or something, rather than spend an hour in a pub, feeling slightly stressed. The pub was right next to a lovely little river, and I just kept thinking how much more fun we would all have been having if we'd had a picnic in the field instead, for free, where we could have lingered for ages while the kids played in the river.
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Keep it short, no starters or deserts just a yummy main course and lots of snacks and things to keep them entertained. Italian restuarants are always great for noisy families.
Also try to resist walking round the restaurant with your DC or letting them run around because it is quite. It cant be okay sometimes and not other times as that just confuses them.
This period doesnt last long, you will soon be back to relaxed dining - promise x
Also listen to the kids - if they really really dont want to go out to eat, get a takeaway and have fun at home, dragging kids to a restaurant never works out well (can you tell I have been there???)
Picnics will be good next spring/summer, great idea!
Cheer up crumpetqueen. One of my happiest memories of dd's babyhood was having a meal in a restaurant garden she was 3 weeks old Ds was 2.5. We continued to eat out regularly for the whole of her 1st year. Although I do remember a sticky adult grown-up lunch party that went on fooorever when she was 6mo (Ds would have been 3). I think you can easily take a newborn and 2-3 year old out to eat.
DH and I have never had any trouble taking our children out to eat and I think this is because we have always sat at the table as a family for all meals. This has really paid off as they have learned very early to sit nicely, chat to one another and us (once they could talk!) whilst eating their meal. They have also learned to sit at the table until everyone is finished. I think this sort of behaviour has to be learned at home and then it is less difficult to transfer to the restaurant area.
It is no fun at that stage so best to give up until they are older. No point paying good money on restaurant food if it is a stressful experience.
My top tip is ..... All you can eat buffet style places.
Lots of getting up and down so they don't get bored sitting still for ages.
There is usually a chocolate fountain.
They get to choose what they eat.
They are noisy, busy places so you won't be in any way 'unusual'.
And did I mention the chocolate fountain?
Take lots of quiet toys like books when they are small. But I do believe that they have to learn to just sit quietly in a restaurant so once they are old enough to understand then they just have to sit there
We took 11mo DD to a very posh restaurant (had a Travel Zoo voucher to use up). I did check beforehand and they said it was fine and they would sort out a high chair.
She was amazingly well behaved. A board book kept her entertained while we settled and then a steady supply of food kept her quiet (the restaurant made her mini pizzas and chunky potato wedges).
We are lucky she is a very good eater and will happily suck and chew on food for hours and hours. I couldn't take her somewhere non-food orientated though, then she is a nightmare!
We just did child friendly places when they were toddlers, pizza restaurants, our local child friendly Italian and a local Indian where there is a buffet and the children adore chicken tikka and egg fried rice. But we ate and went, we didn't sit for long.
Do kids really take ages to eat? Mine have always taken about the same time that DH and I do, from tiny baby stage onwards.
We found going out with DD fine until she was about 1, then after a horrific meal out (food took forever to arrive, she got very restless after doing 100s of circuits round restaurant, ended with a broken glass after flailing and a tantrum) we left it for a few months. By 2 she was brilliant to take out - especially to Italian places (olives, pasta, pizza, garlic bread - all her faves) or all you can eat - she loves the variety and food is ready immediately. I really enjoy going out with her now although we only really do it on holiday. We do still think about where we are going in terms of how child friendly, do they have a play area, and how long does food take - that's the biggest killer IMO, even now if there's a massive gap between courses it's still a bit much to ask of her to sit nicely for that long. Think the advice to stick to one course is wise!
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