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What are your top tips for keeping your DC entertained during dinner? Share with Frankie & Benny’s - £300 voucher to be won

(400 Posts)
EllieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 22-Oct-18 10:34:14

Trying to keep your children entertained and not act like wild animals throughout meal times can feel like a bit of a struggle sometimes, especially if you go out as a family to a restaurant. Whether you have to make sure your children don’t throw food around or stay in their seat throughout the entire meal, Frankie & Benny’s would love to know what your top tips are for keeping your children entertained during meal times.

Here’s what Frankie & Benny’s have to say: “Launching this half term at Frankie & Benny's, we're giving away a free Squishie with every kids' meal. You're going to need to head down to your nearest restaurant to collect all ten before they’re gone! If you haven't heard about Squishies, they are cute foamy toys that you can squeeze to you hearts content, before watching them magically re-inflate. There are 10 different adorable Squishies up for grabs at Frankie & Benny’s, tick each one off on our Squishies Passport as you collect them!"

Do you only choose family friendly restaurants to eat out at? Perhaps for meals at home, you cut their food into interesting shapes to ensure there’s an element of fun? What about playing games at the table and if so what kind of games do you play? Or maybe you bring colouring and toys along with you to restaurants?

Whatever your top tips are for keeping your children entertained post them on the thread below and everyone who does will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Thank you and good luck with the prize draw!

Standard Insight T&Cs Apply

HELENSCRESCENT Mon 22-Oct-18 13:38:05

We definitely only pick family friendly restraunts to visit and will take pads and crayons but really like ot when the restraunt provides activity books and crayons as they like the excitement of having something new and that will keep them occupied until the food arrives. They also love if there is something special about dessert such as being able to go and make it themselves or design it. A balloon always goes down well too. We dont take tablets as they would just watch/play on them and not talk or engage but they do when doing colouring or activity books as we join in and help.

BlueEyedPersephone Mon 22-Oct-18 14:57:57

We usually take crayons etc but really like it if the restaurant either provide an activity mat, more than counting or even a game that they can press out and play, mine would be really happy with a squishy bit of it came with a story or puzzle sheet it featured in that would last the whole meal, also children's menu they can choose the elements of e.g. protein, side and carb. With choices to double if required

OnlyToWin Mon 22-Oct-18 15:03:41

Oh my word. Dd2 will be pestering me to go to Frankie and Benny’s now!!
We don’t eat out too often because 1: we can’t afford to, 2: The dds aren’t massive/adventurous eaters so.... when we do eat out we tend to stick to the same family friendly places - usually Pizza Express as both girls like the menu and eat it all. Even now they are older they still like a bit of colouring in - I do aswell tbh!! We tend to have our best conversations/laughs when we eat out as we all feel like it is a treat so we are generally all happy and relaxed so they don’t tend to say they are bored!! We don’t allow electronics at the table from any of us. So we keep them entertained by paying them attention and listening to them!

Headfullofdreams Mon 22-Oct-18 15:04:10

Wear them out with exercise before you go then they will be more chilled out. Take games/ colouring books etc to play with them whilst waiting for food.

GhoulMythicalMoooaning Mon 22-Oct-18 15:34:21

Colouring is good but just keeping them as calm as possible and explaining that they cant run around as other people need calm and privacy to eat in peace too usually helps unless they have sen. Ours have always eaten out since babies and never encouraged them to get up and walk about unnecessarily so they copy us and behave themselves in pubs and restaurants and we usually use it as a time to sit without phones or tablets and have a proper family conversation.

LITTLEMUTLEY23 Mon 22-Oct-18 15:57:30

We only eat out as a treat my DD is usually very well behaved because of the novelty of it all. When we do eat out the restaurants usually provide crayons, activity sheets which she loves. When dd was smaller we used to go to a restaurant with a soft play attached which was fantastic for keeping her entertained between eating.

BristolMum96 Mon 22-Oct-18 16:13:06

Always take/use a few toys that suction or clip to the highchair

Goingovertosusanshouse Mon 22-Oct-18 16:20:41

Generally choose family friendly. They like it when companies give them colouring activities. Not judging but absolutely refuse to take tablets out to dinner.

Signoritawhocansway Mon 22-Oct-18 16:35:51

We usually chat... And as a backup if the service is slow, I always have a pocket sized puzzle book in my handbag. I actively avoid McDs because of the plastic tat and interactive screens.. I'm afraid I would feel the same way about free squishies... And who can afford to visit ten times anyway?!

PhilomenaDeathsHeadHawkMoth Mon 22-Oct-18 16:37:06

At home, they get up to the table when the meal's ready, and get down when they've finished. When we eat out, they take their tablets, or DS2 has his anti-stress app on my phone.

EsmeeMerlin Mon 22-Oct-18 18:50:35

I have a little pencil case I have in my handbag for my 5 year old. In it it holds a little notebook, 5 little colouring pencils, some stickers, two little cars, some spare Lego cards we use for snap and a fidget spinner. It all fits in this little pencil case and can be pulled out at the dinner table if need be.

We also try and go somewhere family friendly so there is often a activity sheet or book from the restaurant. Our local family friendly pub also has a little play area which is great.

Blazedout Mon 22-Oct-18 18:54:44

We tend to go to our local pub/restaurant which is very family friendly. They have colouring crayons and activity papers but they also have games which we play at the table. The last time we went we did a jigsaw puzzle and jenga. Jenga was a huge hit and the food came quickly (we were too distracted by the game to know whether the food took ages or not) I would definitely recommend this or some travel games of connect 4 etc. We have 4dc ranging from 10 to 1

MrsFrTedCrilly Mon 22-Oct-18 19:40:53

Pens and paper always a winner with my children

queenoftheschoolrun Mon 22-Oct-18 19:47:52

Puzzle books, pen and paper always to hand but the novelty of something similar at the restaurant always goes down well! Wish restaurants would check their crayons or pens, so often they are all broken, run out or only have one or two colours left.

danigrace Mon 22-Oct-18 20:30:00

Current strategies include colours, books, and toys for whilst waiting. And food that 14mo DS likes but takes him time to eat like a whole apple when he starts getting fussy

lolapops1 Mon 22-Oct-18 20:46:32

I choose family friendly restaurants.
Take pens and books, kindles, toys.
And hope that the server and guests around us have patience of saints!

Queenofthedrivensnow Mon 22-Oct-18 20:55:17

Pizza Hut is how I keep them not rabid. Sorry

PlayingForKittens Mon 22-Oct-18 21:02:15

We have conversations mainly! We've always eaten as a family at home for every meal(often with just one adult as the other at work but whoever is around cooks and eats with the children) and they have always been taught manners and we talk around the table.

It doesn't mean they are perfect, I frequently want to sell one or other on eBay but it means they do well in restaurants or weddings etc and other special meal occasions.

That being said when smaller if we were going to eat out we'd choose family friendly places with crayons or that understood small children don't wait well and that bring them little starters of veg sticks and hummus or something nice and quickly.

Larrythelamb84 Mon 22-Oct-18 21:33:39

Conversation. Simple. I love taking my girls out for dinner (9&6). If they get given colours they will have a go, but mostly we just sit and chat. It's a good time to catch up on their days, listen to their stories, and tell them about my day and our plans for the weekend.

I cannot stand to see children with tablets/iPads, and will deliberately move away from tables if a child is sat on one and not interacting with their parents. Plus the noise from them too is incredibly frustrating!

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Mon 22-Oct-18 21:34:04

We only eat at family friendly restaurants and I usually have a supply of colouring pencils in my bag so the DC can draw or we can play games together while we’re waiting if conversation alone isn’t enough.

3boysandabump Mon 22-Oct-18 21:40:36

Snapchat on my phone works every time!

VKaur78 Mon 22-Oct-18 21:54:31

Both my children take their colouring pens and sketch books or colouring books with them . They are just in case . But we truely truly encourage our children to have a good old conversation on the table with mum, dad, brother, sister. share their thoughts ideas, secrets, achievements , wishes etc etc.

biffyboom Mon 22-Oct-18 21:58:13

I try to keep different topics of conversation going with my son, to keep him engaged, and if he is chattering away, he is more likely to eat without thinking and playing around with the food!

NeverTwerkNaked Mon 22-Oct-18 22:06:53

Have an excessive number of children. We have for and dinner time is always entertaining.

That said, my favourite place to eat is Wildwood, because they have lovely play areas so the children can get down and play until their meal arrives.

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