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Tips for having a peaceful meal in a restaurant with a toddler

Prepare your toddler for an evening of a peaceful meal.

The first time I went out to a restaurant with my toddler, my family had to take turns eating and keeping her entertained. I thought that restaurant outings with my family, something that everyone in my family likes, would be a thing of the past, until my daughter grew up. However, you really can't restrict your social outings just because you have a baby, and even she needs to learn her ways. So I decided it was time to find a midway where I could eat in a restaurant in (relative) peace and my daughter could also enjoy it without feeling that she was being forced to do something. These tips have helped me, and I am sure you will benefit too.

    1. Never take them hungry: But you are going to a restaurant for eating, right? Then why feed the toddler beforehand? Because restaurants sometimes have a queue, the food might take time to arrive, and even when it does, it can be to your toddler s dislike. An annoyed AND hungry toddler is hell on steroids. You don t want a hangry toddler ruining your meal, now do you? So its better that you feed a little something to your toddler to keep her pacified.
    2. Always carry a favourite snack: Toddlers hate waiting, and unless you are eating at a junk-style fast food outlet, chances are your food will take time to arrive. A snack comes in handy to keep the restless toddler occupied and fed at the same time. Also, you will need something if the chef messes with the clear instructions of just the pizza base and cheese.
    3. Don t put them in the hi-chair straight away: A toddler s patience capacity for sitting in a hi-chair without any food is about 15 seconds. And if your food is going to take at least 15 minutes to arrive, you better not jinx your luck by plonking your tot in the hi-chair to have some free time yourself. Don t be so selfish. Find ways to keep your child occupied till the food arrives and she gets to go in the hi-chair.
    4. Always carry some activities: Even if your tot never touches the crayons in the house, the very idea of getting to scribble on the table napkins (the reusable kind) will thrill her. Carry things like a simple puzzle, some colours, an activity book, etc. to help her keep busy till the food arrives.
    5. Take her through the menu and let her order: Toddlers LOVE to pretend to be adults and act like them. My almost three year old gets mighty offended if I ever call her baby . She wants to be a grown up and acts like one. So one way to get your child to behave is to let her believe she is in charge, like an adult. Read her the menu and ask her what would she like to eat. Then let her place her own order too.

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