Your goal, when taking your toddler to a restaurant, is not so much enjoyment, but disaster mitigation!!
A few days, prior to taking, your toddler to a restaurant, you may want to read him some books about eating in a restaurant and set some ground rules that your toddler will understand. You may want to, while at home the day before the big day, pretend you are in a restaurant. Dad can be the waiter and hand out the “menus”, while saying hello to your toddler. Teach your toddler to say, “Hi” to the waiter. Take a short walk around the pretend restaurant.
Wait for your food for a while and give your toddler some toys. This small exercise will prepare him a little for restaurant life.
The BIG Day:
Bring new “soft” toys. And remember, we do not take a toddler to a restaurant during what should be nap time or when your toddler seems fatigued. Those are recipes for disaster!!
Find a family friendly restaurant preferably with paper table cloths suitable for crayon pictures.
Pick a place that serves food you know your toddler will enjoy.
(remove all things from the table – salt shakers, ketchup, etc)
Order your child’s meal with your drinks so their meal comes first.
4 Order the bill to be given to you as soon as the orders is put in so you do not have to wait in case of a toddler melt down
Many family restaurants have play areas- try to find one that does, but if not, take your toddler for a short walk around the place. (you have practiced this)
Then bring out – The Big Guns- the toys or the sugar packets on the table. That’s FUN!
Of course, praise your toddler for his good behavior and give him a special present when you are about to leave the restaurant.