Keeping our son quiet at restaurants has been a learned skill for sure. This is where we were:
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- Taking turns with my husband walking our son around the plane or the restaurant just so he wouldn’t cry while the other parent relaxed/finished eating.
- Letting our toddler eat an entire basket of white bread to keep him seated –cringe!
- Making bargains with our kids – “Okay, we will walk around the restaurant one time and then it’s back in your high chair.”
- Giving up and putting on Youtube on the cell phone.
We thought, “There has to be a better way!” And there is…
Tip #1: Set Expectations Before Arriving. Talking to our kids and explaining our expectation is one of the best ways to get them to behave.
For a Restaurant: “We are going out to eat tonight– yay! We have to be good because we don’t want to disturb other people who are eating too. We will enjoy yummy food, coloring, and playing with your special toys. Mama and Papa are so happy that you are a good boy at restaurants!”
Tip #2: Create a Travel Toy Bag. This works like magic. Create a bag full of toys that are only taken out and played with during travel (planes, trains, cars, boats, etc.).
- Skip the toxic “Dollar Store” toys—my kid lost interest almost right away.
- Choose quality toys that engage STEM play like toys that stick together and won’t fall on the floor
- Use a ZizzyBee bag to hold the toys. These eco-friendly storage/travel bags replace 1000 plastic Ziplock bags a year! They have a lifetime replacement guarantee. I’ve used these for 7 years and never broke!
Tip #3: Buy a Magic Reflection Ball. This product is genius and was a game-changer for us. This toy suctions to the restaurant table or airplane tray keeping your child amused and stimulated. The convex shape sparks your child’s curiosity as their reflection constantly changes.
Tip #4: Buy a Busy Baby Mat. We’ve all been there as parents with kids in restaurants. Toys inevitably get tossed on the floor…and then again, and again. What is a parent to do? Give back the germy toy to avoid a tantrum or take the toy away? I choose the former while trying to clean it with a wipe.
The Busy Baby Mat is the first-ever placemat to keep toys in place. It’s 100% food-grade silicone, suctions to smooth surfaces, and has a proprietary tether system that will keep baby’s things attached and within reach/germ-free!
Tip #5: Pack Your Own Crayons and Paper. It’s awesome when restaurants and flight attendants automatically bring over crayons and paper right away, but it doesn’t always happen. So we make sure to bring our own just in case.
We play games like “guess what I drew” which makes the usual 10 minutes of quiet coloring time 5x longer—plus it’s more engaging and imaginative.
Tip #6 Set a Routine. Kids crave routine and thrive when they know what to expect. It really works like magic—you will start to say you have the best-behaved kid there!
Our son has been everywhere with us—from wineries, breweries, restaurants, and more. And the best part? No technology! It’s not cheap to go out so why not be 100% present and enjoy every bit?!