Having a toddler, I have learned a lot! Especially, about how to keep her entertained and well behaved in public. There are several tactics I use to keep kids occupied in a restaurant.
Nothing can ruin a meal quite like a toddler throwing a fit and screaming. I know that it happens and sometimes they are just in a mood but there are some things I always make sure to bring along when we take our child to a restaurant.
I like keeping small things on hand that will keep her entertained but are easy to fit in my purse or diaper bag. You can make a “busy bag” to keep in the car so that you don’t have to worry about leaving it at home. The items below can be stored either way. They are a great alternative to pulling out your phone or tablet to keep your child occupied in a restaurant. I use that as a last resort :).
- Coloring books and crayons are a must have for us. I like getting these things at my local Dollar Tree because they are only $1! They have some cute ones and my daughter loves picking out her own. If you are worried abou them making a mess on the table, I highly recommend the No-Mess markers and books from Crayola. They only color on the paper and nothing else!
- Play I-Spy. We are working on teaching her colors. I will ask her if she sees something that is blue, green, red, etc. She is learning and it keeps her busy.
- Use what is on the table. I like taking the sugar or salt packets and ask her to count how many there are. You can do addition and subtraction if you have an older child. You can also use them to play tic-tac-toe on the table.
- I also like the reusable sticker pads. Melissa and Doug have so many cute ones. There are dress up dolls, make your own dinner, animal and dinosaur habitats. Kids have so much fun with these and you can use them over and over again.
- Travel games are great to keep in your purse. I love the Spot It games and the Disney memory card games. Flash cards are great, too! They keep kids busy and you can play right along with them.
- These are just fun. Who else had a Wooly Willy growing up? I would play with this all the time! These are great to have when you need to keep your kids busy in a restaurant. Plus, you know you want to play with it too :).
- I usually have a couple of the Little People cars in my diaper bag. These don’t take up a lot of room and my daughter loves making them vroom around the table. If your kid likes cars, these might help keep them occupied until the food arrives.
- Books are always great to have on hand. My little one loves to read and I usually keep a few of her mini board books in my bag so I can grab one when we need it. I have the Baby Einstein set but I know she would love this Mickey Mouse set.
If your child gets antsy and isn’t patient, you might want to try some of these items to keep them entertained. I always make sure to tell our server to bring out her food as soon as it is done, everything doesn’t have to come out at once. This way she doesn’t have to wait as long and I can go ahead and start getting her food cut up and cooled off.
What are some ways you keep your kids occupied in a restaurant? Do you play games or tell stories?