Surviving a Restaurant with a Baby

Friday, March 8, 2013

Matt, Enzo and I are going to dinner tonight with a group of friends.  We are going to Pappadeaux's Seafood Kitchen, which is a nice restaurant and not so kid-friendly.

I am very sensitive to the fact that people go to dinner to enjoy themselves and I never want our kid to be "that kid" that ruins someone's time.

I think one of the best things we can do for Enzo is to include him in dinners out, etc.  We want him to be flexible, patient, and self-entertaining.  We have made a point to not let Enzo be the reason we never go out (dinner, etc.).  Obviously there are some times, but not all the time. (Enzo was colic for two months, so we were certainly more confined to the house at this time).

As I was preparing for tonight's dinner, it made me think this might be useful for others.  So, here is my survival guide to having dinner at a restaurant with a baby:

  1. Come Prepared
    1. Make sure you have all the items you will need baby's dinner, bib, spoon, diapers/wipes, and plenty of toys.
  2. Change of Scenery
    1. When we get seated at the table, I never put Enzo in the highchair immediately.  It is the perfect time to let people get snuggles in, etc before food is on the table.
    2. Once appetizers come out, I put Enzo in the highchair.
    3. Dessert/Coffee time is another good time to let him get back out and be passed around.
  3. Slow and Steady
    1. I never introduce all the toys at once.  One at a time, as he gets bored.
    2. If your child is like Enzo, he will want to play with everything but his toys.  If this is the case, look for items he can play with on the table (sugar packets, etc).
    3. Attach the toys to the highchair.  This will save you from picking them off the dirty floor 20 times.
    4. I have a few toys that I keep in the car, just for dinner.  So, Enzo doesn't play with these toys on a daily basis which I think also helps to keep his focus.
  4. Pace Him/Her
    1. I feed Enzo very slowly to make it last as it is a great time filler.
    2. Puffs are great finger foods that take time.
  5. Baby needs a Clean Diaper
    1. Changing his/her diaper is quite the field trip for your little one.
    2. Take your time and make it fun; look at things on your way to the bathroom, etc
Let me know if you have any suggestions/comments!

Here is Enzo the other night at Cheddar's.

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