Dining out with a toddler
Posted by: Sharmila Rajah, 26-Mar-2009
A happy toddler means equally happy parents...
We can kiss our romantic, leisure dinners goodbye. Gone are the quiet dinners mummy and daddy used to savour in restaurants that welcomed quiet, sleeping babies. Ayanna has morphed into a toddler who demands attention at the dinner table – usually with high-pitched screams or fork pounding.
To ensure a palatable dining experience with our toddler – we have a few tricks up our sleeves:
- Dining unfashionably early (as a hungry toddler is a cranky toddler) way before the romantic couples come out to dine.
- Opting to feed her at home first before heading out for a meal.
- Just like any toddler, Ayanna doesn’t wait well - so having something to munch like bread or vegetables helps to keep her hunger pangs under control.
- Eating what Ayanna loves – rice or pasta. Requesting for her meal to be brought in first is always a good idea.
- Busy, noisy restaurants make for great camouflage of her noisy antics. These types of restaurants (for e.g. kopitiams) may inhibit conversations but can also drown out toddler whining.
- To find a table out of the way so that any excessive noise from our table doesn’t disturb others.
- It’s all about speed – we’re like two F1 drivers chowing down our food at breakneck speeds. Speed is the essence – our objective is to get in, get Ayanna fed and get out as expeditiously as possible.
- Mummy carries with me a selection of distractions that range from storybooks to crayons to keep the little one amused until her food comes.
- If all else fails, one adult remains at the table while the other takes the toddler outside for a change in scenery and a chance to cool off.
It’s unreasonable to expect any toddler to sit through a restaurant meal as a model of politeness. It’s also unfair to subject fellow diners to toddler shenanigans. So, it’s nice to know that there are restaurants out there that are much more hospitable to younger diners with play areas and friendly staff (and you don’t have to put up with stares of disbelief and shock from other patrons).
Some of our faves are:
- Fit For Two café (Bangsar Village II)
- Bijou (Mount Kiara)
- Dish Deli (Solaris)
We now save most of the adult talk for an adult night out.
Do you have any kid friendly restaurants you would love to suggest? Or how about tricks that keep your toddlers entertained while dining out?
sharmila, not only mentioning toddlers, now jayden (8 mths) also knows how to scream in restaurants!!!!
Our daughter has just turned 18 months and I can empathise with Shamila and her daughter Ayanna. Our daughter has her antics too when we dine out (which isn't often). My advice here is:
1) Put the toddler down for a long nap before dining out as a tired out toddler is bound to be real cranky. We often put our daughter down for a nap before heading out for a meal.
2) Pack the toddler's food along (preheated and packed in a thermos flask) and while ordering the food, feed the toddler firs as then, the toddler will be satisfied and not hungry and cranky when the food comes and s/he can then join in with parents eating should the toddler wants to.
3)Bring along the toddler's favourite toy (preferably one that is very captivating to the toddler) and give it to the toddler when the food comes to let the toddler entertain him/herself.
We've used the above steps while we dine out, and as in most restaurants in UK which unfortunately are set in quiet ambience, it's been proven useful so far.
Thanks for all your input! Appreciate it!
another good place which we go with our child is the Marco's pizza restaurant at bangsar village...play area for kids and there is even a bar for a beer or two..