My very first blog! How exciting!
I decided to write about the dining experience with little ones and some of the little things that can make a BIG difference to your evening.
When Number 1 came along it was all too easy at the start. We would dine and chat in our usual way while he slept in his hired capsule under the table. If he cried, we fed him and off back to sleep he would go. SIMPLE! and we even had dessert!
Soon number 2 came along and we had to juggle a toddler and a baby and the dinners out became less enjoyable and less often. Suddenly it was more hassle than we needed and trying to get a nutritious meal into a toddler at a restaurant was not much fun, let alone wrestling with him to stay at the table and managing a newborn.
Now we have 4 children aged between 3 and 12 and it has taken me until the last 18 months to give myself a break so we can finally enjoy the dining experience again. How? I came to these conclusions ……
- Why do I need to worry about whether my 4 children eat healthily on that particular night? We don’t dine out that often and if they eat a bowl of wedges for tea and are happy to sit there and eat it all up, then so be it! No arguments about what to order, no fights over eating up dinner, nor is there the wastage of food and money at the end of the night.
- Unless we are dining out in 5 star restaurants and I’m not sure how many of those I have actually been in, why worry if your little one gets up and walks around the other side of the table to sit on your knee? Why worry if he pushes a matchbox toy along the top of his chair?
- I come prepared. I take drink bottles to avoid fizz, I take colouring in books and crayons and YES, I let them have one small toy at the table because my husband and I talking about house renovations does not interest any of them!
- I have plenty of tissues and plenty of wipes!
Don’t get me wrong, we are not one of those families at a restaurant that you stare at with your mouths open but we have decided to choose our dinner table battlegrounds and restaurants are now not one of them. When we dine at home we are still strong with our eating ethics and manners and it was only tonight that my husband told my Miss 9 to bring her elbows down at the table and Miss 4 to pick up her fork and leave the spoon behind.
So …. my biggest advice is to RELAX, don’t expect them to behave like an adult or eat the same food selections as they do at home, come prepared with entertainment and you might even get a coffee as well as dessert 😉
Any tips of your own?