3/1/09

Tips for peaceful restaurant outings with children

Posted on Sunday~March 1, 2009

I don't think I've ever given parenting advice here on the EO. I'm sure you can tell I'm a total expert in all things baby and toddler, but just in case you didn't know, I thought I would share some tips.

Today's tip will help you more than words can say the next time you attempt eating out with small children.

Our children are always quiet and well-behaved at restaurants. They hardly make a peep. They are only three and one, and yet they don't make a scene at all. People compliment their behavior all the time. Ryan and I just sit and talk and talk, we can hardly ever even tell we have children with us. They simply sit still and quietly mind their own business.

There are some things a parent needs to know to achieve such great success in restaurant etiquette. I'm sure you've all heard that it's a good idea to pack things to do and bring along snacks for when you're waiting for the food to arrive. Those are nice ideas, but I'm here to say that you probably won't even need them.

Instead, you can just go ahead and enjoy your coffee or tea, your hot cocoa or your soda, while your children eat condiments. Yes, I said condiments. What's the harm really? The only planning you really need to do is to pick a restaurant with that caddy thing on the table, full of different flavors of jelly and sugar packets and sometimes even the added bonus of peanut butter. (At this point you should note that you need to set some of the sugar packets aside for later. Don't let them eat them all, that would be over-doing it. For now.)

Oh! One more thing you could plan ahead to bring is the newspaper! Catch up on the world's news while your kiddos slurp happily at their choice of either grape or strawberry jelly, packet after packet. You'll have the added peace of mind that your children are getting a good helping of fruit for the day while you peruse the obituaries.

And by the way, just go ahead and let them have the knife, they're not that sharp anyway. Most of the time they're just butter knives. Allowing them to scoop out peanut butter and slather it around keeps them busier than you could ever imagine. Busy...and quiet.

But that's not all.

Next, you'll have to be sure to order something like pancakes for the kids. And if you're smart, you will have saved some of the sugar from being dumped out and licked off the table. If you do save it, you'll find that you can slowly savor your own plate while your children pour the sugar from the packets all over their pancakes. They'll spend minutes upon minutes enjoying their pancake-donut creation, leaving you time for your own dessert.

Now, you must be warned that this may not bode well for the rest of the day. As you all know, sugar highs can be quite severe in young children. But if you give them lots and lots of water all the craziness should die down pretty quickly. Within five to eight hours.

And anyway, the craziness is totally worth it since it gives you the chance to get out of the house and eat at an actual restaurant while your kids behave and receive compliments.

(This post was inspired by actual events. Events that took place on this very day.)

You're welcome, and see you at Perkins.

(P.S. I added a poll on the top of the left sidebar. It's anonymous, so JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION. Or don't. Whatever. I've been thinking about that whole followers thing lately...)

36 clicked right here to comment:

K and/or K said...

Kyle loves the jelly packets. He is 31.

happygeek said...

Snort.
Glad you had great lunch.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Okay, I haven't read anything but the title so far but I can already tell ya, it's a lie. Going to go read, now. . .

Heidi Ashworth said...

Okay, now I'm just mad. Why didn't I think of that back when the Big Guy could be easily appeased with a packet of jam? Now we have to ask for the whole jar.

Kristina P. said...

I like to do this with other people's kids, when their parents aren't looking. They'll thank me later.

LexiconLuvr said...

Thanks for the tips! I'll give it a go the next time we head to IHOP! =]

Christi said...

You know if you get coffee with the creamer - the real stuff in the little containers not the fake stuff- then you can get some dairy servings in them too.

Rebecca said...

That's both hilarious and a great idea! Except when my boys were younger they would have loved throwing the sticky packets and watched people's reactions.

Hmm...now that's an idea!

Oh, and about that poll--I love the "followers" feature because it keeps all the people I follow in one easy place with the click of a button. I guess I'm rather lazy about using a blog reader (or whatever they're called). Sure, it can be a popularity thing for the one being followed, but I would still follow others if I didn't include it on my own blog. Like I said, I'm lazy.

Jami said...

I drink my water up really quickly and then just fill the cup with syrup and hand it to the child nearest me. And then I move through everyone's cups of water in the same manner. Some of the kids like the fruity flavors, but most like to stick with maple.

OK, not really. Really the only places we eat either have play places or are buffets (No waiting and if they hate what they chose they can choose again.) Should I ever be forced to take the clan to a sit-down restaurant, I'll remember the condiment caddy!

Annette Lyon said...

This is hilarious. Ah, the days of dealing with small kids in restaurants. Happily, we now have a built-in babysitter. A glorious thing, truly, to go out JUST THE 2 OF US. Bliss!

Less Toil Traci said...

We stopped going out to eat when we had little kids. It just seemed to be less toil. But never thought of this idea. Thanks for the tip! Go Perkins!

Jen said...

Oh I can see it now! Possibly b/c I have been there. ;)

MoziEsmé said...

I've really got it good. My baby is happy with just the ketchup packets. And there's less sugar in those than in jam, right?

I'll have to remember the newspaper next time, though.

Kazzy said...

How about sucking down the whole red squishy ketchup bottle? Or steak sauce? mmmmm I could do that one. Smart mom-thinking there, Heather. I remember my kids stacking them and unstacking, but I wasn't smart enough to just let them inhale the stuff.

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like the perfect lunch. And so simple! I don't know why I didn't think of it:)

I like the poll question. A lot. Guess how I answered it? (I think you already know!)

minnesotamom said...

Wow, and here I spent all this time trying to keep crayons out of Anja's mouth...

You got a sassy new haircut! Me likey!

Shauna said...

I am new here! What a great blog :)

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

I agree with everything you say here. I have proven these ideas true. But you might want to warn your readers of some side-effects that will not surface until the kids are teen-agers. Just add them in fine print to avoid any liability. Some parents advanced thru the school system without learning to read and still were allowed to have children so you'll never know who will misinterpret your instructions to include slurping Tabasco :-)

Muthering Heights said...

That's a new one...but hey, whatever works!

Melanie J said...

Uh-huh. Genius.

Debbie said...

I think you should give parenting advice. You are a natural!
I voted on your poll. I'll be interested in seeing the results.

Jennifer said...

LOL! I have used the sugar packet method at many a restaurant! Pickle's favorite, though, is butter! If I can plop a little tub of butter in front of her--she's good to go!

Kristen said...

You are my kind of mom!!

LisAway said...

In Poland they have a covered dish of sugar with a spoon. No little packets. I have allowed the kids to stir up the sugar a time or two (literally, as it's very unsanitary and I feel I must tell the waitress that she should change out the sugar afterwards) when they were having a hard time keeping still.

Jam packets. How funny. And gross, too. Whatever works!

T & T Livesay said...

I have been giving kids sugar packets since the early 90's.


Approve.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

You're a genius, Heather, as usual. The amount of stuff I have to pack in a diaper bag of sorts to keep my kids entertained during the "meal-waiting" portion of a restaurant outing is mind-boggling. I admit they're getting better as they get older and those place mats with crayons actually become slightly entertaining. I think you and I SHOULD meet at Perkins one day with our kids just to see what chaos would ensue. :)

a Tonggu Momma said...

Snort.
Although - I must say - the Tongginator prefers the sugar packets.

Kelline said...

HAve you tried giving them flavored creamers????? The twins think their fun!

Angie said...

Oh my word, my children are perfect in restaurants, too!

Adding dairy with those creamers is a great idea... that is, until your kids squeezes them just a little too hard and shoots creamer all over some other happy diner. Not that I've ever seen that happen or anything. :)

Mammatalk said...

I have kids the same ages and now I know what a fool I have been. Thanks for the tips! I certainly picked the right blog to subscribe to!

Abra said...

I find, the raw sugar awesome because they can spit it across the table at eachother... it even hurts a little bit so it's totally a real game... plus, they're still sitting in their seats... that's a must rule.

On an aside, here's a fun game to play (not with a child, that's just mean...)
Take the raw sugar packet, let it melt on your tongue until it's totally dissolved - Then take a Sweet n' Low or a Sugar Twin and do the same thing...
Let me know what you think
PS has to be raw sugar

Kimberly said...

We always order extra ice cubes. Bad for their teeth? Faugh!

You're hysterical - loved this post!

RosyRose said...

hey funny girl! You really oughta write a book on all your sound and wonderful expert wisdom on child rearing!
The good side of sugar highs is eventually they wear off then the child has no choice but to doze off into a comma!
Excellent ideas!:)
I love your new pic by the way!!!

Jules from "The Roost" said...

HEE He HE...You should write a parenting book! ;)

Peanut said...

I will have to remember your wise tips. Our parents often offer to take us out to dinner, thinking it will help us out... this might just work!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Love. Pure, unadulterated love. Oh, how I know... Nothin' beats gettin' squirted in the eye with creamer. Yeah, buddy!

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