10 Genius Tips For Eating Out With Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dining out with toddlers is probably not high up on your list of things to do right now. A single toddler would be challenging enough but two or three? So 10 genius tips for eating out with kids will definitely help.  Probably a rather scary thought though, eating out with twins or triplets ! But…..I have to admit, it was something that I wanted to make sure I could do as my triplets got older.

I didn’t want to have to either restrict where I went or avoid going out with them completely.  I waited until they were about 14 months old before taking them to eat in a cafe and chose John Lewis on Oxford Street of all places!  My mother thought I was bonkers and that wasn’t because of where we went but simply the effort of getting them ready to go!! I was not going to let that stop me getting out although I must admit that even when we were out, it would take more time to do stuff because random strangers would come up and want to take a look at them or chatter to me about triplets.

 

My triplets waiting for their dinner !

The thing was, I was meeting my mother-in-law there and we had decided to take them for lunch with the promise of ice cream afterwards if they were good. Back then, John Lewis had a big ice-cream counter with lots of seating, space for the huge stroller and toilet facilities close by.  The first trip went really well… I have to admit though for this first time and with the age of the triplets, I took my neighbour with me too! She often came to help me in the afternoons, she was widowed and her own children lived a way away so we had helping hands for each baby.

There were several things I was conscious of with taking them out. I was nervous about them making too much noise for others in the cafe, of them having a melt down, one of them being sick, but also I realised that if I didn’t take them out and get them used to behaving, then it would never get any easier.

Ive compiled a list of Genius Tips to make taking out your toddler twins/triplets great fun and most importantly… not stressful !

Genius Tips On Eating Out

  • Spare clothing –  Most toddlers do spill down their clothing and of course wearing a bib protects from most of this, but I took along a couple of spare sets of tops and trousers for my triplets, just in case we had disasters. Taking a child home in wet clothes or no clothes, is a disappointing end to a treat out. They dont take up much space in a  bag and knowing the facilities of the place you are going to eat makes it easier to nip off with the toddler to change them. No fuss.
  • Toddler beakers – Ideal so they can be independent and you don’t have the struggle of letting 3 toddlers drink from a glass. I got my three onto drinking with straws as soon as I could, because that made going out much easier, especially as one time I forgot the beakers. There were a few damp toddlers to take home… not much fun. They can choose what they would like to drink, its part of the treat but with their own beakers.
  • Avoid places where there are long waits for food – Buffet style cafes/restaurants are the best so there is no waiting around too long for food. At home its ok if there is some noise and shouting whilst they wait for lunch to be ready but not the sort of thing you want when you’re out! So choosing somewhere that there isn’t a wait avoids the embarrassment of shouting toddlers.
  • Unexpected waiting for food – Distracting toys/ipad/breadsticks/carrot are excellent backups in case of some unforeseen delay. Getting fractious and hangry spoils any benefit you might gain from going out in the first place, so some finger food that they can chomp on whilst waiting will keep them happy.
  • Highchairs – This is a must in any cafe or restaurant. They need to be sitting up to the table. Toddlers running around, whilst eating is not a good move, or trying to sit on regular seats doesn’t work for me, or even sitting in their stroller is too stressful. I found that if my three didn’t eat well through the day, they would have disturbed sleep that night and that was not something I wanted !
  • Enough hands to help – As my triplets got older, I found that I could do more and more with them by myself, but I do feel that this was because when they were younger, I had helping hands to show them how to feed themselves and they learned how to behave and be good when out with me.
  • Toilet Trips – Choosing a cafe/restaurant that has suitable baby changing facilities or toilets that are big enough to take in strollers and two or three toddlers is a godsend. Struggling into small compartments of toilets is not fun for anyone but with two or three toddlers to sort out, I would never go to a place again if I couldn’t change them easily.
  • Avoiding tantrums – Not so easy because its not always possible to appease the frustration of a 2 year old.  I still took my three out when they were going through the terrible twos. I found the best way to deal with it, and this was just me, was to remove the tantrum child from the cafe, leaving the other two with a helper. It was easier for me to cope with the tantrum if I didn’t have the eyes of all the other diners watching me! Frequently the tantrum was hunger/tired, so calming them down, getting some food into them and into the stroller for a snooze was the solution !
  • Control The Mess –  When the lunch is done, try to pick up chunks of food or mess on the floor. Clearly if there are crumbs etc, the usual that would be on the floor is fine, but otherwise, its always polite to clean up rather than leave a bomb site on or around the table. I hate it when I see the fallout from kids eating, older kids too, should know better.
  • No Tired Toddlers –  This one goes without saying… a recipe for disaster !  I usually chose lunch to go out. My three had a morning nap, so easy to get them up, changed, carrot stick in hand to keep them going and off out for lunch!

 

 

 

There are plenty of places that you can go out to eat without stress  – picnics are perfect because it doesn’t matter so much about dropping food and them squiggling about. It doesnt have to be somewhere special, although this was one of our favourite things to do at the zoo. We lived in London when mine were tiny and we frequently went up to Regents Park Zoo or to one of the large parks, such as Hyde Park, where we could walk with them in their strollers without attention.

 

 

 

 

About Helen 59 Articles
Helen is a mom of triplets and started this website both to offer help and support to other parents of twins and triplets, but also to bring in extra income each month from affiliate marketing.  She loves what she does, blogging and interacting with her readers. Click here to learn how to share what you love  - on your own website.

30 Comments

  1. I think more people need to read this. The only thing I would disagree with is the ipad as a distraction. I know I might be old fashioned but I remember growing up. If we went out to a restaurant or anywhere really, we were there to eat and socialize not playing game boys etc. I personally believe that we are using the tablets and phones to much, I have seen parents, as soon as there child makes a noise they will just give them the tablet or phone and it’s scary. 

    Besides that I completely agree with everything you are saying here. Make a plan, be prepared!

    • I totally agree with you regarding the iPad under normal circumstances, but these are toddlers and not just one but three. I used it as a distraction if necessary until food arrived, so my triplets wouldn’t scream the place down.  As soon as food arrived, the iPad was put away.  My triplets are older now, and once we got past the toddler stage where distraction wasn’t required, we moved onto maybe colouring books to keep them entertained. Three 3-4 year olds in a club lounge waiting for a plane can be exhausting without something to pass the time until food arrives. 

  2. Wow great Ideas here, I glad I never had twins or triplets, can only imagine the stress at times.  I do like the idea of getting a helper and separate a tantrum child.  Mind you at times that is even hard to do.  I remember once my brother and his family and my own family went out to a attraction. His son at the time was about 5,  You should of heard the tantrum when the little boy got a small drink instead of a large like the other adults. lasted like an hour. was really nowhere to put this kid aside as was very crowded.

    • Thanks so much Sam, twins and triplets are tough. But put into that situation I am sure you would have coped !  It is difficult some times to separate the one getting stressy and I was very firm with my triplets if it did happen when I was alone with them. I had time outs or sanctions and at 5 they definitely understand that. 

  3. I’m going to bookmark this. I’m currently engaged and I will need all the help I can get for once I get kids! 

    Great tips; I hope my kids aren’t allergic to nuts to such a degree where they can’t have any like my fiance is. I don’t want to leave them out of the joys of ice cream!

    • Thankyou Murasa, I hope the information is of help to you when the time comes ! I think your kids will be fine with ice cream even if they have nut allergies, as long as you watch what toppings they have and what the ice cream is made from but regular ice cream made from milk will be fine ! 

  4. Your triplets are so adorable. Thank you for coming up with this amazing checklist. I am not a mom yet but love to be someday when my living situation is better. However, two of my friends are expecting in 2 months this year. I will share this post to them to get them prepare. Also for me since I might have to help them out. I live in NYC, so this list will help a great deal. Thanks again!

    • Thankyou Nuttanee, the suggestions are of course great for single babies too, any child that is fractious and dare I say it ‘annoying’ other people in the cafe is not great. I tried when mine were young to make sure they didn’t annoy others but still have a lovely time out. I am sure you will be a great help to you friends when their babies arrive ! 

  5. Those are awesome tips Helen. We got three lil ones and we’ve done few of these in the past . Distraction – We always bring books and toys so that they have something to play with when they inevitably gets bored.

    Also Taylor our youngest starts her bedtime routine at 7pm every night, and if it goes much later than that, she turns into a very different child! So we try to make sure we plan our dinners out with her so that we get home by 7:15pm at the latest. That usually means being sat down by 5:30pm.

    Anyways your page is well informative and helpful, thank you. Wish I had this back then when I was just starting out with kids.

    • Thanks Tony, you are right about the timing… We did much the same.  It was no fun being out with over tired triplets and  horror of horrors… that they fall asleep in the car !! I so didnt want that to happen because it meant they would not settle to bed easily ! 

  6. I had two sets of twins, three years apart, and I agree with so many of your tips, I can’t even tell you.  Extra everything packed and at the ready was a staple in my car.  My trunk had a bag with an extra everything for each of my children that stayed in the car always and got replenished when I needed to.  It was a lifesaver.  Also, I had my own portable high chairs that attached to any table, and I can’t tell you how absolutely handy those came in when eating out.  You can’t always have access to enough highchairs.  You have to highchair those little ones or you might as well just forget it.  Great article as always.  Love love love your site!!!

    • Thanks Babsie!! We had those high chairs that clipped on too although I usually only took one or two with me, and a high chair from the cafe/restaurant for the third… but twins twice ! Thanks so much for your insight and comments on my website. 

  7. Your article of yours will be useful for me when I start building “my tribe/football team” (family). Obviously, avoiding long waits for food or whatever is suitable. I hate waiting by myself; Imagine with my wife and kids. I agree with your idea of having family picnics. I’m a family-oriented man and I am grateful that you shared your post. Anyway, keep on dropping that good content.

    • Hi Jean, Thanks for your comments! I felt that having family outings even if it was supremely difficult, was important. Whilst it wasn’t the normal situation with triplets, it was our normal and we must make the effort to do those things… I actually quite enjoyed the struggle to get them all packed up and in the car for the outing, it was the achievement ! 

  8. Wow! Triplets!  I have 2 boys but 2 years apart and I remember how much of a handful they were when we went out to a restaurant. I was researching twins as my niece has twins along with another toddler and were planning an evening out. Your article has provided me with a marvelous insight of to expect and some excellent tips on how to avoid some possibly embarrassing situations. My boys always ended up under the table at some point during our outings. Do yours do the same or are they too young yet at this point?

    • Thanks Paul ! My three are older now, so thankfully we have got past the crawling on the floor stage, but a very important stage to go through and I always felt that whilst I wanted them to enjoy themselves, I also wanted others around not to cringe at the thought of a set of triplets on the next table! 

  9. I wish that more parents would read this as I have been to places to eat and hear nothing but a screaming baby. I know that they are upset, tired or hungry, but it is the way that the parents deal with them that is upsetting to me. Most of them just ignore them or even yell at them.
    I am a private type of person and if it were my children acting out in a manner that it created a scene, like you I would remove them so that I could calm them down and stop ruining others eating out times.
    Thank you for sharing and good job.

    • Thank you Tiffany for your comments. I have to agree, it petrified me with my triplets that they would upset others, so I tried to ensure that others around would not be disturbed. I must admit that I do wish others when I am out would do the same with their children. I must admit to thinking sometimes, if I can manage it with three, they should be able to manage it with one.

  10. Wow, you so amaze me! Even the thought of taking triplets to a cafe would scare me but  you very bravely took on the challenge and in the process learned some good tips to help others.  You are a very special mum and your thoughts about raising those delightful children are commendable.  I think it was wise to take the extra help with you otherwise it could easily end in chaos, but you proved it possible. You have shown yourself to be well qualified to talk on the subject but I would like to know how you find the time to build such a valuable website while managing 3 young children?

    All the best as you move forward in your main role as a mum and in your other role as a blogger. 

    • Thanks so much Judy…. I have always been busy! My three are older now, so I have much more time…. although I have another son now too ! But I felt that I should pass on my experience and knowledge to try help other parents of twins and triplets. Its awesome to be able to remember the memories ! 

  11. Hi Helen, I appreciate you sharing a checklist of the things we need to bring or consider whenever taking our kids out to eat. I know it can be stressful to bring your kids out especially without some extra hands to help you look after them.

    Many years ago when I was still single, I worked as a nanny for a family with twins, a boy and a girl. And mind you, they loved to eat out every other day. But in order to do that, they had to bring me along, otherwise they will not be able to enjoy their meal. Anyway, we took turns looking after the twins. 

    • Thankyou Alice ! Its certainly a strategically planned outing to make sure we have everything… but worth it… I wish we could have had a nanny! 

  12. Wow I just want to tell you that you are an amazing mom!

    I don’t have triplets but I do have 3 young kids at home, and I can relate with your situations (though not exactly the same,). The toilet facility is a must everywhere we go, kids just can’t hold it can they? 😀

    Thanks for all the nice tips! Take care of yourself too! 

    • Thanks so much for your comments Grace, I think we all face similar issues getting our little darlings out and about but I am glad that I made the effort, the experience and memories, good and bad are priceless ! 

  13. oh my! if I was stressed out with only one, I can’t image me with twins or triples, I would get crazy! There is so much you need to prepare and take care of.

    These are really great tips, everyone needs to know, it would make your life much easier and really enjoy going out with your kids.

    • Thankyou Jenny ! It was rather hectic most of the time, particularly as my son has cerebral palsy too but we managed remarkably well. 

  14. When my children were young it was not an easy task dinning out. Frankly speaking we decide to avoid for a certain period, all the time going to a dinner out my daughter was crying and that time iPad was not invented yet (2006) lol. I really liked your checklist suggestions and for sure will contribute for parents planning to have an eat out with kids.

    • Thanks Marcos, I must admit it was something that I did avoid at times but realised that I had to get out with them at some point so had to bite the bullet and go for it. The trip to the ice cream parlour went surprisingly well ! 

  15. Hi! I remember when our boys were toddlers (they`re grown-ups now), i usually bring this big bag with everything on it – extra clothes, diapers, extra snacks, a bit of favorite toys (no ipads then), a baby book, and some other things.. 

    Planning and preparing is a must when you are eating out with your toddlers, or even young kids.

    Our boys are 2 yrs apart so as far as i remember, i did not have much of an issue compared to bringing triplets, it must be a big endeavor! In which ti can see that this article will be very beneficial for those that have same issues.

    • Thankyou Hanna ! Great that you can relate to it! I think having children at different ages is very challenging when out too as they have different needs ! Thanks for your comments! 

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