34 answers

Need Ideas for Stuff to Keep a 1 Year Old Busy When We're at a Restaurant

My little one is super active, and when we go out with our friends for dinner, he gets bored QUICKLY. I'd like to put together a "kit" of things to bring with us so he doesn't dissolve into a fit before we get to eat. Dinner only keeps him happy for so long, then he wants down and out!

What do you other moms do with kiddos this age? He's a little too little to color - he just wants to chew on the crayon.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

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a little doodle board really entertained my daughter then (and still). A feather was fun for her too, just had to keep it out of her mouth.

My daughter is 19 months and I still have that problem. At first I brought some of her favorite toys. After a while she got bored. then the only way to keep her quiet and not want to was to give her things that I wouldn't normally let her have like my cell phone, and my silverware. I've just come to the conclusion that when I can preorder my food i do so that way we arent waiting near as long. Or even sometimes just go in and get the food to go and eat at home. It kinda of sucks at this point but I dont want to spoil her now and have her get use to things now, and when shes older try to teach something different, shes already spoiled enough as it is. I want her to have manners when we go out and not be a holy terror.

With my first 2, my favorite thing was frozen bananna in one of those mesh feeding bags. You have to attach it to the high chair so that when they drop it it doesn't get on the floor, but it would keep them busy for a while...something to eat, but it took a while to eat it all. With this last one, he seems pretty happy to talk to us and look around. I do let him sit in my lap until the food arrives, and I do let him try to color (yes, he eats the crayons sometimes, but he has fun trying).

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I disagree with not taking your chidren out. Sure you will have to figure out which restaurants are more "kid friendly" and only frequent those, but if you never subject your kids to that environment, then it will (in my opinion) be harder for them to learn how to act in a restaurant. We loved (and still do, he's almost 3 now) the travel Aquadoodle. Since it's only filled with water, there is no need to worry about them putting it in their mouth and when one side gets fully they can "color" the other side, then switch. We have an activity bag for anytime we're out and he needs to play quietly (restaurants, church, etc.). It also has age appropriate snacks, books to look at/read, one of those reusable sticker books, crayons & coloring book, and some cars. However, there will always be those times when nothing works and you will be forced to walk around with them!

3 moms found this helpful

The best things for everyone concerned is to find a sitter for your youngster. No 13 mo. old is "good company" in a restaurant setting! THere is really no other answer!

Gradually take him to places where you are in and out in 30 minutes...coffee, coke, dessert, etc. MAYBE by the time he is 5, he will know the ropes of dining out!

SORRY! I've been there!

2 moms found this helpful

Every child is different. What you don't want to do is set your child or yourself up for a failure. Nobody wins. It's best to get a baby sitter or bring in, but If you MUST take him then understand and be prepared to take turns with your husband walking him around outside. He is too young to expect him to sit quietly.

1 mom found this helpful

We rarely went to restaurants when my older 2 boys were really little for this reason. Unless we knew there would not be a wait and the food didn't take long to get out. But having some toys did help once they got a little older. My oldest could care less about coloring until he was school age but he would play with trains or cars at the table.

Hi J.,
I have to agree with the others that said they just didn't eat out with a one year old. Maybe just making time to meet your girlfriends for dinner out by yourself would be the best bet now. Getting out a bit by yourself is good for you anyway.
Just my two cents,
R.

I 2nd the portable dvd player but recommend buying it from Sam's or Costco. They provide A. relatively cheap instore warranty that if the player breaks for ANY REASON (even if our darling chucks it out the car window) they will replace or repair on site. I tried buying cheaper dvd players and ending up buying several b/c my ds kept wanting to play with the buttons and breaking them. Buying a good one upfront with a warranty it will save you alot of headache. Good luck on whatever you choose to do!!

With my first 2, my favorite thing was frozen bananna in one of those mesh feeding bags. You have to attach it to the high chair so that when they drop it it doesn't get on the floor, but it would keep them busy for a while...something to eat, but it took a while to eat it all. With this last one, he seems pretty happy to talk to us and look around. I do let him sit in my lap until the food arrives, and I do let him try to color (yes, he eats the crayons sometimes, but he has fun trying).

Going out to eat with a one year for us was always a recipe for disaster. We learned to get in, order immediately and take care of the bill while we were still eating. It was never a leisurely affair at all. I can remember many a stressful evening with my in-laws who didn't have kids and not understanding why we needed to go somewhere without a wait and be so efficient in eating. There was no ordering dessert or chatting with our young ones. (I kind of smile now that we have older kids who will sit but they now have the toddlers!) Anyway, for the time we were there, my son liked munching on cheerios or little snacks. We also had this little winnie the pooh suction cup toy that stuck on the table he'd bat at and suck on. Some books or even a small photo album of family photos worked too. As he gets older, things like a magna doodle or etch-n-sketch would be good. Even pipe cleaners can provide entertainment with a young kid. WIth my younger son who was much more active, we got a seat in a booth where he could move around a bit more. We'd seat him next to the wall with one of us on the outside. He did better there than in a high chair, especially if it had a mirror or window next to that seat. Good luck! I don't miss those days! :)

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