I’ve found that dining out with a small child can be greatly enhanced by being prepared with a few essentials. Here’s my list of what I carry with me in the diaper bag when we go out to eat. Yeah, it means a big bag with dishes to take home to wash (which negates one of the big benefits of eating out – no dishes!) but it’s a small price to pay for a good experience.
- Bib – I get the ones at Ikea that go on like a backwards jacket and cover the tot’s entire upper body, they roll into a small ball which makes them easy to transport
- Kiddopotamus Tiny Diner Placemat – this is an essential item in my book. You can buy them at baby stores such as Kacz Kids and Toys R Us and they retail for about $15.00. The placemat suctions onto the table and has a pocket that catches food that may fall off the table. You can put food directly on the placemat and know that the surface it’s on is clean and sanitary. After the meal, you can roll the dirty placemat into the pocket, which keeps it compact and clean enough to stuff in your diaper bag for the journey home
- Diaper wipes – for wiping your tot’s face and hands after the meal
- Sippy cup – I bring an empty one and ask the waitress to fill it with milk at the restaurant
- A large ziploc bag for transporting the dirty dishes home
- Plus…the usual (diapers, change pad, change of clothes)
Extras (these items I usually leave at home but sometimes have found useful to bring along if there’s room):
- A plastic bowl or plate
- Toddler sized cutlery
- Toy or book for keeping your tot entertained before dinner
- Snacks/food (in case your meal takes a long time or there’s nothing your kid will eat off the menu)
- Travel high chair (if you know the restaurant doesn’t have high chairs, or if you know the food is especially messy, this is a good option.) The Fisher Price Heathy Care Booster Seat is my personal favorite.
Erin is the proud Mommy of 2 year old Annabel and is expecting Baby #2 in April. She works as a business analyst by day, and folds piles of laundry by night. Erin and her husband Derek have lived in Calgary for 4 years. Erin blogs at http://diningwithkidsincalgary.blogspot.com/