For the past seven years I have carried a bag or bags of tricks as I call it. Children have a short amount of time until they become bored, or lose interest in sitting, and I have found that bringing the following things have made dining more enjoyable for all!
Infants-Babies I used to bring soft books great for Teething children, Sassy flip picture cards, suction cup Sassy toys, and Sassy connecting rings which I kept in a ziplock bag (It kept my diaper bag orderly and I would wash then as soon as I got home.) Also for those who are starting to eat, I used the disposable placements that adhere to the table, which are colorful, and kids enjoyed looking at the pictures, lastly I used to use the powdered formula holder also from Sassy, (It has four compartments) to put Cheerios, Plum Baby Puffs, Yogurt Melts, and Plum Baby Hearts & dried fruit. Lastly the Sassy Teething Feeder, to put a large piece of fruit or food in a mesh bag holder. (All products can be found at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Target and some supermarkets & drug stores.)
Toddlers-Kids I always bring coloring books, Playdoh or homemade (see past blog for the recipe), stickers, Matchbox cars, small figures/dolls, Wikki Sticks, drawing Pad, Crayola Color Wonder Markers (love them, for they do not damage clothing or table cloths for fancier restaurants lol), Legos or Duplo’s for younger children, Magnet Books,Paint with water books (they come with a paintbrush so you just need a cup of water), or any small favors from parties I always save in a box and bring them as well, for it is like getting a special gift, as well as something new to play with. (All of which I store in Ziplock bags.) For those who love technology, the IPAD and IPHONE has great apps for kids too!
Foodwise I always pack some cut cucumbers, or bring a vegetable my children like, so that they don’t fill up on bread, or to buy some time while waiting for a table, or their dinner. Also I aways pack some fruit, or cut up fruit so that when we are having our main course, the kids had something to eat before dessert. It is a good idea to keep prepackaged snacks that your child likes for those, just in case moments, and Tootsie Pops are a lifesaver as well! If I knew we were going to a restaurant that my children didn’t eat that type of cuisine, I would pack a meal in a thermos and inform the restaurant my child is a picky eater, or had a food allergy, and have never had an issue at all.
These small tips have helped tremendously for the past seven years, and we have happily dined, as well as traveled vis airplane, and continue to do so!