Dining with a toddler while on vacation might not sound like the most enjoyable experience, but if you take the kiddos along, you have no other option (unless they stay in the kids club). As a travel blogger, it’s part of my job to experience each all-inclusive family vacation destination with the kiddos and by doing that, I’ve learned three valuable tips that I’d like to share with you.
When we visited Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa, my oldest was four and my youngest was just about one. My oldest loved the kids club but chose to dine with us every night and my youngest was in “cling to momma” mode, so she came everywhere with me. Thankfully, all of the restaurants at Beaches were super accommodating and understanding.
The truth is, teaching kids to behave themselves in adult environments only works if you actually bring them around adult environments. There’s nothing wrong with taking them to nice restaurants and teaching them good table manners, especially at a family-friendly resort.
Tip #1 – Don’t worry about other diners.
Kids talk loudly, they occasionally scream and they like to drop the silverware. Everyone knows this!
With my first child, I would cringe inside when she would cry or act out at the dinner table while on vacation. It took me until she was about three to realize that she was bothering me way more than she was bothering other diners. In fact, most of them thought she was cute. If you’re on vacation with your kids, you’re most likely at a family-friendly vacation destination. Honeymooners or couples that are looking to escape the kiddish atmosphere most likely wouldn’t be staying there anyways.
Tip #2 – Order your kids’ food first or keep them distracted with bread and shiny silverware.
I actually learned this on a cruise when my oldest was about two. One of the staff members suggested that he bring her meal first to keep her distracted. It worked like a charm and we’ve done this ever since. In some instances, though, the kids finish before the adults which creates another need to distract them. What a great time to order dessert! After all, you’re on vacation and if you’re staying at Beaches, it’s all-inclusive so order every dessert on the menu.
My little one has plenty of fun playing with a spoon and a piece of bread, so if the restaurant brings bread before your meal, tell the waiter to keep it coming – and warn them that most of it might end up on the ground.
Some restaurants offer kids crayons and a menu to color, but this has never worked to distract my girls very long. The crayons usually end up on the ground with the bread crumbs.
Tip # 3 – Ask for a kid-friendly cup and extra straws!
I don’t know what it is about those Beaches bendy straws but my girls couldn’t get enough of them. From what I’ve read from other Beaches Moms and Dads, their kids loved them, too. No matter where you’re dining, though, they most likely have a kid-friendly drink option for your little ones.
My girls love to play with straws and swirl them around in their drinks, but more often than not, the straws end up on the ground. Having an extra straw (or five) within arm’s reach is always a good idea to avoid meltdowns.
Also, don’t be afraid to have the waiter remove any glasses that you don’t need from the table, if they haven’t done so already.
And when all else fails, hand them the iPhone!
Do you have any tips for dining with little ones?
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