We do better in certain restaurants than others, and have always (well, post-kids always) chosen restaurants which have key features like booths or crayons. Booths are so the kid isn’t confined and crayons are for entertainment. The best entertainment is actually the local pizza joint with a booth and they give the kids dough and the kitchen is open to watch. Triple whammy. Oh- and did I mention they have coupons all over town, the pizza is good, and we can bike there? Note to Local Lamorinda Folks: check out Mangia in Lafayette.
But lately we have been trying a different strategy. We packed up a bag of toys, and this bag is only opened at restaurants. It is full of fabulous toys like:
Ok, maybe these toys aren’t fabulous. But they are great because they have a bit of a novelty factor if the kids don’t normally play with them. They are also great for independent play at the table so Mom and Dad can chat or read the menu. They are also interactive if Mom and Dad want to play.
I have seen similar bags labeled as “busy bags” on other blogs and Pinterest if you want to see what other folks are up to. But these have been great for us, since we don’t want to resort to calling in our order in advance, or ordering as soon as we sit down — which are two tried and true strategies. We want to linger for a bit and chat and enjoy the ambiance.