Are your children restless, loud and busy when you go to restaurants? As soon as you sit down to order, everyone wants to tour the restaurant (i.e. sudden urgent urge go to the bathroom)? When you are selecting a place for family dinner, are the top 3 choices buffets to avoid wait time? It’s a fact, children don’t like to wait. If going to a restaurant that will require waiting, you must have plan to entertain your children.
Frequently parents allow their children to play on smart phones or other electronic devices at restaurants or during wait times. Electronic devices are isolating and usually only one person plays with little to no interaction with the family. Why not make wait time family time?
How to Keep your Children Entertained at Restaurants
Have a Busy Bag
A busy bag is a great idea to keep with you in your car for any time you will have to wait with children such as restaurants, doctor’s appointments, and even meetings (or church if your children are small). A busy bag includes quiet projects your child can do like one or two coloring books, a few crayons in a pencil bag, one or two favorite books to read, and drawing paper. You may include other items that would also be helpful for your child.
You can make your own busy bag (here are some ideas on how to make your own busy bag). Be sure to include favorite activities your child enjoys (i.e. if your child hates to color I would not include crayons and a coloring book in your busy bag). When my son was young, I would allow him small toys like action figures so he could create an adventure for them.
A busy bag will give you and your children activities you can do together and it will give busy hands something fun to do.
Play a Game of I Spy
Children love to play I Spy. You can play I Spy anywhere and older and younger children can be included because everyone is just guessing based on the item description or color. Everyone in the family can play I Spy and it does not require any advance preparation.
Play Card Games or Travel Games
If your children are older, you can play card games or travel size games. Cards games like Uno and Old Maid are easy to keep in your car or purse so you always an activity ready. Child love to play these games and they pass the waiting time quickly. You could keep a few special games in the car just for restaurants to make them more special.
Enjoying a lunch or dinner with your children does not have to be difficult, but most of the time it requires planning ahead (which I usually forget to do). These simple ideas – a busy bag, I Spy Game, and Card/table games can be prepared in advance and stored in your car for when you need them. Next time, dinner with you and your family will be more relaxed and fun.
What do you do at restaurants to keep your children busy during the wait times?