Last night we went out for a belated St. paddy’s day dinner. When we arrived out the restaurant we quickly realized our little guy wasn’t just hungry…he was hangry! Great, every parents’ worse nightmare, a hangry toddler in a restaurant who wants nothing to do with patiently waiting for his meal to arrive. Luckily, we’d been in this situation before and were well prepared.
The first thing we did was put in the order for his dinner, ‘kids pizza and fries,’ tonight was not a night to see if he wanted to try the broccoli side dish! Next, we gave him the crayons and coloring sheet from the restaurant, this went straight on the floor…ok, what next. I pulled out my phone and put on one of his games, he played for a minute or two but this clearly wasn’t going to cut it so, we did what every parent does and no one will admit to, we put Netflix on for him.
Well, this worked like a charm! It was kind of funny to watch him go from happily watching Paw Patrol to angrily yelling at each server that walked by not carrying his food. It wasn’t long until his dinner arrived, our awesome server had gotten his order in right away, and as soon as he started eating the hanger faded away and my normally happy toddler returned. The server even commented ‘wow, he sure was hangry, but he’s happy now!’ And I thought to myself, parents get so hard on themselves when their little one acts up in public, but it happens!
There really isn’t much you can do other than ride the storm and not start yelling and screaming at them which only ever makes things worse. Kiddos don’t understand that screaming and crying won’t get their food there any faster and all you can do is try and occupy them long enough for it to arrive. And, if you think about it when adults get hangry they tend to get rude and mean, I would rather have a slightly cranky toddler in my restaurant than a rude adult.
So, go early, bring activities (and an IPhone) and make sure to place their order ASAP and your evening out will go fine 😊 and remember the more often you take them, the more they get used to the restaurant experience.