More toddler-in-restaurant tricks
We've all got tricks for keeping our little kids entertained in restaurants. These are Sandy's:
We carry a mesh storage bag full of a couple 3-inch books, a little car, play-doh, a couple crayons, a few seashells (that my son picked himself at the beach) and few marbles. We make little "cups" with the play-doh for the marbles and sea shells so he can play with them - he loves to watch little shapes we make and loves to hold them without crumpling the "cups". Or we grab a piece of paper or even a napkin with the crayons if he feels like artwork. Or draw "tracks" on the paper or make them with the play-doh for the car. Or give him one of the books. Keeps him busy at the table.
At 18 months, if none of these work, the countdown always works. We have noticed that holding our hand up as we countdown from 5 to 0 always works as my son watches time "go away" until it is "all done". And he is ready to settle back down or "take it outside."
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