How to keep kids busy at a restaurant: Mom tips

Back in my pre-kid days, I had grand visions of taking my children out to eat in restaurants. I imagined them sitting properly in high chairs, ordering their meals with a “please” and “thank you,” trying new foods and making only a minimal mess—with no screen time, of course. Oh, did I have it coming.

But my imagination doesn’t have to be all wrong. Now that I have two kids—who happen to be picky eaters, BTW, and won’t eat unless they are being read to—I have learned some tricks on how to keep kids busy at a restaurant.

7 tips on how to keep your kids busy at a restaurant - tried + true tips from a mom of picky eaters! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

That doesn’t mean we eat out often, and it doesn’t mean my kids are always model citizens at a restaurant. But it does mean I’m not crushed by anxiety at the thought of my kids throwing french fries. It does mean I get to eat my meal when we go to a restaurant as a family. (Or at least most of it.) And it even means I was brave enough to take my kids to a sushi restaurant—and that my picky eaters actually tried sashimi! (The tempura helped.)

It’s not magic, and it’s not rocket science. Here’s how to keep kids busy at a restaurant. Read more

Sushi with kids: How to get picky eaters to try sushi

You CAN go to sushi with kids, even picky eaters. Here's how! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

When my mother-in-law was visiting recently, I wanted to take her out to dinner as a thank you for watching Kiwi and Peeper while I worked. She loves sushi but lives in semi-rural Michigan—not exactly a mecca for delicious combos of rice, nori and raw fish. So I suggested we go out to a local sushi restaurant with the kids—something I was semi-terrified to do, considering they are picky eaters.

I am actually shocked at how well sushi with kids went! The girls ate (a bit), and my mother-in-law ate a lot. (“You don’t like roe? More for me!”)

If you’re feeling brave, I have some advice, dear parent of fussy eaters. Here are my suggestions on how to get picky eaters to try sushi!

Even picky eaters can eat sushi! How to get fussy eaters to try anything. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
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Rainy day things to do in Portland with kids

The other day, as my kids were scream-fighting over a bouncy ball and I was hiding behind the kitchen island/taking a lie-down on the floor, I realized I had not been beyond a one-block radius of my house in seven days. Here I was, getting a very close-up view of all the crumbs along the baseboards, because I hadn’t done anything outside the home in a week. I know I’m not the only rainy day stir-crazy mom out there, so for all y’all desperate parents, I thought I’d put together a resource list of indoor kids activities in Portland, Oregon and the Portland metro area.

Many of these places we have tried; others I can’t wait to visit. And there are indoor kids activities in this overflowing-with-fun list for just about every flavor: activities for toddlers, preschoolers, big kids—and even parents who may or may not want a mimosa on a weekday. (Hey-o!)

Arts studios that will clean up mashed clay for you? Check.

Restaurants that include play places (and aren’t McDonald’s)? Check.

Gyms that encourage your kids to literally climb the walls? Check.

These indoor kids activities in Portland equal your sanity-saving plan for all the rainy, snowy, sleety weather we still have to endure. Winter, eat your heart out, ’cause this family is now prepared with plenty of indoor family activities that don’t include lying facedown on the floor.

55 of the best ideas of indoor kids activities in Portland, Oregon, including restaurants, museums, play gyms, arts and crafts studios and more! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

For the love of Mexican music

Peeper has found a new passion.

We were out to dinner in Seattle (at Mama’s in Belltown) this week, and Peeper was teetering on the edge of Meltdown Canyon. She had been going to sleep much later and skipping naps altogether in our few days out of town, and I was beginning to think that a sit-down dinner in a restaurant was simply asking too much. But we’d already ordered, so we made a go of it.

That’s when the music started.

Toddler Mexican ballad music
The musicians even let Peeper strum the guitar; this is her clapping and strumming along.

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Nurse-in shows support for breastfeeding mamas

Over the weekend a group of moms held a “nurse-in” at a restaurant outside Portland. An employee there had recently asked a nursing mom to cover up, despite it being completely within her rights (not to mention the baby’s) to breastfeed basically anywhere in public.

In response, dozens of moms showed up to, you know, provide their children vital sustenance (gasp).

I love how these mothers, many of whom didn’t even know the original woman who was asked to put her boob away, used the frustrating moment as a way to raise awareness and rally support. It is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, after all!

I was in Eugene over the weekend, but I did end up breastfeeding at a different restaurant—not as part of the protest but because Peeper was hungry.

I don’t use a cover-up (or, as one company that thought it was a good marketing strategy to compare lactating women with cows calls them, Udder Covers). Even if I wanted to, Peeper would never stand it. And really, breastfeeding shows a lot less boob than, say, wearing a bikini. Read more