Dining out at a restaurant is an enjoyable and relaxing outing for families. After all, what parent doesn’t like a night off from cooking and doing dishes? But for many parents raising kids on the autism spectrum, eating out can be an extremely challenging experience. Families must cope with stressful tantrums, picky eating, difficulties sitting still and waiting, and uncomfortable stares from other diners.
However, there are some simple tips that parents can employ to make the experience successful—and even enjoyable for the entire family. The key to a successful outing is patience, forethought, and preparation.
5 TIPS FOR EATING OUT WITH YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS KID
1.-Visit Local Places: Start by visiting restaurants or places that are a short distance from home. Something familiar within a walking distance can be suitable; a close coffee shop or even a fast food place, consider places without playing spaces because that can be overwhelming too.
2.-Keep It Small: Don`t dine out at a 15 people party table. Limit it to yourself and your partner in case you need assistance with your child. You want to be able to enjoy your child and keep your focus on him.
3.- Timing Is Everything: If you are going to a kid-friendly place, never go during peak time hours, as it will be extremely loud and crowded. Consider having a late lunch around 2 pm or an early dinner at 4:30, so you can have the time to eat without the rush of having other tables next to you. If the restaurant accepts reservations, consider a table that is close to the bathroom and away from the crowdest spots.
4.-Prepare: Take the time to prepare and take with you all the items that can make your stay more convenient. Pack a few books or toys that can help your child relax and be comfortable while waiting for the food. If your child is under potty training take a couple diapers with you and even another pair of pants just to make sure that if an accident happens you will be prepared and safe.
5.- Leave On Time: If your child is getting overwhelmed or the place is getting crowded order the food to go and finish it a home, it’s better to leave on time than to wait until both finished eating and a tantrum can occur. Or take him out to the parking lot for him to distract and get back to eat once he is feeling better.
Remember, even if it takes a few minutes more is always better to eat in peace with a happy child.
At World Stem Cell Clinic, we believe that that having an informed parent –in an effort to empower him and his family– is the only way to for us to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more about our services and let us be part of your journey. You are not alone!