A friend of mine referred to my laid back parenting style as, "hippy." I guess in some ways I am pretty laid back about parenting. Let me give you the context. We were eating at a restaurant on the patio. No one else was eating on the patio, but our group. My 21 month old daughter refuses to sit in a high chair very long anymore, so we don't even bother. She sits in a chair now. My husband and I let her get down and climb and run around as long as she is not bothering anyone. I have been out with friends who spend their whole meal fighting with their kid to sit down and be quiet. What is the point of even going out if you are going to make it miserable for your child the entire meal? My daughter let us sit and talk for over an hour in the beautiful sunshine and she was completely happy. So here are my tips for a successful sit down meal with a toddler.
1. Go to a loud restaurant. My daughter is a loud talker, so if the restaurant is louder then her no one will mind her lack of volume control. Also if your toddler does decide to have a melt-down in the middle of dinner no one will be able to hear.
2. Get one of those large corner booths if possible. I let my daughter run around on them and it keeps her entertained for awhile.
3. Always bring back-up. My daughter loves to look at books and she loves to color. Make sure if it is gonna be a long dinner that you have entertainment for your child. I also keep one of those mini-Magna Doodles in her diaper bag. Those things are amazing.
I look at my "hippiness" as a positive thing. I am not a hippy about everything, but there are some things a mom should just not have to stress about. Going out to eat every once in awhile should be fun for all (including your child).