Home » How to dine out with a toddler with ADHD

How to dine out with a toddler with ADHD

                            Wild Willy’s Burgers Maine

With Mother’s Day week in full force I wanted to sit down and think about my one and only. Last Summer he was diagnosed with Adhd.  I thought oh my and how can I make it better for him.?

Let me just say there are times I would rather stay home but other times it is nice to get out. My husband and I are lucky to get out alone so we normally do family dates. Somehow, it was easier when he was two. Now that he’s yearning towards four this June it can be a little more difficult. He still either needs to nap or go to bed early.

If doesn’t get a nap then it can be hard and his hyperness may be unpredicatble. His hyperness sometimes can get the best of him. Knowing how to handle it ahead of time can be the easiest way to attack it.

When dining out, it can be a little different.

You definitely need to have the patience on both ends. A few tips to go by:

  1.  I always call ahead of time to see what the wait will be before we even go to a restaurant. If it’s a 15 minute wait then it’s perfect. If it’s normally more than a 15 minute wait either we will wait in the car or choose a different restaurant. Like a morning brunch or prime time dinner.
  2. Going to a child friendly restaurant. Uno’s Pizzeria offers to give children pizza dough to play with while waiting for their order. My son always needs something to preoccupy his time or his hyperness will take over. Other places are nice enough to put in the order with appetizers so they can eat sooner.
  3. Bring a tablet or book. With technology today some restaurants are starting to offer tablets. Normally you have to pay to use the apps. If you bring your own tablet or Ipad you can always use free wifi most of the time. Using the tablet definitely helps my son distract his time. Also bringing our own coloring book and crayons works too. He tends to break the restaurant owned ones really quick.
  4. Take a walk. After we sit down, if it’s a long wait for our food I’ll take him for a mini walk. Sometimes we’ll even go outside and enjoy the weather if it’s nice out.
  5. Staying in a less compacted place in the restaurant works best. A normally doesn’t do well with huge overcrowding. He gets over stimulated and effects him tremendously.

Does your child suffer from hyperactivity? What do you do to help your toddlers dining experience?


  1. babiestobookworms
    May 10, 2017 / 12:59 PM

    These are great tips! I try to always have some sort of activity book in my bag for my daughter when we go out to eat. It really helps!

  2. May 10, 2017 / 1:29 PM

    I needed to read these tips so bad. I have a much younger sister who has ADHD. She has become extremely hard to parent recently. My mother has reached out asking if I can step in to help, as myself and my brother Where much easier children and my mother has been struggling with what to do to get through to her. I’ve been doing as much research as I can to help figure out what works best for ADHD children. Thanks for sharing these tips. I’m going to try these to see if they help us!

    • Jalisa
      May 11, 2017 / 7:49 PM

      I can totally relate. My son is three so sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s him being three or it’s his ADHD. It’s so hard at times I just don’t know what to do but I just breathe. It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one.

  3. May 10, 2017 / 1:37 PM

    Places that have activity place mats (not just coloring, but crosswords, word searches, and stickers) are fabulous for our 10-year-old with ADHD, inattentive type. If there’s a TV, we usually sit her so she can watch it which is an added bonus because that gives me and my husband a chance to talk. I’ve found that limiting options (you can have the chicken fingers or the mini burgers) rather than letting them decide from the whole menu prevents a lot of stress. And telling her what to expect ahead of time (we’re not getting dessert, you can have a soda or juice, etc…) helps a lot too.

    • Jalisa
      May 11, 2017 / 7:46 PM

      Those are great tips

  4. May 10, 2017 / 3:42 PM

    Great tips for parents of any toddler 🙂 Never thought to call ahead – great tip. We always walk around with our child and have them sit when the food comes out.

    • Jalisa
      May 11, 2017 / 7:46 PM


  5. May 10, 2017 / 3:55 PM

    My little one is only a baby but this sounds like quite a practical list! I’ll be putting some of these to use in the future I’m sure.

  6. May 10, 2017 / 8:40 PM

    I think these are great tips for all toddlers. We love going out to eat but with two kids under two, it doesn’t happen often these days 😉

    • Jalisa
      May 11, 2017 / 7:45 PM

      I believe it.

  7. May 10, 2017 / 8:42 PM

    Great tips! 2 of my kids have ADHD, and we have always struggled in restaurants. If we go out, we usually go really early (like 5 p.m.) to avoid waiting for a table.

    • Jalisa
      May 11, 2017 / 7:45 PM

      Haha yes or before brunch starts. My in laws never avoid it and want to go at 12 when it’s super busy.

  8. May 10, 2017 / 8:53 PM

    These are great ideas for any child! Very smart to call ahead or try to plan activities for the wait. Plus, that little guy is SO adorable!!

  9. Meredith from Mommy in Leggings
    May 11, 2017 / 1:32 PM

    I agree with every
    one else!! Great tips for EVERY kiddo!!! Great post!!

  10. May 11, 2017 / 3:00 PM

    I love your tips! With 5 kiddos it can feel like your bringing the circus anywhere you go. Habing things to keep them busy is my number one go to!

    • Jalisa
      May 11, 2017 / 5:13 PM

      I couldn’t imagine five haha. But yet a few years ago I couldn’t even see myself with one.

  11. May 11, 2017 / 9:49 PM

    I love these tips! My oldest hasn’t been officially diagnosed, but the husband and I both feel she is. We follow most of these. I’m so happy that you’re sharing tips!

    • Jalisa
      May 26, 2017 / 1:29 PM

      Thank you so much for reading. It can be hectic and sometimes I feel powerless but I make it work.

  12. May 22, 2017 / 2:27 PM

    If i didn’t have the cutest little boy in the world, I’d swear You did! He’s adorable and great article!

    • Jalisa
      May 26, 2017 / 9:49 AM

      Lol. Why thank you.

  13. homeboundbuthopeful
    June 6, 2017 / 1:15 PM

    Great tips- I think a lot of them apply to every kid at some point or another… They all get energetic, hangry, or impatient at a restaurant at some point!

  14. Annie
    March 7, 2018 / 3:40 PM

    These are great tips! And we LOVE UNOs for having pizza dough to play with!! It’s such a life saver. (Although the germaphobe in me thinks it’s kind of gross to have them eat what they’ve been using as glorified playdoh for a half an hour…but the fact that it keeps the kids entertained is PRICELESS.)

    • Jalisa
      March 7, 2018 / 5:09 PM

      😂😂😂 I’m with you on that. My son loves it but never got the concept on eating it. Lol

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