Placemats, plates, or bare table for eating out? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What do you bring for your toddler when you go out to eat? We started out with a silicone place mat (Tiny Diner) until DD started ripping the suction cups up off the table and peeling the mat off. For a vacation we bought some biodegradable adhesive mats, and we've kept using them since the pack hasn't run out.

Do you use plates? I'm thinking she would just throw it off the table. But I'm not really into the bare table idea. I'm okay with some germs, but some places are very sticky and dirty.

What do you use?


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#2 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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We used a Tiny Diner as well, but I rarely remember to bring it out with us anymore. We just give her a plate, and when she's done eating we take it out of her reach and give her other things to play with. Putting food on the bare table would totally squick me out, but maybe if I was able to wipe it down myself it would be an option.

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#3 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 12:38 PM
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we've done plates since day one, but we also do at home. it was more of an issue when she was younger. it's not like at 18 months she's throwing dishware around (at least not when we're sitting together:) )


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#4 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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I've always just done plates but we do plates at home as well so that's normal for ds.


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#5 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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We don't bring anything special when we go out.  We use regular dishes and plates at home.  We'll ask for a small side plate or bowl to share our meals with dd, but that's about it.   She's never been a thrower though, and in two+ years she's never tossed a plate or bowl or cup from the table (we use regular breakable dishware and cups at home too).  I think it depends on the kid.  If our next child is a tosser, we'd likely reconsider our strategy. 


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#6 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 10:46 PM
 
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When my kids were very young and we ate out, they would sit on my lap at the table. When they got older (over 2), sometimes they would have a booster seat. 

 

They never threw anything, but usually DH or I fed them out of our bowsl or one that we controlled, until they were around 3. 

 

My desire for hygiene was (and is) the same for my kids as it is for me. If a restaurant table is too filthy for my kid, it's too filthy for me and I would not eat there.

 

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#7 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 06:25 AM
 
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We do plates as well. It only becomes an issue when she is done eating and then we just take it away.

If no plates we have used napkins

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#8 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 06:30 AM
 
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DS is a thrower... We've lost a bunch of our plates to his tossing before I finally bought some unbreakable (stainless steel) ones... He is usually much better 'behaved' in a restaurant but he has still broken a plate or two while we're out...

That being said, it never even crossed my mind to bring anything for him... We don't eat out all that often and usually we go to very casual (cheap!) restaurants... so we'll often put DS's food in the little plastic cups that condiments come in, or a napkin, or on a plastic cup lid, something like that... He wasn't eating all that much so that usually did the trick... but now he is eating a little more so we are just using the small glass plates they usually serve appetizers on. It helps if we get a booth and put him on the inside (rather than the highchair-at-the-end-of-the-table thing, which he hates anyway!) because then we (or the wall or the booth bench) can 'catch' anything he throws. Also helps if we only put a few bites on his plate at a time, and make sure his whole space is free of mess & clutter, so he's not compelled to 'clean up' by throwing...

If your DD is a pretty good eater, she probably won't throw the plate because she'll want to eat the food... so you might give it a shot... I notice when DS is not hungry (which is a ton of the time lol), that's when he's more likely to throw, and as he gets better at eating, he throws less... but they have to learn sometime... what do you do at home??

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#9 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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I used to wipe the table down with wipes before feeding DS, and would just put it on the bare table. Now that he's 2, I don't worry about him throwing the plate off the table. He used to do that, but it was when he was much younger. The thought just never crosses my mind anymore. I'm also not that worried about germs though. :)


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#10 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skreader View Post

My desire for hygiene was (and is) the same for my kids as it is for me. If a restaurant table is too filthy for my kid, it's too filthy for me and I would not eat there.

 


Yes, that sounds nice. But I, as an adult, tend not to eat directly off the table, which has most likely been wiped with a not-so-clean dish rag. My kid, however, will move her food around, off a plate or placemat, let it fall in the highchair, onto the booth, pick it back up, etc. So that's why I was wondering. I'd prefer her to eat directly off her placemat or plate, but that doesn't always happen. So, the "standards" here are not really the same. I keep my food on the plate. orngtongue.gif
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

DS is a thrower... We've lost a bunch of our plates to his tossing before I finally bought some unbreakable (stainless steel) ones... He is usually much better 'behaved' in a restaurant but he has still broken a plate or two while we're out...

That being said, it never even crossed my mind to bring anything for him... We don't eat out all that often and usually we go to very casual (cheap!) restaurants... so we'll often put DS's food in the little plastic cups that condiments come in, or a napkin, or on a plastic cup lid, something like that... He wasn't eating all that much so that usually did the trick... but now he is eating a little more so we are just using the small glass plates they usually serve appetizers on. It helps if we get a booth and put him on the inside (rather than the highchair-at-the-end-of-the-table thing, which he hates anyway!) because then we (or the wall or the booth bench) can 'catch' anything he throws. Also helps if we only put a few bites on his plate at a time, and make sure his whole space is free of mess & clutter, so he's not compelled to 'clean up' by throwing...

If your DD is a pretty good eater, she probably won't throw the plate because she'll want to eat the food... so you might give it a shot... I notice when DS is not hungry (which is a ton of the time lol), that's when he's more likely to throw, and as he gets better at eating, he throws less... but they have to learn sometime... what do you do at home??

At home she sits in a Fisher Price booster seat with a tray attached and she eats off the tray. Sometimes she gets a little bowl, but she likes to dump, pour, spread sauce, etc. So things don't stay put. When we eat out, we've been using those biodegradable plastic mats. But I noticed the package said 6+ months and I was thinking...hmm...maybe my 21 month old needs to use a plate? LOL eyesroll.giforngbiggrin.gifeat.gif I wonder about her moving everything from the plate onto the table just to play. I guess I could wipe the table with a wet wipe first. Maybe I am overthinking. I worry more about germs now since she stopped nursing since I was ~22 weeks PG.

She's not a very good independent eater, home or out. It's a lot of work. She likes food, but often I have to put it in her mouth because she's so busy. I wonder if I am doing something wrong, or if it's just her way.



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#11 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 12:19 PM
 
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Yeah I think some kids just aren't all that into food. My DS certainly isn't. He has gotten much better with being neat over the past couple months though (he turned 2 last month). His messes now are less about playing and more about normal toddler clumsiness, which I guess is progress.

I would try a plate. You could try something like the lid of a tupperware container (or a paper plate), if you're not ready to try glass & don't want to buy something else until you see how she does. She might surprise you.

I guess I wouldn't worry much about the germs, more the mess factor, but you could keep using the placemats underneath for a while to keep her space germ-free until she masters the plate thing. Doesn't have to be black & white/this or that, you can use both!

Oh they also sell plates and bowls that suction onto the table. IKEA has one actually (it's a green frog)... I don't know if she'd still be able to spill it though.

But at some point you will have to deal with messes, germs, etc. as she learns, so you might just be delaying the inevitable... (I'm totally doing this with potty-training, I keep putting it off hoping that he'll magically train with no accidents if I just wait 'til he's old enough lol.gif)

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#12 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Yeah I think some kids just aren't all that into food. My DS certainly isn't. He has gotten much better with being neat over the past couple months though (he turned 2 last month). His messes now are less about playing and more about normal toddler clumsiness, which I guess is progress.

I would try a plate. You could try something like the lid of a tupperware container (or a paper plate), if you're not ready to try glass & don't want to buy something else until you see how she does. She might surprise you.

I guess I wouldn't worry much about the germs, more the mess factor, but you could keep using the placemats underneath for a while to keep her space germ-free until she masters the plate thing. Doesn't have to be black & white/this or that, you can use both!

Oh they also sell plates and bowls that suction onto the table. IKEA has one actually (it's a green frog)... I don't know if she'd still be able to spill it though.

But at some point you will have to deal with messes, germs, etc. as she learns, so you might just be delaying the inevitable... (I'm totally doing this with potty-training, I keep putting it off hoping that he'll magically train with no accidents if I just wait 'til he's old enough lol.gif)

We have a set of Sassy suction cups bowls. They = "Off. Off! OOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!" And then if I haven't removed the bowl from the table, she yanks it herself. Strawberries all over the floor! :P lol.gif

Yeah, I think I will try a plate. SUCH debate over something as small as a plate! redface.gif We're definitely still in the eat/play stage.

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#13 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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I wipe the table with wipes & put the food directly on it. The few times we've eaten at places with tablecloths I put food on a plate and watch carefully! I think we'll be moving into plate & utensil territory over the next few months though.

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#14 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 06:57 PM
 
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I have a mini lysol spray in the diaper bag.  I spray the table and wipe down the table with a wipe.   Have tried other methods: The suction cup mat gets ripped off,  and as soon as my son is done with a food (sometimes before) the plate is tossed over board.  We have been practicing more with plates/bowls/utensils at home.  I have heard that using real plates can be more meaningful for toddlers.  The weight of real plates/cups can provide a feeling of responsibility and increased sensory input.  Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you guys!

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#15 of 16 Old 03-28-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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I have a small bottle of Purell in the diaper bag, that I dump on the table and rub until it evaporates.  Then, I let my 10-month-old thrower-of-plates just eat off the table.  Hopefully she'll throw less, soon... and then I'd like to use a plate like a "real person."  But for now, I sanitize.  And I hate the idea of sanitizing!  But for her, I do it.


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#16 of 16 Old 03-30-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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I got a tester of gravity here, so she eats off the bare table.  That way only the food is on the ground, not the tableware.


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