Makan Nation

5 Useful Tools in Every Parents’ Arsenal for Dining Out

Published on 11 Aug, 21 by Sheena
Featured Photo by Arren Mills on Unsplash

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: a lot of parenting is a marathon, and one of the most useful skills a parent can learn is pacing ourselves so that we don’t flame out in the middle of the race. But while such skills are useful to learn doesn’t mean that having the right kinds of tools won’t help make things easier. Sometimes, the things you bring along with your kids, especially to dining out, can mean the difference between being able to last for hours, or being exhausted just after 45 minutes.

The Stroller

Even when your kids are able to walk and run by yourself, never underestimate the utility of strollers. While your kids may seem like they’re an endless fount of energy that could literally go to the ends of earth (with you chasing them almost all the way), they have their limits, and may not have the experience to know when they’re about to hit those limits. And when that happens, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little place where your kids can sit down, and maybe even nap?

Done well, strollers can serve as a central point for parents in their outings. With the right kind of accessories and hacks, you can place many things, including your shopping and essentials, into the stroller.

Baby and Child Carriers

Babies need physical contact. While carrying an infant of under 4kg for 20 minutes is well within the ability of an abled adult of average strength, 1) you never carry a baby for more than 20 minutes, are you kidding? and 2) they don’t stay 4 kg for very long and you know it.

As someone who's had to carry a toddler through a multi-hour walking trip... believe me, by the end of that trip you'll be thanking your baby carrier. If you won't, your knees, ankles, back, calves, and arms will. Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

So while having a stroller can be useful for offloading that pressure of your shoulders and back, one major disadvantage is that, well, you can’t have your hands free while they’re in it. And that’s where baby and child carriers, which allow you to put your child on and use your core muscles to support the weight of your child, are so useful.

Want to know more? Check out this introduction to ergonomic baby-wearing here.

Wet Wipes

You know it, I know it. Babies are born messy, and stay messy well into childhood (I think my parents would argue that I remained messy well into adulthood, and I… kind of agree with them). But the kind of messes kids and babies make aren’t just the “pick up your clothes” kind of mess, but, you know… sticky ones. You could say that you could be lucky if the mess was food-related, but you know and I know that’s not true.

I wanted to make a joke about how you better hope some of that brown better be from the cake, but you all know at this age it isn't the brown stains that are the worry, it's the yellow ones. Yeah. Yep. Photo by from Pexels

Which is why wet-wipes can be such a blessing to have, long after your kids are potty trained. They don’t have to be anti-bacterial (though in this day and age, maybe look for something anti-microbial instead, since you want to target viruses as well), although that can help. And honestly, the best thing about them is that you can and should use them outside of child-care settings. This piece of advice, of course, is directed towards dudes, because I know there are plenty of women who know this advice, and are rolling their eyes at me.

Carrier Bags

Two kinds of dudes: the ones who go “hur hur hur man bag” and the other one who is secretly jealous of that gorgeous leather number and all of those darned compartments… Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

Speaking of advice that women know that men figure out after they have kids… hey, you know those things that you sometimes call, disparagingly, “man-purses”? Listen. Listen. They’re really useful. Many women use purses and carry-bags because, well, the history of women’s clothes and pockets is sexist as hell, but guys… there’s only so much our massive pockets can hold. And I’ve had people make fun of my carrier bags (one co-worker literally sang the Doraemon theme song when I took out something out of my bag) but you know what? You can laugh back when they’re soaking wet from a thunderstorm and you’ve got an umbrella that you’ve packed into your bag.

Water Bottles

Please. The planet's on fire, so the least you could do is drink some water. Photo by Alex Azabache from Pexels

Okay, sure, you could buy a bottle from the nearest convenience store, but then you’re stuck with a single-use plastic thing, and what are you, a Captain Planet villain? But seriously, sometimes there isn’t a place for you to get a bottle of water, and then what? And as it is, there are a surprising number of places that allow you to refill water for free, so why not take advantage of that? What, you don’t like free? What kind of Asian are you?

Agree with our list? Think we’ve missed something? Let us know in the comments.

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