dining out with special needs children

Family gatherings and celebrations are fun, but they can be a challenge for our sensory kids. They often involve new places, new foods, and lots of noise. So how do we handle these seasons of celebration with our special kids?

1. Use a calendar.

One thing we always recommend is that families mark these special events on calendars. That way the kids can keep track of that event coming in the future. Sometimes just being prepared for that transition will prevent any problems with that transition! 

2. Check out the venue beforehand.

Another idea is to show kids where you’re going on a website or with pictures. If you’re going out to a restaurant, you can even visit the restaurant with the child beforehand. And go when it’s fairly busy, so you both get an idea of what your child’s reaction will be to any loud sounds and lots of confusion. Many of our families have found it effective to take headphones or earplugs, to help with the noise. 

3. Be prepared with activities.

Plan to bring activities for the kids to do during the meal. We recommend that parents carry a bag of tricks on outings. Bring activities that you know they’ll like, things like coloring pages, or special toys, or whatever captures your child’s interest.

4. Bring food.

You might bring special food items to supplement the meal with because often times our kids will not eat what the restaurant serves. Also, if your child is on a special diet, always check to see if the restaurant can accommodate that. It’s better to have a wonderful meal by bringing a few items from home and adding a few from the restaurant than to have that event be your child’s first experience with new foods. 

Hopefully, these tips will help your family celebrations flow smoothly and happily! Where do you and your kiddos love to eat?

Sharing is caring!