So, this post is close to my heart. My girls go with me to Starbucks several times a week. I plan all my meetings there, and I love it! More importantly, though, my girls love it. I’ve figured out how to keep them occupied and it’s made my life so much easier. Scroll down for suggestions on how to keep your kids occupied in a not-so-kid-friendly place.
First thing’s first. When you tell your kids you’re going to Starbucks (or wherever you like to go), make it exciting for them. Tell them in a tone of voice that encourages them to have a hyper and even giddy attitude. Occasionally, buy them some sort of a treat. It’s a positive reinforcement and they’ll associate Starbucks with something they like. I don’t get treats for Marlowe every time (Fletcher’s too young for treats); sometimes I’ll pack treats for her to eat and I will just get her a drink of water in a “fancy Starbucks cup”. She loves it, either way.
Toys are absolutely necessary if you’re going to a coffee shop. Like you need telling, right? Moms know this. Yet, how often do I forget to pack toys in my hurry to get out the door and get my Starbucks Refresher? My solution: keep a bag of toys in the car for occasions like this. Don’t ever take it out of the car.
Last year, I bought this DVD player from [Amazon.com], and it has been a life saver. It runs off batteries when it’s not plugged in and it lasts for hours. Side note: I also bought a strap to attach it to the back of the car headrest, and Marlowe watches movies on our 25-hour-long road trips to visit family. It keeps her occupied and it makes my life easier.
Finally, if your kids are like mine, and everyone else’s, they love attention from their parents. When I’m meeting with friends or whomever at Starbucks, Marlowe loves to interrupt us on a regular basis. It’s inevitable, and most of the time the other person is understanding! To keep the interruptions from becoming full-blown temper tantrums, briefly excuse yourself from the conversation, and give your kid(s) the attention they so desire. Smile at them, laugh at whatever they’re trying to tell you, and encourage them to keep being “wonderful” or “good”. SMILE is the key word. It reinforces their positive attitude and let’s be honest. Nobody likes a parent who talks to their kid in a loud, angry voice in public if it’s not necessary. *On the other hand, if your kid is super upset and misbehaving, feel free to talk to them as sternly as you need to. My trick is to ask Marlowe if she “needs to go to the bathroom”, and then discipline her in there without worrying about making noise.*
So, in summary: bring treats (make sure they’re things to eat that are out of the ordinary, so they’re actually treat-treats), keep a bag of toys in the car for special occasions such as this, bring a portable DVD player, and don’t forget to pay your kid(s) attention when they begin to get restless.
Hope this helps!