Sophie Pickles

Early Years Child Development Specialist

As a qualified teacher, mum, parenting coach and all-round Early Years expert, Sophie has a wealth of practical, real life experience to share with parents.

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Dr. Stephanie Ooi

General Practitioner

As a mum of two and a registered GP, Stephanie has seen more than her fair share of little ones! She has lots of practical tips and professional know-how on hand to help parents.

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Laura Matthews

Nutritionist

Laura is our nutrition whizz – bringing her expert advice and experience from working with chefs, schools and nurseries to the Kiddylicious expert panel.

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Finding great places to eat

Sophie:

Scoping out places that do great options for lunches can relieve stress because then you don’t have to think about taking lots of things with you for your child’s lunch. Sometimes it’s nice to get them lunch out and not have to worry about packing before you go.

Laura:

You want to live the dream and go out to restaurants – so you need to try to pre-empt what’s on the menu. If you’re going to a bigger chain restaurant, looking at the online menu in advance is good and you can plan what you might need to take with you to accompany what you’re going to order for them.

Sophie:

It’s also good to know about places that have good allergy-free menus, dairy free options and so on.

Laura:

It’s good for parents to appreciate that that happens to all of us. It’s not just you! When it’s your first born, it can come as a shock.

Stephanie:

Make use of local Facebook groups who can help you out with advice, as mums are always a fount of knowledge. They have that lived experience that we all go through and this can make things a little bit easier for you.

Sophie:

Ask on local groups and look out for answers on things like space for pushchairs, play areas and toys for the kids.

Changing your baby when out

Sophie:

The other challenge with eating out can be the toilets and the changing facilities. It’s worth touching on but they can be quite scary places for babies, especially if they are quite noise sensitive. That will often set a baby off. The noise in a busy restaurant is like white noise but the loo has terrible acoustics and the hand dryers are scary.

Having a foldable changing mat in your bag is a good idea because you don’t have to put them directly on the floor, if there aren’t appropriate changing facilities.

Laura:

It’s another thing to scout out.

Stephanie:

Most chain restaurants that have kids’ menus will generally have changing facilities, won’t they?

Ordering tips

Laura:

It’s great if they provide little things like having kids’ cutlery available. I also try to take a toy that my son hasn’t seen for ages to distract him for a little while. When we get there, the first thing we’ll do is order some food for him so he’s not waiting for long.

Sophie:

You can always ask for the child’s food to be brought out first and often cafes will do that. You can also take a little something with you because you don’t know how long the food will take. Having something like blueberries is awesome to tide them over.

Stephanie:

Pre-kids, you think, “I’m hungry, we can go and go find a restaurant.” With kids, when they decide they’re hungry, there’s no patience involved! So if you think they’ll want lunch at 11.30 or 12, try to get to a restaurant or cafe a little bit earlier to factor in things like waiting to be seated. Although the good thing about having kids is that generally they want to eat quite early, so the restaurant’s empty!

Sophie:

Yes, don’t wait until they’re hungry!

Stephanie:

Also, when it comes to ordering a hot meal, you need to wait for it to cool down again. You think I would learn but the number of times where we’ve ordered and it arrives hot and they get stressed out!

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