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3 year old stealing food?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

How to do you keep a 3 year old from stealing yogurt from the fridge ,

I have a lock on the fridge but he has learned how to unlock it.

He can run, unlock and consume half a yogurt before i can catch him.

We do regular snacks.

So i dont think hes hungry.

And most times he just wastes it, he doesn't eat it all, and sometimes just opens it and makes a mess.

I am at loss to how to keep him from taking and without asking. 


post #2 of 7

We had fridge locks at one point.  My first daughter would open the refrigerator and just sit in it.  We put the lock on the top of the fridge, so she couldn't reach it.  We had a different kind of fridge with our second child, so we had to use some sort of clamp or vise thing that my husband picked up at a hardware store.


I remember my sister's kids would do something similar, they just liked to get into the fridge to open stuff and spread it around on the floor. My thoughts at this age are to keep some snacks he can have in reach.  I used to keep things in muffin tins on the table, because they might not eat very much, but would come back at various times for another bite.  That's if you don't mind grazing, which I didn't.  Neither one of my children is a grazer now.


I had cabinet locks on my cabinets, but I kept a few unlocked with plastic bowls and such, so she had something she could get into that wasn't too messy. I don't really have a lot of suggestions if you can't keep him from opening the refrigerator.  Maybe hiding the yogurt on the top in the back, so at least that is one messy thing he isn't getting into.

post #3 of 7

How about putting the yoghurt in a box with a hard to pry off lid? Ikea has these white ones, with red lids, that can be really though even for me to open at times if shut properly. Plus, if the box is on the large side, it might be a bit cumbersome for small hands, meaning he can't run away as easily with the yoghurt.

post #4 of 7

how about just letting him have the yogurt? maybe his body is craving the fat

post #5 of 7

I would say you need to look into montessori style homes where kids are allowed access to just about everything which takes away the "mystery" and excitement of it all.  I have never heard nor would I ever dream of locking my fridge.  I have ZERO traditaional "childproofing" in my home - no cabinet locks, no door knob covers, no outlet covers....I supervise DD and have from day one focused on encouraging her to explore the world around her.  Sure she wants to open the fridge, she can't just yet at 17 mos but is close and when I open it for her I've got a bottom shelf designeated to her snacks that she's more than welcome to at any time.  She helps herself to crackers and cereal from the cabinet and leaves the pots and pans alone bc she knows we get to play with those when we are cooking.  By makig things off limits you just make the temptation that much greater.

post #6 of 7
Is not buying yogurts an option?
Whenever my 3-year-old can't seem to handle a certain snack without making a mess/being wasteful then I reconsider the snack. (most yogurt is high sugar, there are probably better snack options you could choose to buy).

Could you repackage them into a size that's less wasteful? Example - split one into two small Tupperware containers. If he only has access to that size he's less likely to make a mess or be wasteful.

You could buy flavors he doesn't like and let him go to town. He'll eventually lose interest. Later (month or two) you could reintroduce the kind he likes. By then he will probably have changed his habits.

You could change to plain yogurt and add mix-ins separately. That way he'll probably learn he needs your help to make it taste good so he won't do it on his own.

Instead of a lock on the fridge you could put an alarm so it makes a noise and alerts you. It may also act as a deterrent depending on the sound and the child.

You could just let him be. Encourage him to clean up and make it easy for him to clean up by having paper towels at his level, etc.
post #7 of 7

If you're sure it's not a hunger thing, maybe you could try offering more messy play time? Finger painting, mud pies... things like that.

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