or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Kids playing with and wasting food + Meal and snack scheduling discussion
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Kids playing with and wasting food + Meal and snack scheduling discussion - Page 2

post #21 of 432
Arrrrggghhhhh - I feel your frustration. My boys do the same sort of thing. They love to play with the food in the kitchen. They especially like making "soup" - mixing miscellaneous things together in a bowl with water (coffee, sugar, soap, etc.). It has nothing to do with being hungry. It's more akin to making mudpies indoors. It's messy, wasteful, and frustrating. They also act similarly in the bathroom, emptying entire bottles of shampoo, soap, and toothpaste or putting whole rolls of toilet paper in a sink filled with water.

I don't have the magic solution yet. But yesterday after finding yet another mess and roaring some terrible roars, I made my 5 year old clean up messes around the house for about 45 minutes (any sort of chore he was capable of - carrying trash bags to the trash can, putting clothes in the washer and dryer, picking up toys, putting dishes in the sink, scooping the cat litter box). Then when he made another mess today, I did the same thing. I plan to continue doing this everytime I discover yet another non-toy no-permission-given mess (I do often permit very messy activities upon request, plus they can almost always go outside to play in our yard).

Also, I don't have then in my kitchen (yet!) but I recently bought some alarms at Walmart - they were 4 for $5 - that go on doors - when the door is open either a chime or alarm can go off (or you can turn the switch to off). I hesitate to put them in the kitchen since the baby often sleeps nearby, but I did put them on a closet upstairs after finding the eleventy-billionth roll of wrapping paper destroyed.

Good luck and let's hope this is a very short phase our boys are going through.
post #22 of 432
I would find a way to lock up the cabinets while you work on exactly why they are doing this.

I think some of this is the problem with abundance. They have so much food about the house they don't realize the value/expense in it. So I would have them help you pick out food, find bargains, cut coupons, et like the OP suggested. Help them tally up the cost. Also, would buy less food. I did this with my children. I had Popsicle monsters. We bought a 12 count box and they each got 4 Popsicles. When those were gone, those were gone until the next shopping day. We did have an issue with my oldest dd coning the youngest out of Popsicles but I would look at youngest and explain that she gave her popcicle/s to her sister. That when you share some times it means less. This helped an underlying issue we had at our house of the older children manipulated her. After a few weeks they caught on about moderation. That one treat a day meant they could have it each day instead all in one day. For us focusing on the one treat and running out really help them from "wasting" food. If they do not have chips to throw around then they won’t be tempted. Letting them live “without” without being hungry is not going to hurt them. Them having only a snack of popcorn for three because they ate all the blueberries in one day can help them learn moderation if you help them.

Another thing that has helped us greatly is "balancing" out food. Managing carbs, proteins, and fats. If they have an apple offering cheese. They were not constantly craving for sugar/carbs to fuel their bodies. This takes some practice and learning. This is a skill I wish I had learned as a child. Some of the foods you are describing are high bad carb foods. Also a little “scheduling” can help you control the waste. I know some people here don’t like that term or idea about foods but your children are not infants. I have been so poor/broke that I know that eating when your hungry is not always possible. Also, if they are like I was I would make poorer high carb choices then have to eat shortly after. So I would spent more money on food.

One other issues is boredom. And I do think this is a big part of their behavior. I think you need to help them learn ways to keep their idle hands and minds busy. Having the cabinets locked will force them to get creative with other things. I want to warn you about this. LOL If you cannot lock things up can you put things on the shelves for them to play with? Cars? Legos? Pretend cooking set? When you go to the shower give your kids a task, maybe read a book and then tell them to work on a play while you are in the shower. If they still do it maybe make them sit in the bathroom while you are cleaning up. Or maybe take the stratagy of getting up 15 minutes earlier than them to shower up so they are not out of your eyesight. Also do they have a pretend kitchen and food?

If they are not helping you clean up, they should be.
post #23 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaduck
Call me crazy, but I personally would try to find ways to include them in the daily operation of the kitchen, and give them as much autonomy in the kitchen as reasonably possible.
this is the route I would go as well. Forbidden fruit (rooms, items whatever) is a mighty tempting and beautiful thing lol
post #24 of 432
My ds can enter the kitchen (and any room in the house) freely, and certain cabinets or doors are locked. The food cabinet is not, but he doesn't try to open it unless we are getting out a snack. If he was going in there and wasting/throwing food, I'd lock it. Same with the fridge. I don't think it's abusive to lock your cabinet, I think it's very logical actually.

I think having the kids help clean up the mess is a great idea.
post #25 of 432
If I give my kids things that the can play with (measuring cups, whisk, all those interesting kitchen tools) they will usually leave me to cook. Personally I find it great bonding time to have them in the kitchen with me. My oldest gets simple jobs now, too. She loves washing dishes. Sure it makes a mess but that's how kids learn.

There are some things that are more delicate and take effort to cook, and I try start those recipes at nap time, or even after they go to bed, for dinner the next day.

ETA: We keep a lot of the extra foods in the garage. If I find a sale and stock up, it goes in the garage. If the heat would spoil it, it goes in my bedroom closet on a high shelf. We have locks on the fridge and freezer for the safety of my toddler, and locks on all but one cabinet. The drawers are okay for them to get into. I keep the knives high and out of reach.

We don't waste, either. If Abi gets a food out or asks for it she must eat it before she gets anything else.

I did make a tub of rice available for them to play with like a sandbox. Abi cleans it up with a dust pan and Nitara helps. We don't eat that rice.
post #26 of 432
I think MPJJJ's concern is mainly with wasting food and using it as a plaything-- which she should be concerned about. And if this is what the kids are doing, they *should* be restricted from the kitchen until they can learn to be respectful and appreciative of food. It would horrify me if my children dumped cereal on the floor for fun. They are allowed to eat as much of what they want whenever they want, but-- there is no wasting allowed. That is the #1 food rule in our house.

Last night my 8 yr old went into the kitchen and for no reason dumped water on the floor (remember I mentioned DH's inventory is in there) and removed about 8 plastic storage bags (which I use SO sparingly) and got those wet too just for fun. On previous occasions he has done things like dump an entire bottle of detergent down the sink. So, I told him that for the time being he was no longer allowed in the kitchen except to quickly get something to eat if he was hungry, because he couldn't trusted not to destroy things.

While getting the kids involved in every aspect of food shopping and kitchen life sounds like a rosy idea, this would never work in our home. Our kitchen is plain old dangerous (extension cords, etc) and the cooking burden on me is huge-- there are many days I have to cook 4 or 5 different things. Turning everything into a fun learning experience for my kids just isn't going to happen. They're just too young yet. I do hope to have them cooking on their own when they are teens, but they'll be completely different people by that point.

MPJJJ, the fact that they wait until you're not around to start playing with food makes me think this is a "let's goof off and do something sneaky" thing, which you do have a right not to allow. I don't know what to tell you regarding locks and stuff-- honestly they just need to learn to respect the boundaries you've set. There are lots of ways to do this, the same way you would use GD for other issues.
post #27 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPJJJ
I agree, but I am lost on an appropriate consequence for removing the latch to get into the kitchen. If they asked, I'd gladly get them what they wanted within reason. But they are not asking, they are sneaking into the kitchen and disrespecting me and Dh and our food. What do you think would be an appropriate consequence for this?
I'm always hesitant to speak on MDC about how I discipline my kids because the subject of discipline always ruffles so many feathers, but if my kids were repeatedly forcing their way into a room I had told them to stay out of, I would confine them to their rooms.

If my kids were disregarding my instructions to not frolic in the food, I would stop buying snack items and put the remaining food where the kids couldn't reach it.

I am an evil, horrible mother who doesn't respect my kids and requires that they follow the rules.

Namaste!

Ps. You have gotten a lot of other good suggestions, too. I think this is a situation that requires a multi-pronged approach: immediate and long-trem strategies.
post #28 of 432
The reason I said abuse is in the past couple of years there have been parents who have been mentioned in the news who locked their kids out of the kitchen. In THEIR case it was abuse because their children where malnourished. Which according to what MPJJJ posts would not be the case because she states her kids where just served a meal. They are just playing in the food.

But locking them out from accessing food and water just seems abusive and demoralizing to me.


Why can’t they be taught to respect food and taught that it’s not a play thing, why be locked out?

Its just seems so cold to be locked out of the kitchen by your own mother. I mean kitchens have always been a symbol of warmth and comfort.

Its just very upsetting to me to think about children being locked out
post #29 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by momto l&a

But locking them out from accessing food and water just seems abusive and demoralizing to me.
She is not keeping them from accessing food and water. The kids have plenty of food and, I'm sure, liquids. She is just trying to make sure they don't throw it all over the house. It's NOT THE SAME THING. She is trying to teach the kids to respect food, that it's not a plaything. So far, they haven't learned. Locking the kitchen door is an intermediary step.
post #30 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPJJJ
What are these magnet locks you keep talking about?

They are called Tot Locks. They are little metal pieces that you attach to your cabinet. They have little levers that keep the door from opening. Then you have a nagnet that makes the metal move so the cabinet opens. The nice thing is that you can turn off the lock. SO, they don't actvate and you don't need the magnet.

The other nice thing is that the door doesn't move at all. The plastic clips can open enough to slam fingers in. These keep the door from moving at all.

We love them. We have them in the kitchen and the bathroom.

We keep our boys out the the kitchen. They are too little to get their own food and just make huge messes. It is a constant battle. It isn't abuse to not let your kids throw food they have no intention of eating.
post #31 of 432
My kids are about the same ages as yours-almost 6, almost 4 and almost 2. They have always had free access to what they can reach in the kitchen, and for whatever reason they just don't waste or play with food. I won't claim it's entirely because they've always been welcome in the kitchen to play, cook, clean or whatever-but I think it does help. We spend a lot of time in there eating together and cooking and talking about the value of food.

That said, I think you really do have to restrict access somewhat until they learn to respect food more. Despite having an "open kitchen" policy in our home, some things are still off limits. Anything we don't want them to have is up in high cabinets or on top of cabinets where they can't reach. No cabinets are locked, so most lower cabinets contain only pans, bakeware, bowls and kids' dishes-all stuff they can safely play with anytime they want. We keep canned goods and snacks they're allowed to have in one lower lazy-susan cabinet. If they start wasting food or the baby dumps it, up it goes into a high cabinet. At times all we've had in lower cabinets is canned food. For us it's the best of both world's-the kids feel welcome in the kitchen but they can't really get into trouble. (Yes, there have been times my littlest one has pulled chairs up to the counter to climb up and rummage in cabinets. Some of those times I have actually removed chairs from the kitchen because she tried it every time I turned my head.)

The refrigerator is a different problem, though. I have seen refrigerator locks, and I think if your kids are just going into the fridge to dump things out there's no harm in a refrigerator lock.

I also agree with whomever said a little snack shelf is great. With small quanities of snacks, and perhaps some cups with lids that you keep filled with water (or water bottles) for free access to drinks.

And maybe I'm way off base here, but if my kids were doing something like that I'd also suspect that they love the reaction they get from me and look into ways to modify my reaction.
post #32 of 432
My kids have a couple shelves in the pantry with their snacks on it. I allow them to snack on those items any time they like. Sometimes they graze all day soemtimes they hardly snack at all. It does have a latch for when my ds who is now 4 was younger, but that lasted all of 15 minutes before he figured out if he pushed on the folding doors hard enough the latch would come undone.

Also as PP mentioned, when we have "special" snacks if my kids abuse them or get them without asking then they are not allowed those snacks anymore.

My 8 yr old dd always asks first, my 4 yr old ds likes to get his own snakc. I think it is his way of being independent. So I keep good choice foods avaliable for him at his level and access. This really keeps the sneaking food to a minimal.

For me it has been letting him have the ability to just go and get a snack that keeps the food battles down.
post #33 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by momto l&a
The reason I said abuse is in the past couple of years there have been parents who have been mentioned in the news who locked their kids out of the kitchen. In THEIR case it was abuse because their children where malnourished.
That is sort of like saying that there have been cases of homeschooled kids who have been abused, and therefore all kids who are homeschooled must be abused. MPJJJ was clear in her first post that the kids are not doing this out of hunger.

Aristotle was a man but not all men are Aristotle... kwim?
post #34 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by momto l&a
Why can’t they be taught to respect food and taught that it’s not a play thing, why be locked out?

Children learn at different rates and ages. My 3yr old isn't ready to respect food he still wants to play with it and I am not willing to waste 40 bucks a month on food he throws so I can feel better about not keeping him out. It is the same with the fridge. We have water and ice int he door. It has a lock feature which we use. WHy? not to deny water but because T will stand at the fridge for an hourletting water run out. It is wasteful. I can explaint o him that is wasting but if he isn't old enough to remember and comprehend I can accept that and take the steps necessary to make sure it doesn't happen.
post #35 of 432
http://www.onestepahead.com/jump.jsp...00&cm_ite=null

They have them at Toys ans Babies R us for less. We love them. They are easy to use. Actually we have taught Tracy to use them. THat way if he has to get in he can. It hasn't ended up biting us in the butt either. He leaves them alone.

Easy to install too.
post #36 of 432
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by momto l&a
The reason I said abuse is in the past couple of years there have been parents who have been mentioned in the news who locked their kids out of the kitchen. In THEIR case it was abuse because their children where malnourished. Which according to what MPJJJ posts would not be the case because she states her kids where just served a meal. They are just playing in the food.

But locking them out from accessing food and water just seems abusive and demoralizing to me.


Why can’t they be taught to respect food and taught that it’s not a play thing, why be locked out?

Its just seems so cold to be locked out of the kitchen by your own mother. I mean kitchens have always been a symbol of warmth and comfort.

Its just very upsetting to me to think about children being locked out
Because if they keep pouring my food out, we won't have anything left to eat! And honestly, I'm not willing to say "oh, you poured out all the cereal, no more until next week" when it is MY favorite cereal they have poured out! Or "You stuck your hands into the icecream, no more until next payday" when DH and I enjoy eating our icecream. Letting them destroy our food does not serve any good purpose, and it is denying us. I do let them play with rice, that only started my 4 year old on dumping out coffee (dirt) and sugar and flour (snow) onto the floor to drive his trucks through. No matter how many times I tell him "No Joey, that is cofee and sugar and flour, we eat these, not play in them", he insists that it is dirt and snow for our cars. I cannot afford to let him keep doing this. I have tried the pan of rice to play with, and guess what... it ended up getting thrown all over the living room! He is a very immature just-turning-4-year-old and he is not no where near ready to go into the kitchen alone. I do allow them to help me cook. Their job is to stir things that need to be stirred, and help me pour things into bowls, and until Joey cut himself on a plastic knife, (who knew it was that sharp) they helped peel potatos and carrots. They are very involved in shopping, cooking, ect. Michael doesn't bother me that much except he tends to leave things out. He's almost 6. Joey on the other hand can destroy my kitchen in under 3 minutes, and just doesn't see the reason for respecting food. He doesn't respect much of anything, shampoo gets poured out, toothpaste, toilet paper gets stuffed into the bathtub, and no matter how much I try to explain it to him, he just doesn't get it. So what am I suposed to do? Other people have said I should spank him for it. I'm not willing to do that. But I'm not willing to let him destory everything we have to eat, for one it's incredibly wasteful, and for two we just do not have the money to keep replacing what he destroys. I asked you AP moms for advice knowing you would tell me not to hit him like others tell me to, but you seem to be saying "let him learn that if he tears up the food he just won't get anymore for a while", but the problem with that is we wont either!
post #37 of 432
We use the cabinet and door latches found here

They should work well with no handles.

ETA: I just reread. Metal doors make it trickier.
post #38 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPJJJ
And honestly, I'm not willing to say "oh, you poured out all the cereal, no more until next week" when it is MY favorite cereal they have poured out! Or "You stuck your hands into the icecream, no more until next payday" when DH and I enjoy eating our icecream.
I guess its a matter of priorities and what you are willing to do as a learning tool. Do I think things will be like this forever and that you will be doing without forever? No. But, I would also guess that if you ONLY lock doors or cabinets that they won't learn to respect food, they will only learn that they can't get to it. To ME, this isn't the purpose of discipline. The purpose is to teach and sometimes the only way to teach is to let children experience the consequences of their actions. Not by going hungry (please everyone, don't jump yet), but by realizing that certain treat items don't magically reappear. To me, this would be worth not eating ice cream myself for a month (and it would be good for me at the same time) or buying a favorite kid cereal and something they didn't like as much -- maybe keeping the less interested one in an inaccessible place so you would still actually have food.

All of that being said, the beauty of MDC is that you can ask a large group for advice and take what you like and leave the rest.
post #39 of 432
MPJJJ, do u think ur children need more 'messy activity' time? do u have a backyard where they can play with mud, lotion, shampoo (things from dollar store hopefully) as long as u can get them to understand which ones are play ones and which ones are not.

i understand ur problem. first i feel there is a difference btw boys and girls discipline in general not always. it seems easier to discipline girls easier than boys. i have a dd and i can tell u oh try this. my dd does it why cant urs. but it is not so simple.

in general i find a problem behav. is because of two reasons. one they want to do it but are not allowed. so u involve them in kitchen sometimes which u r already doing. or they are looking for similar kind of activity but cant get it so they create something close to it.

i always feel children love to experiment to play with textures. things like mixing mud and shingles. pouring baby corn bowder on teh porch and sliding on them. making jello mould and hiding gummy bears or such things in there for them squish thru and find. if u dont want them to eat it maybe use small plastic animals.

instead of rice bowl, give him a bean bowl. easier to pick up. then when u r ready to throw the beans out add sugar, or salt or flour to it and let ur 4 year old get all mucky.

do u think this might work? letting them do things they want to do instead of stopping them? not sure how they would differentiate btw actual things or play things. like letting them play with toothpaste, shampoo at a certian time of day?

do they get a lot of time outdoors? silly question i know but that makes such a big difference. i actually find joey pretty creative with the snow and dirt idea. can u keep a jar of navy beans for snow and those cardboard paper squished things for dirt (use as packing materials). maybe increase even more of their outdoor time and see if u see a difference.
post #40 of 432
Good luck. I wish I had some great advice to give you, but I don't.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Kids playing with and wasting food + Meal and snack scheduling discussion