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Kids playing with and wasting food + Meal and snack scheduling discussion - Page 3

post #41 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom
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..
Yep, I totally agree.

I would very logically explain to them (especially the older ones) that I will buy x ice cream or cereal on Monday, and it has to last until next time we shop. That it's up to everyone to be responsible with it.

Personally, I think you'd save a lot of money avoiding locks etc by being resigned to going without some foods for a bit if they waste them. I would bet that they will only throw the cereal out once before they realise that it's not a good idea.

Like a few others, I feel uncomfortable with the idea of locks on food. My instinct is that most kids will find ways to get back at you somehow, maybe now, maybe in later life. It is not something that I'd ever want to do. I'd prefer to teach the children a life lesson, rather than control them. Ultimately I think that this sort of approach will be more productive for all.
post #42 of 432
You know, many people wouldn't leave a glass knick knack down, when they knew their child might not be respectful of it. They would put it up until their child was more mature, or more able to respect the guidelines surrounding that object.

As long as the kids are eating, I don't see restricting free access to the food pantry as any different.
post #43 of 432
call me paranoid, but my mind often wanders to "what ifs" and worst case scenerios. If you were alone with your children and god forbid something happened to you... having food in the house locked up just scares me. there's just so many emergency scenerios i can imagine where i'd want the kids to have access to food.

i agree with the natural consequences. favorite foods don't get bought as long as they are destroyed. even if that means the parents have to live through a few weeks of no ice cream. the great thing about natural consequences is that they are so absolute they tend to work REALLY quickly.
post #44 of 432
I can't speak for the OP, but if her kids are anything like mine, many of you are missing a large part of the problem. It's not just that the children eat up all the treats, it's that they play with/waste other food/items in the kitchen. For example, my children do not drink coffee. But they have on a few occassions poured out the coffee and played with/ruined it. Same thing with items such as corn starch, flour, etc. They won't suffer at all if I fail to buy more.

The bathroom is as much of a challenge. Do you refuse to buy more toilet paper when the boys repeatedly waste it? I think not. But when you've explained repeatedly that it is only to be used for its primary purpose and not dissolved in the sink, what is the next step?

I don't have the answer. What I've tried in the past hasn't worked. So for now I'm going with the you-will-work-around-the-house-to-pay-for-what-you've-ruined method. I'll let you know in a few months if it has helped.
post #45 of 432
I can see both sides here.

I agree that locking children out of a kitchen seems..I don't know...strange. Kitchens have always meant friendly warm love good things...

But I would be very upset at the waste and the lack of respect for your wishes, too.

If your boys want dirt to drive their trucks through, how about getting them some? A bit of dirt on the kitchen floor might be easier to deal with than all your coffee wasted, and coffee is expensive!

If they want something to expand and get all squishy in the bathroom with, how about getting a bunch of household sponges and cutting them into interesting shapes and letting them play in the toilet or bathtub with them? Fishing a few sponges out of a clean toilet bowl might be easier to deal with than seeing every roll of toilet paper wasted.

It seems like your boys have lots of sensory needs. And they will meet those needs, even if it means seeing mama get very angry and upset. Anything you can do to give them stuff to mush and squish and soak and pile and crush might save your food.

Now the ice cream issue, well I have no advice on that front. I'm guilty myself of eating ice cream right out of the carton while my husband isn't looking. :

I hope you find a solution that doesn't require such a drastic measure as locking your little ones out of the kitchen.
post #46 of 432
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraSusan
I can see both sides here.

I agree that locking children out of a kitchen seems..I don't know...strange. Kitchens have always meant friendly warm love good things...

But I would be very upset at the waste and the lack of respect for your wishes, too.

If your boys want dirt to drive their trucks through, how about getting them some? A bit of dirt on the kitchen floor might be easier to deal with than all your coffee wasted, and coffee is expensive!

If they want something to expand and get all squishy in the bathroom with, how about getting a bunch of household sponges and cutting them into interesting shapes and letting them play in the toilet or bathtub with them? Fishing a few sponges out of a clean toilet bowl might be easier to deal with than seeing every roll of toilet paper wasted.

It seems like your boys have lots of sensory needs. And they will meet those needs, even if it means seeing mama get very angry and upset. Anything you can do to give them stuff to mush and squish and soak and pile and crush might save your food.

Now the ice cream issue, well I have no advice on that front. I'm guilty myself of eating ice cream right out of the carton while my husband isn't looking. :

I hope you find a solution that doesn't require such a drastic measure as locking your little ones out of the kitchen.
Those are all great suggestions, I'll try some! Thanks!
post #47 of 432
it seems like there could be something wrong here...

I have a child who recently turned six.

If she were to get ice cream out of the fridge--which she can do at any time-- she would put it on the table, get a scooper, put it in a bowl and get a spoon.

And many times she has served friends & sibs---but she always gets bowls and spoons, and napkins.

Do your children have much experience in the kitchen? I am not being mean--but why doesn't your 6 yr old know that if she/he is going to serve the younger siblings , sitting on the floor eating ice cream with your hands out of the container is germy & difficult to clean up? Can you teach him what to do?

Are they not allowed to serve themselves and to feel their own hunger? Have you always served them? Perhaps they are more interested in getting at forbidden things -- perhaps they have learned not to listen to their bodies' hunger signals.

i would be more concerned about these issues, and why they are sneaking around. I would think closing them out of the kitchen is the lesser part of the issue. I would think that a 6 yr old should be a little more cognizant of how to serve food??? I have 4 kids and I have not exp any of this...so bear with me.

I am almost inclined to wonder if something is developmentally amiss? i ask this gently...as this doesn't seem like regular 6 yr old behavior??. Maybe. Please don't jump all over me MDC mamas.
post #48 of 432
I think there are a lot of great suggestions in this thread. The only thing I woudl add is that, MPJJJ, I see you using a lot of possesive language- "my" food, "our" (you and DH) food. In addition to the other suggestions, it might be helpful to include them in the food activities so it's more of a feeling of it being the family's food. Including them in the grocery shopping, bringing the food in, putting it away, preparing it, cleaning up. My kids are almost the same age as yours- six, four, and almost two- and I would be very upset if they were doing what you describe as well. It sounds very upsetting. But it also sounds like something you want to find a long-term solution to as well as a short-term solution.
post #49 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teensy
Same thing with items such as corn starch, flour, etc. They won't suffer at all if I fail to buy more.
Perhaps I'm overly punitive (and by MDC's standards, I probably am), but the way I see it, if kids can't respect the food we *need* to have to eat healthily, then they don't need to be eating treats. Also, as money is an issue for us, as well, if the kids are wrecking the necessary items, then the money that could have gone to treats must be spent on replacing the necessaries. The OP's younger kids probably wouldn't get this object lesson, but the older one probably could, and his influence could sway the younger kids, too.

I guess I don't see locking the kids out of the kitchen as some sort of denial of love and kitchen coziness because I don't see the need to use the locks as a long-term measure. I mean, heck, we still have locks on some kitchen cupboards mainly because we have been too lazy to take them off, even though our older child can pretty easily defeat them.

As far as the bathroom goes, my friend has a TP waster. She lays out one square of TP at a time. If her son needs more, he has to ask for it. :LOL I actually think that's pretty brilliant. Little kids have a hazy idea of how much is too much. I think a concrete example is a good idea. My own son used to like to spin the TP holder just to see the TP cascade off the role. For a while the TP lived on top of the vanity, where only my husband and I could reach it. When my son got over his cascading TP fixation, the TP resumed its normal dwelling place.

So, I very much think that stop-gap measures can be good ideas for little kids who aren't yet sophisticated enough to reason with. Sometimes they just need time to grow out of it!

Namaste!
post #50 of 432
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
it seems like there could be something wrong here...

I have a child who recently turned six.

If she were to get ice cream out of the fridge--which she can do at any time-- she would put it on the table, get a scooper, put it in a bowl and get a spoon.

And many times she has served friends & sibs---but she always gets bowls and spoons, and napkins.

Do your children have much experience in the kitchen? I am not being mean--but why doesn't your 6 yr old know that if she/he is going to serve the younger siblings , sitting on the floor eating ice cream with your hands out of the container is germy & difficult to clean up? Can you teach him what to do?

Are they not allowed to serve themselves and to feel their own hunger? Have you always served them? Perhaps they are more interested in getting at forbidden things -- perhaps they have learned not to listen to their bodies' hunger signals.

i would be more concerned about these issues, and why they are sneaking around. I would think closing them out of the kitchen is the lesser part of the issue. I would think that a 6 yr old should be a little more cognizant of how to serve food??? I have 4 kids and I have not exp any of this...so bear with me.

I am almost inclined to wonder if something is developmentally amiss? i ask this gently...as this doesn't seem like regular 6 yr old behavior??. Maybe. Please don't jump all over me MDC mamas.
Your post, IMO, reeks of judgement. Especially the "something is really wrong here" part. It's really great that your daughter is so mature that she can serve icecream to her friends. Really, I'm not being sarcastic, it's awesome. But your insuation that my child is developmently behind because he tried eating icecream with his hands, with his 3 year old brother, just pisses me off. This is the same little boy who can reprogram my vcr better than I can, who knows how to make eggs and often makes his own peanutbutter and jelly sandwitches, knows how to pop popcorn. I say one thing that he did, only because it upset me that they made such a mess, and you automatically assume that he is mentally retarded. He acted in an age appropritate manner. And no, my 5 year old is not concerned with jerms. Not many 5 year olds are. :

BTW, thanks a lot for editing your post to read "it seems something may be wrong here." I got your original post in my email box. How would you like it if I judged your DD like that?
post #51 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
I am almost inclined to wonder if something is developmentally amiss? i ask this gently...as this doesn't seem like regular 6 yr old behavior??.
I don't think it's out of the ordinary for a six year old. Anyway, maybe he can serve food just fine but still thinks it's fun to sneak in and grub around in the food. I sometimes think that in AP circles, kids' behaviors are viewed almost exclusively through the prism of relationship problems rather than through the lens of just normal, goofy, sometimes-quite-unfathomable, sometimes-no-reason-for behavior. I very clearly remember being a kid, knowing I wasn't supposed to do something, and doing it anyway, either because of lack of impulse control or just because the fun of doing it outweighed my parents' disapproval. I think I had a great relationship with my parents, but I don't think that having a great relationship with one's parents insulates kids from doing things they parents don't want them to. Kids are kids. Fun is fun.

Namaste!
post #52 of 432
MPJJJ, what do you want with this thread? You seem to be getting frustrated with advice/suggestions. Do you just want to vent? That is fine, but you do know if you complain to a bunch of strangers on a message baord, you are going to get a bunch of advice/suggestions

Anyway, here's my advice if my 6 and 4 year olds (or 5 and 3) were making these kind of messes, I'd have them clean them up. I'd also sit them down and have the "here's the problem, what can we do about it" conversation, asking for their solutions since they are old enough to problem solve along side you. They very well might have some ideas about fun, messy, "illicite" activities compatable to food play.

And I'd totally not buy the food they make a mess with for a while. Me and dh don't have cheese or raisons in the house because I eat it all . It is family life, you know; he can't have a block of cheese in the fridge because I have no self control when it comes to cheese. That is one drawback to living with me - fortunatly, there are lots of benefits to living with me . I would think it is the same for the cereal and ice cream. One of the drawbacks to having kids who are going through a phase of playing with cereal and ice cream is you won't have cereal or ice cream in the house for a couple of months (smooties and/or toast for breakfast). Sure it will be a drawback for you and dh, but there are lots of benefits to having you kids. Family life is a balance of drawbacks and benefits.

Anyway, sorry if it isn't advice you want, but I can't help myself (guess I'm an advice AND a cheese junkie ).
post #53 of 432
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamawanabe
MPJJJ, what do you want with this thread? You seem to be getting frustrated with advice/suggestions. Do you just want to vent? That is fine, but you do know if you complain to a bunch of strangers on a message baord, you are going to get a bunch of advice/suggestions

Anyway, here's my advice if my 6 and 4 year olds (or 5 and 3) were making these kind of messes, I'd have them clean them up. I'd also sit them down and have the "here's the problem, what can we do about it" conversation, asking for their solutions since they are old enough to problem solve along side you. They very well might have some ideas about fun, messy, "illicite" activities compatable to food play.

And I'd totally not buy the food they make a mess with for a while. Me and dh don't have cheese or raisons in the house because I eat it all . It is family life, you know; he can't have a block of cheese in the fridge because I have no self control when it comes to cheese. That is one drawback to living with me - fortunatly, there are lots of benefits to living with me . I would think it is the same for the cereal and ice cream. One of the drawbacks to having kids who are going through a phase of playing with cereal and ice cream is you won't have cereal or ice cream in the house for a couple of months (smooties and/or toast for breakfast). Sure it will be a drawback for you and dh, but there are lots of benefits to having you kids. Family life is a balance of drawbacks and benefits.

Anyway, sorry if it isn't advice you want, but I can't help myself (guess I'm an advice AND a cheese junkie ).
What I wanted from this thread is what I have gotten, a lot of advice and some personal experiance to let me know that I am not alone in having kids who get into things. I now have a plan on how to deal wiht this and I thank you for that.

What I did not want nor expect was a post suggesting that my child is mental. Especially when it starts out with "there is something really wrong here." What a way to make someone at ease. Editing later doesn't take back what you write, especially when I read it in my email box.
post #54 of 432
My mother's idea of natural consequences was that if we were to intentionally destroy something of hers, we lost privileges to something of ours. For example, I thought her teabags made great sailboats once when I was about six and used up an entire box. No skin off my back if we didn't have more teabags for a while. Well, no teabags for her meant no ice cream for me.

I love the idea of natural consequences. But parenting requires flexibility, even with the best of philosophies, because kids are terrifically imaginative and can break any "system," in my experience.

I liked the post suggesting that when they make a mess, they're responsible for cleaning it up. I sometimes needed layered consequences for a point to sink in (i.e. cleaning up the teabags in the immediate, no ice cream in the longer term). I didn't like it, obviously, but it worked and I certainly don't think I was psychologically or emotionally damaged by being required to show respect for my parents' belongings and responsibility for my actions. I figure that the fact that I still remember this incident means there was a lesson in there that I learned.

Anyway, I don't know if this helps, but good luck with your boys!



Sarah, mama to Qualia, 8.5 months
post #55 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama369
My mother's idea of natural consequences was that if we were to intentionally destroy something of hers, we lost privileges to something of ours. For example, I thought her teabags made great sailboats once when I was about six and used up an entire box. No skin off my back if we didn't have more teabags for a while. Well, no teabags for her meant no ice cream for me.

I love the idea of natural consequences. But parenting requires flexibility, even with the best of philosophies, because kids are terrifically imaginative and can break any "system," in my experience

Off topic, but how is that a natural consequence? I don't even see that as a logical consequence. It seems very punitive to me. "I'm miserable and don't have what I want, so I am not going to make you miserable as well".
post #56 of 432
wow. what an interesting thread. sounds like a mess! i would be distressed if my kids were wasting a bunch of food, too. that can really push my buttons. i do buy cheap flour and salt for playdough making and don't mind if they play with that, but my girls really aren't the tornados you are describing so about all i can offer is sympathy.

really just thought i'd pop in to say if you're looking for more sensory activities to do with them i've been meaning to try making homemade paper. here's a link -- http://www.familyeducation.com/artic...-24166,00.html . they'd get to tear up lots of paper (junk mail, old newspapers, magazines, etc) whirl it around in a blender (mom would help i would think) and then dump it all in a tub of water to make ooey gooey pulp. what could be more fun!?

actually, typing ooey gooey reminded me of this link -- http://www.ooeygooey.com/mary/resources/ . tons of "recipes" for kids there.

hth
post #57 of 432
We put a lock on our refrigerator for a time. It was actually a gun lock that you needed to use a key to open. We had tried normal child safety locks but dd busted them. The gun lock was much tougher. I know it isn't good to use permanantly but if they do not listen and you can't afford to have your food wasted then I think something like that is fine short term. If you could even keep a portion of your food from being destroyed while you work on the issue you'd probably feel less angry.

My dd was getting into peanut butter and other food and smearing it around. I got frustrated about the mess, the wasted food and the fact that I am quite willing to let her finger paint, etc if she asks and she knows it. I tried to really focus on sensory activities more and that seemed to help. I gave dd shaving cream to smear around on a big tray or in the bathroom sink. I try to do finger painting more often. We made a big batch of playdough. I also made dd clean the mess.

I think having the children clean up is a good idea.
I think not having so many treats in the house is also a good idea until they respect food more- maybe each family member can pick just one item at the store. Maybe divide the food into small baggies or containers and keep out only enough for the day (assuming you find a place you can keep the rest safe).


You could try focusing on positive reinforcement. My dd sometimes needs a motivation to do things- or stop doing things.
Maybe try a chart and each day they do not make a mess and waste food they get a sticker next to their name. At the end of the week or whatever if the child has enough stickers maybe that child gets to pick a new book/video or go to a restaurant or do something special. I would give it a month or two to see if it works.

Good luck.
post #58 of 432
Well you can be angry--but you post on a public board, so you are going to get a lot of different responses.

I do think 6 yr olds can be taught how to eat ice cream with a spoon and out of a bowl. If that's a judgement, well, ok.

I think my post was full of good advice. I really do. Teach them how to sit at the table. Teach them how to make a sandwich. Talk to them about germs.

I might close off the dangers of a kitchen for a 2 yr old, but not for normally developing 6 yr old.

Teaching is always better than punishing.

If the children can't be taught not to 'waste food' or make a mess, then go ahead and keep them out for safety reasons. Are you sure the 6 yr old understands what you want? And if he is simply being defiant you might want to find out why. Otherwise you might have to figure out more and more ways to keep him out once he figures out the lock etc. Partnering with him, teaching him, might make your life easier.
post #59 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie
Off topic, but how is that a natural consequence? I don't even see that as a logical consequence. It seems very punitive to me. "I'm miserable and don't have what I want, so I am not going to make you miserable as well".
The comment was slightly tongue-in-cheek, but when you posted, I started to think about it, and it seems to me that it could be argued that it IS a natural consequence. When you create a victim, i.e. someone who suffers because of something you did, it's a natural consequence to have to deal with that victim and make amends. Justice systems around the world are based on this basic concept: If you wrong someone, you fix it, and what constitutes "fixing it" is usually not based on your preference, but the victim's.

In this case, my mother chose to illustrate the concept of empathy, which was an age-appropriate lesson for me. I didn't empathize with how she might feel if I used all her tea, so she provided me with the opportunity to understand how she might feel in concrete terms (again, age-appropriate and the logical next step, as clearly I hadn't understood it when she tried to explain it to me in words).



Sarah, mama to Qualia, 8.5 months
post #60 of 432
Quote:
Originally Posted by earthmama369
t seems to me that it could be argued that it IS a natural consequence. When you create a victim, i.e. someone who suffers because of something you did, it's a natural consequence to have to deal with that victim and make amends.
I've always felt that way, too, and that's why I'm kind-of when I read here about mothers who don't think we should ever get angry and yell at our kids. I mean, the natural consequence of doing something that makes me angry is that I get angry, and usually I show it. I'm not advocating yelling at kids, but I do think that there are times when it's appropriate for a child to know they've angered you, and I think there are times when it's appropriate for a child to have an object lesson in not having what they want to have.

Namaste!
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