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Can't I have any food rules?

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
I am struggling with boudaries lately. I can't quite figure out if I have too many or not enough.
One huge issue is food. In my attempt to be really lenient about when to eat how much to eat..not spoon feeding but allowing my kids to eat when they're hungry is in all honesty not quite working out.
My kids both want their breakfast left out for way too long. They pick here and there; eat a little play a little.
When I am finally ready to clean up they decide that it is now time to eat...this could be 2 hours later. You see nothing is getting done around all the eating. I can't put the food away (Dry cereal...milk cereal does get tossed ) they want the toast left out forever...and they eventually come back and eat it but that is usually the time that we need to be walking out the door.
"Let's go" I say.
"I'm hungry ..is my breakfast still out my DD?" will say.
"uggh" I say because I just want to leave.
I really want to get the day moving..but everything is held up b/c they snack (healthy nice snacks)
I am not concerned about what they are eating jsut that I want to say.....
Breakfast is over...and not feel like I am creating a kid who will be worried throughout life that someone is going to toss their food therefore they must eat everything all at once.

I kind of want mealtimes...but don't feel right about them.
do you have ANY food rules and if so what are they?

BTW...the only places we are generally going are to the park to a friend's house and 2 y classes for each kid. Not that any of these are pressing meetings to attend but I do like to keep things going and get out of the house.
post #2 of 80
Do you allow food in the car? I always just have them bring it or something else with them. But, my car is pretty nasty.

Or if we're just sticking around the house but I want to clean up or clear the table, I'll stick the whole plate in the fridge. They won't usually eat it again, especially if it's something that's not very good once it's cold, but we have dogs and chickens, so I feel pretty mellow about waste.
post #3 of 80

I have food rules...

We eat at the table. Once you are done you are finished. We have one snack between meals. You eat what is offered. This may sound a little harsh but it works for us. I always make sure that there is only one new food that they may or may not like so MOST of their meal or snack is something I know that they like (they may choose not to eat it). There are exceptions to the rules: when we have friends over we may have our snack in the living room or outside. We sometimes have a picnic and eat outside. I have found that this gives some structure to our otherwise hectic world. It's the small parts of the day that we sit together and talk and share without distractions.
If you are thinking of introducing some rules, maybe explaine your struggles with your kids and have them brainstorm how you can fix the problem and make it seem like they come up with the rules... Just a thought. Good luck.
post #4 of 80
We don't allow wandering around while eating meals. Snacks, sure, but meals are eaten at the table and cleaned up when finished/before playing. This is the way it's always been for DS, and he doesn't have a problem with it so far.
post #5 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
We don't allow wandering around while eating meals. Snacks, sure, but meals are eaten at the table and cleaned up when finished/before playing. This is the way it's always been for DS, and he doesn't have a problem with it so far.
yep, same here.
post #6 of 80
For all practical purposes we have no food rules. Off the top of my head the only rule we've had is yogurt stays in the kitchen.

Why can't they bring a container of dry cereal or a piece of toast in the car? I get the feeling they are sensing your controlling nature about food. I try to make it a non-issue. Here's food. Eat it if you're hungry don't if you're not. If she asks for something specific, I usually get it for her (if we have it etc)

-Angela
post #7 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by smartair View Post
We eat at the table. Once you are done you are finished. We have one snack between meals. You eat what is offered. This may sound a little harsh but it works for us. I always make sure that there is only one new food that they may or may not like so MOST of their meal or snack is something I know that they like (they may choose not to eat it).
I think this is awful. I'm glad you offer something that they like, but I really disagree with limiting snacks like that. My sister has an incredibly fast metabolism and really NEEDS to eat very often. She always has.

We'd actually ALL be healthier if we ate more often in smaller amounts. Humans are really a snacking animal by nature.

-Angela
post #8 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I get the feeling they are sensing your controlling nature about food.
the only problem here is that I am NOT controlling their food. Not one bit...no; just one more or no dessert; no, "you can't get up from the table" (obvisoulsy) there isn't one thing I am controlling (except OJ which the ped got my DD hooked on so we limit it; DS wont even smell the stuff )


I do bring snacks jsut about everytime we go anywhere but I guess I jsut want them to be done eating at some point during the day and not just taking a break.
Maybe I'm just in rut
post #9 of 80
Is it possible that just eating all the time is the way these particular kids function? I ate snacks and meals. My sister ate all the time. It was all good, healthy food- but it was constant. (interestingly she nursed at night forever too...)

Know what? She's nearly 30 now and STILL eats all the time.

I'm a big believer in letting kids learn to listen to their own bodies.

-Angela
post #10 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post


I do bring snacks jsut about everytime we go anywhere but I guess I jsut want them to be done eating at some point during the day and not just taking a break.
Maybe I'm just in rut
i snack all day long, dd does too. it is just how i eat. i can't sit and have a meal, i don't have the attention span or the stomach size.
post #11 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
We don't allow wandering around while eating meals. Snacks, sure, but meals are eaten at the table and cleaned up when finished/before playing. This is the way it's always been for DS, and he doesn't have a problem with it so far.
Basically the same here. If he really didn't have time to eat before we have to go, we will take dry cereal in the car or just transition into a healthy snack. But meals have a definite time limit to them before the food is put away. Depending on the meal, it is finished in 10-30 minutes.
post #12 of 80
I think set mealtimes are a fine idea. I think that limiting the time for 'meals' is fine. You can clean up the meals and still leave 'snacks' available.

But, reading your post, this might be more about leaving than about eating. It sounds like they have a hard time transitioning into the day more than like meals are the 'real' issue. Is it only breakfast that has this issue?

This is what 'mealtimes' at our house look like on days when we're all at home:

Get up between 7 and 8 am (ds gets up at 7 am, dd often not till 8:30 or later).
Breakfast - about 30 minutes after getting up

Lunch offered about 11:30 or 12:00 depending on what we do that day (Sundays it's not until 1 PM for example).

Dinner is served between 5:45 and 6 pm.

Snacks - whenever they ask for them, unless it's within about 15 minutes of a meal. Often I will offer a snack at about 10 am and 3:30 pm when tempers start to fray. Some snacks (crackers, fruit, yogurt) are left where they can reach them and they can help themselves.

As long as it's food that doesn't go bad, it's left out on the table. Ds will never, ever go back, dd often will.

If we need to be somewhere, I will often give dd a 15 minute warning and say "We need to leave in 15 minutes. I'm going to set the timer, when it beeps, you need to be done eating and go get dressed and ready to go." On days when dd goes to daycare, she often eats breakfast in the car.
post #13 of 80
We struggle with the same thing. I try to so hard not be controlling about food, but ds1 really pushes me to my limits. Ds2 will sit down and eat, but ds1 bounces all over the place. This might sound ridiculous, but we had to institute a rule of staying seated while you are still chewing, because otherwise he would shove a bite into his mouth and then go do somersaults off the couch.

I have no problem with snacking all day long - our house is full of healthy food (for the most part) - and the kids seem to do just fine with it. But I do find mealtimes frustrating because ds1 is all over the place. We've started pointing out to him that we're leaving and not going to be eating again soon, so be sure to eat as much as you want before we go. Sometimes he screws around and doesn't eat, and is then complaining that he's hungry. We remind him that he didn't eat his breakfast, and that now he's going to have to wait. (Not because we're withholding food, but because it's just not available at that particular time.)
post #14 of 80
We don't really have any rules with food, but we do have mealtimes and I think they are important. Some children will say they are hungry and can identify that easily. My ds is so active and involved with other things that taking time to eat just slows him down from what he'd rather be doing. So, in our case, he really needs me to keep my finger on the pulse of his meals throughout the day. He will tell me that he'd like a snack at different times and I always give him what he asks for. But we do have breakfast, lunch and dinner. He eats the least at dinner but we also have a bedtime snack.

I think (depending on your children's age) that establishing good eating habits (whatever that means to you) is important. I can imagine my children making their own meal decisions when they are older, in terms of when and what not, but for now I think they are too young to take on that responsibility in full.

My ds decides what he will eat from the choices offered. We provide a large variety and let him eat whatever he wants. I think giving them freedom within structure is important.

Just my two cents on the matter!
post #15 of 80
I posted before I read the other posts. I gotta say that I think this is a very personal, individualized thing for families. Our country is so screwed up about food that it doesn't surprise me that the OP is concerned about making an issue out something like this.

I have to say, though, I think some rules are good ones...for adults as well as kids. Eating at the table is good in so many ways...it creates a ritual with food that involves everyone sitting together or being in the same place. It also decreases mindless eating which can happen when you're doing other things while shoveling food in your mouth. It basically makes one more aware of their body signals and intake when you devote a space and place to eat. I think it's a very good thing.

These are things we really do learn. Yes, certain things just happen naturally but we aren't living in a vacuum. Food is a loaded issue for a lot of people and personally I'm interested in getting my kiddos off to as good of a start as possible with eating sensibly and consciously.

So! I think some of the rules talked about - sitting at the table, eating during mealtimes, etc. - are really about establishing healthy eating habits. It's taken me my entire life to get healthy with food and it didn't come naturally! Living in our society really makes that hard.
post #16 of 80
[QUOTE=mothragirl;8419555 i can't sit and have a meal, i don't have the attention span.

: I'm confused - you as the adult don't have the attention span to sit and have a meal?
post #17 of 80
I don't think anyone has the RIGHT to make rules concerning how ANYONE else eats. (Health & safety aside, of course.) Hungry? Eat. Not hungry? Don't. Simple.
post #18 of 80
I think rules for the sake of sanity are fine. I'm trying to remember back to when my kids were smaller, but now that they are older -- if they walk away from the table I consider them "finished." I ask them to go back and clear up. We also have the issue of a dog -- so anything left out on the table gets snitched up by her pretty fast.

I don't think you need to wait around for 2 hours while your kids graze. I don't really think its about food, or going to create food issues, to tell your kids that, "We're leaving in 10 minutes. Last chance to eat what you need to feel full so that we can go." We also take unfinished food in the car, snacks in my purse, etc.
post #19 of 80
Ds1 is 3 1/2 and he is in this phase where he pretty much grazes all day long. I am just trying to go with it. He will sit when we have lunch/ dinner, but only have a few bites. Then he will leave the table and kinda munch on and off. I do leave his food out for him, I will pick everything else up, but I wlways have food available for him. That is fine with me, I want him to keep on listening to his body.

I always have food in the car/ when we go out. In fact, most days, I pack a pb & j for him because inevtably, he will need a "meal" when we are out and about.

I understand your frustration, but I think making it less of an issue will in fact, make it less of an issue.

Good luck!
post #20 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
"We need to leave in 15 minutes. I'm going to set the timer, when it beeps, you need to be done eating and go get dressed and ready to go."
Quote:
"We're leaving in 10 minutes. Last chance to eat what you need to feel full so that we can go."
I am so thankful for this b/c this is exactly (how simple) what I wanted "permission" to do.

I know it sounds crazy..well maybe not to those of you who suffer(ed) from eating disorders but I am so afraid of passing on my total confusion abut eating onto my kids..it is such a horrible way to live that I was afraid of even setting time limits at all. Those 2 things will totally work for me. thank you!
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