Kids playing with and wasting food + Meal and snack scheduling discussion - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-12-2005, 07:36 PM
 
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MPJJJ, I am sorry you seem to feel so threatened by those suggestions. You said you had a three story house, so I really do wonder if there is not a way to store less used appliances and pans in another area, to create more child friendly space in the kitchen.

I suppose I should clarify that this is not so much about the room we call the kitchen being important~it is the food in the kitchen which is important to kids. I have no problem childproofing the very real dangers in a kitchen. Of course you shouldn't let a two year old rummage the knife drawer or put what he wants in the microwave. Those are all separate safety issues and could be addressed separately, with safety devices used just to keep those specific area's from causing injury. However if you simply lock the door to the kitchen, and continue to keep all the food in there, you've made it impossible for the child to satisfy their own hunger, and that is probably what would be of greatest concern to the child as well.

if my kitchen were truly a landmine of ancient, bohemoth appliances, gas lines, and electrical hazards I could not make safe, I am sure I too, would lock it, but I would move all non perishable foods my child liked out of it, set up their own food area in another room, and give them free access to *that* space.

I think what confuses me in your post is~ do you really not see a difference between a locked kitchen door, and subtle supervision and childproofing while a child is in the kitchen? Would it be the same to you if a store locked you out, as opposed to letting you shop while employees minded the sales floor? It's doubtful your kids will even care that you are there, unless they've already gotten into the habit of sneaking time in the kitchen when you aren't looking.

I sense you are exasperated and feel defensive, and I am sorry. I don't think a lock on the kitchen door is abuse or evil. I do think it's excessive, will create more work for you, will be a source of irritation for the kids, and will miss a great chance to teach your kids how to behave in the kitchen.

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Old 08-12-2005, 07:48 PM
 
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If we all lived in truly compact spaces, this would be a non issue. The kitchen would be part of the living space. We would be playing, eating, and socializing in the constant presence of cooking gear and food supplies, and the only means to keep it in order would be supervision, teaching, and creative problem solving.

I just find that a little ironic

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Old 08-12-2005, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 4 year old can satisfy his own hunger by saying "Mommy, I'm hungry", and accompanying me into the kitchen. A 4 year old simply doesn't need unlimited access to the kitchen, especially when he is a very immature 4 year old. It is ironic that so many people feel it is disrespectful to insist that a child ask for food before he gets it, or has supervision while he gets it. And no, I'm not threatened. It takes a lot more than an arguement on a message board to threaten me.
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:16 PM
 
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It is ironic that so many people feel it is disrespectful to insist that a child ask for food before he gets it, or has supervision while he gets it.
How is that ironic?

Who said supervision was wrong? I think most of said that supervision would be a really good idea. I think supervision is a great idea. You are the one who said it wasn't helpful advice.

I'm not sure I understand your attitiude here. Your children clearly do not want to ask for food. They also do not know how to behave in the kitchen. The kitchen in your home does not sound childproofed. These are all separate important issues, and you seem to respond to all of them with "Look, I can't do that, they are going to have to deal with the lock, they are immature, if they want food they have to go to me first".

It's hard for me to take you seriously if that is what you have to say after this much discussion.

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Old 08-12-2005, 09:33 PM
 
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How is that ironic?

Who said supervision was wrong? I think most of said that supervision would be a really good idea. I think supervision is a great idea. You are the one who said it wasn't helpful advice.

I'm not sure I understand your attitiude here. Your children clearly do not want to ask for food. They also do not know how to behave in the kitchen. The kitchen in your home does not sound childproofed. These are all separate important issues, and you seem to respond to all of them with "Look, I can't do that, they are going to have to deal with the lock, they are immature, if they want food they have to go to me first".

It's hard for me to take you seriously if that is what you have to say after this much discussion.

Exactly!

it's such a confusing thread!! (OP, you can go ahead and a call me a jerk again! It's really ok! I am obviousy stupid since I am still participating in this thread & am *really* trying to get a handle on your needs. I am a sucker for punishment, obviously).

These are normal children who are being locked out of a prime space of the home because their behavior is so over-the-top. They do not understand (I am not including the toddler in this--he's too little) that dumping flour and cracking eggs all over the floor is not a good thing. They keep trying to get into the kitchen to do these things even with a lock on the door.

You would *think* that if food was available at any time and that they could go ahead and eat what they chose, the problem would not be this bad. Yet, desptie that they can have food at any time, they still choose to destroy this food. They dump food because they are 'not thinking' and continue messing up the kitchen even though their mother gets upset about it and is trying to teach them what they need to do to have acess to the kitchen. They don't respond to their mother's dissapointment, nor her anger.

The OP keeps saying the children disrespect food even though they know how to serve food and even though they are not hungry.

They simply enjoy wasting food.

Supervision is difficult, if not impossible They have a large home and if the mother is even upstairs for a few minutes, the children break into the kitchen.

They are bored and need to be moving. There is a basement where they can play and ride, yet they still dump eggs, flour and all manner of things they do not eat.

I have no idea what to suggest, since almost all suggestions are met with anger AND YELLING.

This is a tough one.

Why *are* these children acting out so much? Even when they have a basement to play in, and even when their mother is obvioulsy doing everything she can?
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:59 PM
 
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MPJJJ,
Perhaps you can state exactly what you DO hope to accomplish by this thread, since all of the suggestions and advice (that you asked for) are met with hostility and backlash.

It seems to me that you really just wanted justification of your already-made-up decision to lock up the kitchen.
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Old 08-12-2005, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Heading off now!



I want to thank everyone who responded to me both here and in PM with great suggestions for handling my children's boredom with fun activities. Before this thread I never would have thought they were bored, I just thought they enjoyed misbehaving, and possibly seeing my reaction. Rather, I understand that it is a sensory thing. Thanks for all of your wonderful suggestions!

I got from the thread what I wanted, and also from the many, many PMs (I've never gotten so many!) I understand that I am NOT alone in this! Many children, some much older than mine, feel the need to destroy food, and many parents have resorted to locking up the cabinets or entire kitchen until the children are mature enough to understand that flour and eggs are not playthings. I understand that I will not damage my kids by setting firm bounderies and letting them into the kitchen only when I am there to supervise them. Thank you for that reassurance!

With much appreciation,

Marie
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Old 08-12-2005, 10:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MPJJJ
A 4 year old simply doesn't need unlimited access to the kitchen, especially when he is a very immature 4 year old. It is ironic that so many people feel it is disrespectful to insist that a child ask for food before he gets it, or has supervision while he gets it.
I think many of us here have clearly stated that we disagree with you on this point. I think a 4 YO does, in fact, need access to the kitchen for a variety of reasons (few of them actually having to do with food and water), regardless of maturity. IMHO, my 2 YO needs access to the kitchen. And yes, I do think its shows a fundamental lack of respect to require a child (or anyone else) to come to you and ask permission to eat. That's fine, you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to my opposing one.

But, you asked for ideas, suggestions, and thoughts. You got them, although few seemed to actually be acceptible.

So, I'm giving up. You want to simply lock everything up and assume/hope that this will solve the problem. No other answer, no other possiblity, no other approach is going to do what you need it to do. Great, please move ahead with your plan.

Of course, if your children are making messes to satisfy some sensory need, they will find other things to make messes with. And if they are doing this to get your attention (which worked), they will find something else to do to get your attention. And they won't actually learn anything about having respect for food and, indirectly, money. And the next thing will likely be worse than the kitchen where at least its relatively easy to clean up!

They will learn (maybe) that mommy is the "keeper of the keys" and has all of the power. They might learn to ask for food politely. They will almost certainly learn that they are untrustworthy, at least in the kitchen and maybe they will take that beyond the kitchen.

And when you come back to ask for help when this all escalates, many of us will have learned not to work so hard at giving suggestion.
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Old 08-12-2005, 10:52 PM
 
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There's a bit of an "ick" feeling when someone says a condescending farewell to a thread they started, and waves on the way out "I know from my PM's that I really am doing the right thing no matter what any of you here say....".

Well, if they aren't saying it to you here, there's probably a reason. People tend to save un-gd advice for pm's. That's common. Which only adds to the icky feeling of realizing you just spent time giving someone gd advice, only to have them leave praising advice that was not or could not be posted on the board.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-12-2005, 11:13 PM
 
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Heartmama-- i think a lot of people post only wanting to be supported in what they are already choosing to do. They aren't really asking for variations on a theme. They want to hear from others who are handling similar situations in similar ways.

I am thinking that it's probably OK for her to need reassurance that locks and not being able to supevise children are ok. The OP doesn't sound like an abuser, and perhaps there are lots of things happening in herhome that we are not privvy to. While it seems like such a no-win situation to us, there is nothing we non- punitive MDC parents can do when a person's mind is made up.

I think it's always OK for those of who practice GD and non -punitive, non shaming child rearing to speak up here, however. It doesn't mean that such parenting is this is going to be embraced by others, but we still need to talk about it.
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Old 08-13-2005, 12:43 AM
 
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I do not, at all, think a kitchen lock is abusive, if she chooses to use it. I just wanted to make that clear. I would not presume to know all the dynamics of a family. Sometimes a person who seems unable to give a situation greater flexibility has an issue that later, puts it in perspective (illness, difficult partner, financial crisis, etc.). I am not assuming that is the reason the OP seems inflexible, but I won't presume it's about ice cream either (which some did).

UU mom I completely agree with your post. I did assume she wanted variations and idea's, and a more sincere response here would have been appreciated, but it is what it is

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-13-2005, 03:18 AM
 
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I read about four pages of this and didn't see this idea anywhere. My DH grew up in a house with two younger brothers and all were same age difference as your sons. According to him, this is a "boys will be boys" thing. I'm sure there are exceptions to every rule though. He has tons of stories about how he and his brothers were just extremely destructive and really tried to make messes. That's what it sounds like to me that your sons are doing. They weren't doing it for a reaction and they weren't deprived of anything in the kitchen. But they made messes just to make messes. His dad would use a *snow shovel* to clean up the play room because it got so bad. He told me of a time when he and his brothers would shake the bunk bed back and forth as hard as they could just to see if it would break. And they also made food messes. The problem was remedied when they moved to a place in the country and they would just roam the property playing in the dirt. His happiest childhood times were spent playing outside. I wouldn't take what they're doing too personally. I also don't think locks will work (and they're so expensive!) because that just gives them one more "project" to work on destroying before they reach their goal. Just sounds to me like your kids are stir crazy and they are being boys, which = mess. If there is no backyard, I'd be at the local playground as often as humanly possible in order to help them channel this energy. Hope this helps.

Oh, FWIW, my DH has ironically turned into a wonderful cook and thinks his food messiness may have helped with that.

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Old 08-13-2005, 03:44 AM
 
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That is a completely illogical statement.
Well in my opinion it is not. If my child gets into a cupboard with food that is a potential choking hazard and I do not know that he is eating the food....well this could be a potentially dangerous situation, imo. Therefore if you are not going to be side by side with your dc all day it makes sense to protect them from eating something dangerous. Would you not agree with that?

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Old 08-13-2005, 04:08 AM
 
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You changed your question

Putting away dangerous foods is just common sense.

What safe foods can your child eat? Put that within easy reach. When my son was a toddler I filled ice cube trays each morning with bite sized portions of different foods. He was not a "choker", but I know some toddlers do tend to cram food and need supervision, and that is very important. Again, a safety issue you could address in a number of ways. If you really want idea's I'd be glad to give them!

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Old 08-13-2005, 04:27 AM
 
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I do not understand how I changed my question? I also wasn't really talking about myself though we do have locks on the chemicals. My food cabinets are not locked because my children tell me when they are hungry and I feed them. Now that they are older they ask for a snack and then they can get what they want. Anything that is not safe for them to eat is not out where they can get it.

I was just saying that if they are going into her cabinets unsupervised then there is the potential for danger and what is the big deal with having cabinet locks, kwim? Also my kids ask for something to eat and sometimes I have to say no as it is too close to mealtime. I don't feel there is anything wrong with this, my oldest will sometimes say " Well I am really hungry can I have something to hold me off?" If it not super close to the dinner being ready I will tell him fine he can have something small, but if dinner is almost done then I say no.

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Old 08-13-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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Mamabug your first statement didn't indicate the "food" in question was a known choking hazard.

You're last post raised a second issue. It's already been discussed and made clear that some families here do not think it is respectful for parents to play "keeper of the pantry" at home (kids must ask for all food, they can't have snacks unless parent says so etc.). I just don't agree with your approach, and probably can't answer your first question to your satisfication if it rests on a parenting attitude I do not practice. In our home, I usually ask ds what he'd like for dinner, and then I make that. He likes simple foods and this has never been impractical or backfired in any way for us. If he were to want to eat before the meal he picked was ready, I'd probably remind him it was almost done, and encourage him to find a light snack if he couldn't wait. There is no rule, he isn't forbidden or forced to wait. When he was littler I just had healthy finger foods ready anytime he wanted them. He didn't have to ask or guess, whatever we owned was already cut up and ready where he could find it.

Mother is the word for God on the hearts and lips of all little children--William Makepeace Thackeray
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Old 08-13-2005, 01:16 PM
 
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snip and encourage him to find a light snack if he couldn't wait. There is no rule, he isn't forbidden or forced to wait. When he was littler I just had healthy finger foods ready anytime he wanted them. He didn't have to ask or guess, whatever we owned was already cut up and ready where he could find it.

Heartmama.
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Old 08-13-2005, 01:21 PM
 
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UUmom, back at you!

You know it's funny, this whole thread has made me ask myself why I ever stopped making those ice cube trays for him. He is going through a growing phase and is hungry quite often lately. I think I'm going to need bigger ice cube trays now *LOL*

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Old 08-13-2005, 01:38 PM
 
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Sorry I wasn't clear about that, you know how sometimes it's in your head and you know what you mean but you don't think to write it?

I agree I don't forbid food from my children. When they are hungry they are allowed to eat. And just like you when dinner is almost ready they CAN have a snack, but if dinner is ready in under 5 minutes I ask him to wait because if I am preparing something he wanted and then he fills up on snacks and does not want dinner then I have cooked for nothing. In my book waiting 5 minutes to eat the dinner he asked me for is not being disrespectful. So this may be the way you and I differ as I won't allow a snack when dinner is literally being put on the table.

I hope I have explained myself better? And I do sort of the same thing you do with the ice cube trays though mine is a flat bowl/tray thing with dividers. I fill each section with healthy snaks that they can munch on at will and they never know what I am going to fill it with. Once in a while I will throw in a hersey kiss or two and they will go nuts! They love finding out what is in the tray for the day. And btw my dh totally HATES when I do this. He feels they fill up too much during the day, and I told him too bad, if you are hungry you eat, and so will they

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Old 08-13-2005, 01:55 PM
 
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This is a strange thread. Even the title threw me off. While I can definately feel empathy for the frustration the OP feels -- I just find it really hard to imagine being in her shoes. I would really rather spend some intense days or weeks teaching kitchen skills.... that will last forever.... than marking the kitchen off as "mom's territory." I really fear this strategy will backfire, especially with little boys who might eventually make the assumption that kitchen duties are "women's work."

I was just thinking over the fact I feel irritated when when my kids DO ask me for food between meals! My standard resonse is... "Great idea -- go fix something."

One of the advantages of including children in kitchen duties from a very young age is that they become independent later which can be very helpful. My 8 yo. son makes his own breakfast and lunch, and often his brother's too. And when I want to serve a salad with dinner, DS will make the whole thing start to finish. He empties and fills the dishwasher as well. My 5 yo. can break eggs very well, and pour milk, and enjoys making Jiffy muffin mixes because he can make them independently (except for the oven part.) He can put dishes away in lower cabinets and he can use a stool to put away cans and jars after we grocery shop. He can sort out "bad" fruit and vegetables from the fridge and put them in the compost, then carry out the compost to dump it and rinse the bucket on the way back in. I have *really* come to rely on them for their help with these things, and I would quickly feel overwhelmed if family nourishment was my responsibility alone. My guys eat A LOT.

From time to time I like to cook something by myself for the pleasure of the experience. The kids understand this need, and when I want the kitchen to myself we compromise by setting them up nearby with playdough. They make lots of "pretend" foods while I make real food."

Its very hard for me to picture them kids going into the kitchen and trashing anything. Even when they were 2 and 6 yo. They both feel a strong sense of ownership in the kitchen.... this is our special place to create meals for ourselves and each other. Something we all appreciate! (Thats not to say that things don't get sticky or wet. Of course they do.) Maybe I just have exceptional children -- because I cannot imagine them doing damage "just for fun" or just because they are "boys."
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Old 08-13-2005, 02:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MamaBug
Also my kids ask for something to eat and sometimes I have to say no as it is too close to mealtime. I don't feel there is anything wrong with this, my oldest will sometimes say " Well I am really hungry can I have something to hold me off?" If it not super close to the dinner being ready I will tell him fine he can have something small, but if dinner is almost done then I say no.
I agree with this. If they are going to snack while dinner is on the stove and be too full to eat dinner, why am I even bothering to make it?

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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Old 08-13-2005, 02:43 PM
 
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I agree with this. If they are going to snack while dinner is on the stove and be too full to eat dinner, why am I even bothering to make it?
Appetizers. A few veggies and a tiny bit of dressing, a small bit of bread...all things adults are allowed.

And we make dinner for ourselves and our partners (maybe) and other children. We can do this dinner time thing without forbidding anything and helping the child get what she needs.

I know sometimes i say 5 mnuites, but by the time everyone has washed their hands and settled at the table it's more like 15, and in 15 minutes a small child can go from being pleasant to having a meltdown.

Sometimes I go ahead and put the salad or whatever else on my 6 yr old's plate as the rest of the family saunters on in. Sometimes I even go ahead and start the blessing (May faith in the spirit of life and hope in the community of earth and love in the sacred in ourseves and each other, be ours this day and in all the days to com) while people are still walking towards their chairs.

But eveyone gets what they need in the end.
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Old 08-13-2005, 03:06 PM
 
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Mamabug that post made it much clearer~

I think the key is that in any home you will have preferences, and limits etc. that you all help each other learn to respect. I have always spoken, and expected ds to try to emulate, fairness, and responsibility. Of course if ds asks for a food, I would expect him to only ask if he intended to eat it. I've never really had a problem with this issue. If he snacks while waiting, I probably won't say anything unless I think he's actually filling up. I snack while I wait for food too. If I know it's something that will make him too full to eat, I'll ask him to leave room for the food he requested.

Mamaduck~what a great post! I agree with all of it.

I *am* impressed with what your kids do in the kitchen! Could they teach my ds a few of those skills *LOL*

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Old 08-13-2005, 03:46 PM
 
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Appetizers. A few veggies and a tiny bit of dressing, a small bit of bread...all things adults are allowed.

We, the adults, don't eat while dinner is cooking either, unless there is a party(then our guests do, but we don't...unless dinner is going to be late), then ofcourse the children have appetizers too, then they play instead of eat dinner because they are full. The way my children eat, an appetizer is a full meal. They aren't big eaters. Seriously a full meal for my 9 you is 4 baby carrots, a stick of celery, and 2oz of chicken.

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Old 08-13-2005, 03:59 PM
 
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I do understand where everyone is coming from, but I don't think many of you are thinking about how different families are in their daily life. ppl keep saying things like "If you were hungry you would eat, why shouldn't they?" But in my family NONE of us snack whenever we feel like it. We have Breakfast at 730 or 800am, lunch at 1145 snack at 330 and dinner at 630, period, for ALL of us, grownups AND kids. We don't do a snack before bed because the kids go straight into the bathtub after dinner, then it's a story and bedtime. they go to bed between 8 and 830 every night......because we're tired and are in bed by 9 most nights ourselves. My husband gets up at 530am to get ready for work, and I'm up by 6am. I have coffee, toast and a piece of fruit, for my breakfast, then I make breakfast for the kids when they get up. They usually wake up at 7am. That's not to say we're totally inflexible. If one of the kids is off of their schedule for some reason and didnt' eat well at meal time I'll give them a few crackers or piece of fruit inbetween time. And they are welcome to get drinks from the kitchen and fridge whenever they live. We've just never made between meal snacking a habit in our home so it doesn't occur to them to do it normally.

-Heather

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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We, the adults, don't eat while dinner is cooking either, unless there is a party(then our guests do, but we don't...unless dinner is going to be late), then ofcourse the children have appetizers too, then they play instead of eat dinner because they are full. The way my children eat, an appetizer is a full meal. They aren't big eaters. Seriously a full meal for my 9 you is 4 baby carrots, a stick of celery, and 2oz of chicken.
: Egocentricity at play. I always put out veggies while I am cooking, & i am bad about sampling. i also do let my dd start her meal (hence my salad example) as the other older, more patient folks are meandering about and if she needs to.

Although, as long we as are nitpicking, you could go head and serve one carrot, 1/2 stick of celery and .5 oz of chicken--which would only mean that the child has a little less to eat at the 'official' meal.

But any particular post can be picked apart. I think the spirit of it all is helping a child get what they need without arbitrary adult controls
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:06 PM
 
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: Egocentricity at play. I always put out veggies while I am cooking, & i am bad about sampling. i also do let my dd start her meal (hence my salad example) as the other older, more patient folks are meandering about and if she needs to.

Although, as long we as are nitpicking, you could go head and serve one carrot, 1/2 stick of celery and .5 oz of chicken--which would only mean that the child has a little less to eat at the 'official' meal.

But any particular post can be picked apart. I think the spirit of it all is helping a child get what they need without arbitrary adult controls

LOL, but you see, if the meal isn't cooked yet, the chicken would still be raw

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:08 PM
 
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We, the adults, don't eat while dinner is cooking either,.

Which is fine for adults, butis it fair for adults to decide if/when children are hungry? Adults get the choice, children don't, they just have to go along with what the adults want, and that's my biggest issue here.

Kids are controlled, but the adults get to feel their own hunger and go ahead and eat if they want to-- then they also get to dedide their children's hunger.

Do you see where i am coming from, at all?

Have you read any Alfie Kohn? Or John Holt?
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:10 PM
 
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LOL, but you see, if the meal isn't cooked yet, the chicken would still be raw
Raw carrots and raw celery, anyone?
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Old 08-13-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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Raw carrots and raw celery, anyone?

And oh yeah, if the chilcken is still raw, it's more than 5 minutes until dinner.
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