How long do kids have snack time? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 101 Old 09-06-2011, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't have snack time after like kindergarten, but my dd is in 4th grade and still having daily snacks. I wonder if kids are too reliant on snacks. She has a good breakfast and IMO should be able to go through to lunch. She doesn't need a mid-morning snack during the summer - she's too busy playing. I'm just questioning the need, and wondering when it ends.
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#2 of 101 Old 09-06-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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In elementary, the kids have a recess period between school starting and lunch. It's 15 minutes and while it's not called "snack" they have the option of eating then. Some teachers really encourage kids to eat a little something during that time.

 

Personally, I think it's important to have regular breaks scheduled throughout the day. Whether they eat or not makes no difference to me but just the action of getting up and letting your mind relax helps keep the classroom a focused learning environment.

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#3 of 101 Old 09-06-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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#4 of 101 Old 09-06-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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DD1 is in 3rd grade, they have a morning 30 minute recess. They are allowed to eat a snack if they want one, she never does and hasn't since 1st grade. Her school offers that break until 8th grade which is the grade her school goes to. 


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#5 of 101 Old 09-06-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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My dd gets that morning break too.  Like the pps I think it's quite important.  Besides having that time to de-stress, relax (take a break!) some kids actually do need a snack at that time of day.  Dd often is not hungry in the morning, and so eats a small breakfast and a substantial morning snack.  I remember getting a morning break even all throughout highschool and I remember being ravenous by the time I got to my snack (fast metabolism)!

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#6 of 101 Old 09-07-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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I wonder if your school has a high % of kids who either leave the house crazy early to get there and therefore breakfast was a very long time ago, or if you have a lot of kids who the school suspects don't get breakfast.

 

My sister used to teach in a school in a small town that served a large rural area, and many of the kids had nearly an hour commute to get to school. That's what popped into my head when I read your post.


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#7 of 101 Old 09-07-2011, 08:58 AM
 
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Ours does it through K, but it does pop up. My DS is in 4th grade and they have an option for a morning snack, if they want it. The exception is because of scheduling - we have recess then lunch and the 4th graders eat last. For a kid that ate breakfast at 7:00, had PE at 10:00 and then recess at 12:30, lunch at 1:00 can be a very long time away. He hadn't asked for a snack and we didn't know it was an option until last week...so he doesn't take a snack.

 

I would like to say that I sometimes think parents force a reliance on snacks on kids. Not just snacks, but really junky ones. DS is playing football and we STILL have to deal with post-game "treat bags" filled with candy and chips. These kids eat a big lunch, play a game at 2:00 and could eat after the game if they were hungry...but instead of making it an option, a parent stands there and passes out these bags. Last week had donuts, cheese curls, chips, suckers and SIX different types of fun-size candy. And gum. And fake juice.  I wonder if these snacks will ever end!!


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#8 of 101 Old 09-07-2011, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wonder if your school has a high % of kids who either leave the house crazy early to get there and therefore breakfast was a very long time ago, or if you have a lot of kids who the school suspects don't get breakfast.

 

My sister used to teach in a school in a small town that served a large rural area, and many of the kids had nearly an hour commute to get to school. That's what popped into my head when I read your post.


I live in a small affluent town with mainly two-parent families. There are rural areas around us but they have different school districts.
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#9 of 101 Old 09-07-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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My kids' elementary school has snack time all the way through 6th grade.  DS is in 4th this year and generally didn't take a snack last year.  It just wasn't important to him.  DD, meanwhile, had a snack everyday through 6th grade.  In 7th she kept granola bars in her locker for emergencies.

 

I think it's a variable thing--- some kids aren't hungry when they wake up in the morning, some kids need to eat more often, some kids end up with a late lunch (or early lunch) and need a snack on the other side, etc... I think it's great that your school allows them some designated time to have a break, but if your child personally doesn't need a snack don't make them eat one.  In 6th grade I finally said I thought it was crazy we were doing snacks during math club (which was only 1.5 hours) and all the parents agreed, lol, so we finally gave that up.


 

 

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#10 of 101 Old 09-07-2011, 01:09 PM
 
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i have snack time and I'm a grown up.

 

The school we are looking at for ds does snack through 8th grade (because it is a K-8)

 

I think that having a snack is way better than "making" it until lunch time.  Having a break time to chat and eat a little something is awesome.  Now of course I am assuming one is not eating a candy bar for snack, but an apple or yogurt or cheese and crackers etc.  

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#11 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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My DS had it up until this year, he just started 4th grade. He always had an am and pm snack. The items were donated by parents and were recommended that they be healthy and easy to deal with. I think snack time is beneficial. Not all kids have eaten a good breakfast or lunch so this can help with some of those issues.


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#12 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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As a mom of a child who will only eat 6 bites at any one time, I'm grateful that she has a time for a morning snack.  Kids bring their own, so its not required but it does mean that she might eat a little something and she needs every bite I can get into her.  Here the elementary schools (K-5) have a time for snack during the morning recess, but it is eliminated in the middle school schedule.

 

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#13 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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As far as I know, snack time goes all the way through middle school.  They're there for seven hours, then tack on 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon for the commute and that's almost another hour.  Do you go eight hours and eat only one time?  Also, lunch isn't bang in the middle of the day, they eat an early-ish lunch (which is great as my daughter has breakfast at 6.30 and isn't home till 4.15 - that's a long time on whatever lunch she can cram down in twenty minutes) and a mid afternoon snack.  She's starving by the time she gets home.  All my friends' kids are starving when they get home.  I always remember being hungry after school, right on through high school.

 

Most people can't focus, never mind behave, when they're starving. 

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#14 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 10:43 AM
 
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I remember my son's 3rd grade teacher talking about snacks. But not since then. My younger DS didn't have them last year in 1st grade.

 

I think the problem with snack time at our school is not all the kids are going to have something. The kindergarten teacher would make out a "snack schedule" so that you would bring a snack for the whole class once a month rather than sending something in every day. And I think that's what my son's 3rd grade teacher was trying to do but I don't think she had anything official. If the teacher doesn't organize something, I think it ends up that some kids bring in something every day and then other kids have to sit there without anything. So maybe that makes teachers stop doing it?

 

My son is now in 6th grade and has to go to the jr high for math at 7:30. Then he goes to his elem school where the 6th graders don't eat lunch until 12 or 12:15. So he usually brings something along to eat after algebra because otherwise he eats breakfast at 6:30 and then doesn't get lunch until noon and that is a pretty long time. My 8th grader starts at 7:30 too and also doesn't eat until 11:50. I've tried to get her to keep something in her locker but she is very rules oriented and said that they are not allowed to eat in the halls. I figured she could grab a couple grapes or cheese cubes and eat them on the way to class but she won't. She also says that she can't keep a snack in her locker because she has no room. She is bitter at the unfairness of her having to have a narrow locker even though she is in 8th grade and believe me, I have heard quite a bit about this already! Those of you who have 13 yo will understand I'm sure. nut.gif

 

I don't think kids need a snack after a sports. Why can't their parents just give them something if they feel they need it? Not everyone does. I also don't think that my church needs to do a snack during Sunday school for up to 3rd graders. I am pretty sure that most kids could make it through a 1 hour class and then have a snack with everyone else at coffee hour afterwards. They will only give them water and a couple crackers so it's not like they are getting cake and skittles but I still don't think they need it.

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#15 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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In our school, the preschool does the sign up sheet thing so everyone gets something. In elementary, if I remember correctly, it was much the same. 5-8, snacks like granola bars, chips, pretezels, etc are on the supply list and kept in the class room for quick grab in the class room if a child wants it.  But otherwise not an organized snack time.  this way not forcing anyone to eat and there is enough for all.

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#16 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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At our school (small program w/in the public school system), each family is responsible for snacks during one week of the year. New families usually share a week. It's a PITA, on the one hand, but on the other they've sort of made snack time a part of the curriculum, in that the kids eat with the same mixed age group every day. It's community building, and they learn manners (waiting until everyone's there to eat) and sharing (seconds have to be negotiated).

On a more pragmatic note, I struggle to get my kid to eat first thing in the morning--she's just not hungry then--so I'm happy that there's a snack mid-morning

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#17 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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Mine has to eat so she can take medication and I pretty much have to stand over her and encourage her to eat, bite by bite. 

 

What is the point of making each family provide a snack for a week?  Kids can't just bring their own snack?  Is it so hard to pack a juice box and some cheese and crackers?  Why do they all need the same thing?  And what about families who get free lunch?  Do they also have to buy a week's worth of snack for 20 kids, or do they get to opt out?

 

At my daughter's school, snack is mid afternoon and everyone takes a drink and a snack or they take a snack and get a cup and water from the water fountain (which a lot of kids seem to do).

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#18 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 12:29 PM
 
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Dd is in 4th grade, and has snack this year due to a late-ish lunch time. She gets on the bus at 8:10, and lunch isn't until 12:40. Her teacher allows them to bring in a snack that they can have at about 11:00. It's totally optional. Dd hasn't even asked to take one in yet. She's not a big eater. I was subbing for a kindergarten class at my kids' school last week. It was a kindergarten class. They have lunch at 11:00, and then some of them don't get on the bus to go home until 4. They definitely needed an afternoon snack. Different teachers do it differently. Dd had a snack in kindergarten and 1st grade, then not again until this year. Ds is in 2nd grade and has never been in a class that had snack time. It hasn't seemed to bother him. I always pack the kids a big lunch, so there's no fear they'll go hungry. :) As a future teacher, I do worry about students who don't seem to get enough to eat at home. I'll always keep some healthy snacks on hand to ensure no students in my class are going hungry. I'll also listen to parents, and if they believe their child needs a snack during the day I'll plan for a snack time.

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#19 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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I live in a small affluent town with mainly two-parent families.


I doubt that correlates to all kids eating breakfast. shrug.gif

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#20 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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For young kids, their parents are responsible for them eating breakfast, but at some point it's the kid's responsibility to eat breakfast before school. If my dd didn't eat breakfast, she'd be hungry during school, and the next day she'd probably eat breakfast. I understand snacks for younger kids, but I think once kids are in 3rd or 4th grade, they ought to be able to handle the responsibility of eating before school. I think snacks are way way overdone. My dd has lunch at like 10:30 or something, but they need a morning snack? And if they can't go a couple of hours without eating, why don't they have an afternoon snack between 10:30 and 3:30?
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#21 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 02:26 PM
 
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For young kids, their parents are responsible for them eating breakfast, but at some point it's the kid's responsibility to eat breakfast before school. If my dd didn't eat breakfast, she'd be hungry during school, and the next day she'd probably eat breakfast.

 

yes, but if that doesn't happen, teacher is stuck with a bunch of children who cannot focus because they are hungry. What's the point in that?


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#22 of 101 Old 09-08-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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At my kids' school kids are given time to eat a snack out of their lunch right before the morning recess. My dd is in a grade 7/8 class and the teacher encourages her students to bring healthy snacks to eat during class if they need to. She is firm that the snacks must be healthy and she says that it helps kids who are going through huge changes and growth spurts to do better in school.  

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#23 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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yes, but if that doesn't happen, teacher is stuck with a bunch of children who cannot focus because they are hungry. What's the point in that?


I agree. Also, while parents should be responsible for their children eating breakfast, there are some who aren't or maybe even can't be. In a perfect world, every parent would make sure that their child began their school day with a full belly. I know that doesn't always happen, though.

 

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#24 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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For young kids, their parents are responsible for them eating breakfast, but at some point it's the kid's responsibility to eat breakfast before school. If my dd didn't eat breakfast, she'd be hungry during school, and the next day she'd probably eat breakfast. I understand snacks for younger kids, but I think once kids are in 3rd or 4th grade, they ought to be able to handle the responsibility of eating before school. 


It should work like that but it doesn't in every household and this is one way that teachers are looking out for those kids who don't have the stability that your dd does.

 

There wasn't always food to eat in my house in the morning. Even kids who are responsible enough to get themselves up on time to eat can't do much about it if there isn't food - and this happens in all kinds of neighbourhoods.

 

Then there were the mornings where there was plenty of food but all I could think of was how to get out of the house before getting hurt or the mornings that my stomach was so upset by all the craziness and violence that had gone on already that morning that I could not have swallowed a thing. 

 

I lived in a well-to-do neighbourhood in a nice part of the city. I grew up in with parents who were well-dressed, articulate and had all the social graces to look like a healthy, normal family - except that it wasn't. The bruises I came to school with were not visible to teachers. No one would have believed me if I had said there was nothing but wine and sour milk in the fridge that morning. 

 

If there had been a breakfast program in my school or snack times I really would have benefited. It didn't matter what neighbourhood I lived in or what my family income was. It wasn't about me learning responsibility. As adults responsible for the well being of kids during the day, I think it is smart and right for teachers to provide snack time through elementary school kids. Even if it is only one or two kids in a class, there will always be students in every school who really need it. 

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#25 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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If there had been a breakfast program in my school or snack times I really would have benefited. It didn't matter what neighbourhood I lived in or what my family income was. It wasn't about me learning responsibility. As adults responsible for the well being of kids during the day, I think it is smart and right for teachers to provide snack time through elementary school kids. Even if it is only one or two kids in a class, there will always be students in every school who really need it. 

 

But who is going to provide the snacks? If the school will, it would work out. But what if the teacher says every child has to bring a snack for himself/herself from home? If there's no food in the fridge, what do you bring for a snack? And if the teacher makes up a snack schedule where parents are supposed to send something once a month for every child, there isn't necessarily going to be something every day. I think as kids get older, some parents don't think they need a snack and wouldn't send one in. Then you are also going to get kids forgetting to bring the schedule home, parents forgetting to send something in and parents who can't afford to send much of anything in. I don't know if these are reasons why our school doesn't have snack time in the older grades, I'm just guessing.

 

Fortunately, our school has a breakfast program. Unfortunately, many of the kids who are eligible for free breakfast don't get there early enough to have time to eat it. It's a tough situation and I don't know what the answer is. 

 

 

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#26 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 11:30 AM
 
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What is the point of making each family provide a snack for a week?  Kids can't just bring their own snack?  Is it so hard to pack a juice box and some cheese and crackers?  Why do they all need the same thing?  And what about families who get free lunch?  Do they also have to buy a week's worth of snack for 20 kids, or do they get to opt out?

 

At my daughter's school, snack is mid afternoon and everyone takes a drink and a snack or they take a snack and get a cup and water from the water fountain (which a lot of kids seem to do).



I said already, I think. Having them all eat the same thing is about community building--it's a family school (kids who want to bring their own snack can, but they have to wait until recess proper starts to eat it). K-6 in three classrooms. Anyone with a financial hardship would be quietly helped by the PTA or excused from the responsibility. And it's not 20 kids; it's more like 60-64.


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#27 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It should work like that but it doesn't in every household and this is one way that teachers are looking out for those kids who don't have the stability that your dd does.

 

There wasn't always food to eat in my house in the morning. Even kids who are responsible enough to get themselves up on time to eat can't do much about it if there isn't food - and this happens in all kinds of neighbourhoods.

 

Then there were the mornings where there was plenty of food but all I could think of was how to get out of the house before getting hurt or the mornings that my stomach was so upset by all the craziness and violence that had gone on already that morning that I could not have swallowed a thing. 

 

I lived in a well-to-do neighbourhood in a nice part of the city. I grew up in with parents who were well-dressed, articulate and had all the social graces to look like a healthy, normal family - except that it wasn't. The bruises I came to school with were not visible to teachers. No one would have believed me if I had said there was nothing but wine and sour milk in the fridge that morning. 

 

If there had been a breakfast program in my school or snack times I really would have benefited. It didn't matter what neighbourhood I lived in or what my family income was. It wasn't about me learning responsibility. As adults responsible for the well being of kids during the day, I think it is smart and right for teachers to provide snack time through elementary school kids. Even if it is only one or two kids in a class, there will always be students in every school who really need it. 


They actually do have a breakfast program.
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#28 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 11:50 AM
 
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I'm perfectly happy with the snack, kids are constantly growing and somedays what I fed them just wasn't enough.  Even though it was yesterday.  Our school has a policy that the kids can not share food.  However, DD1 and DD2's teachers allow them to.  Especially since some kids don't come to school with a snack.  We bring a bag of apples at the beginning of the week or a Costco size box of cheezits or kids cliff bars.  Those are practically meals on their own.  I need to know they are getting enough of the right stuff.  And I certainly don't mind paying 5 to 10 a week just to make sure the other kids are getting something good too.

 

We didn't have snack in school when I was a kid until Jr. High.  My hippy teacher built us a little garden out back and we LOVED IT!  He would send a two kids every morning to go get berries or carrots.  It was pretty cool.  Once winter hit we brought stuff from home.  And in the spring we planted the garden for his next class.

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#29 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 08:45 PM
 
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Our school does snack time through elementary school, which here is 5th grade. Our school is signed up with a great fruits and vegetables program (this one I think) and they are getting a healthy snack.

 

This particular school has a large low income population so the more healthy food they can give kids opportunities for the better.

 

This school also has kids who had to be on the bus over an hour before school starts in some cases. They are often still to tired to eat that early or are simply hungry again by snack time.

 

We have learned a lot in the 30 years since I was my own children's age about how dips in blood sugar effect focus and concentration and about the health benefits of frequent small meals. I really can't come up with a downside to having a healthy morning snack at school.


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#30 of 101 Old 09-09-2011, 10:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

i have snack time and I'm a grown up.

 

I think that having a snack is way better than "making" it until lunch time.  Having a break time to chat and eat a little something is awesome.  Now of course I am assuming one is not eating a candy bar for snack, but an apple or yogurt or cheese and crackers etc.  


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and, I believe (and have been told by numerous health care providers of various persuasions and professions) that it is healthier to eat smaller amounts more frequently.  I love breakfast, and generally have second breakfast or morning snack.  If I have to "make it" until lunch I am generally too hungry, crabby, and feel tired after eating.  I think snacking is a healthy habit (as long as you are eating when hungry and eating good food).

 

I encourage my kids to eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full.  I don't see myself ever wondering if they "need" the snacktime.  I want them to learn to listen to their bodies so that they will be able to make healthy choices for themselves and have a good relationship with food and eating.

 

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