We have a rule here at our house that all food has to be eaten at the table in the kitchen or outside. My kids are the world's messiset eaters on the planet and even at the table it ends up everywhere!
We go over this all the time and everyday they still take their food out of the kitchen. We don't really have a problem at mealtime but more or less just with snacks. They are 6 and 3. Today while I was watering the garden after lunchtime, dd (6), made a bed on my bedroom floor for ds (3) and made him a large snack complete with milk and water and put in on a makeshift tray and was feeding him. Of course much if it was all over the floor. It was a rather sweet game but at the same time I felt really frustrated because just this morning we had gone over where it is ok to eat.
I let them mover the game to the kitchen and had them clean it up. What am I missing here? What kind of a consequence can I impose to stop this behavior?
Ok I know that sounds snarky but it sounds like your 6 year old is not old enough/mature enough/capable enough to be left alone,even for short periods of time, especially while caring for his 3 year old sibling. If food around the house is an on going problem and you literally had a conversation about it a few hours earlier than what you are doing is not working.
So my only suggestions are to either not leave them alone for longer periods of time (reasonable) or set up your kitchen/pantry so as not to make food accessible to them (unreasonable).
What did you do when you discovered the picnic in the bedroom?
Pardon me while I
The picnic is a great idea, but, on the kitchen floor. Not in the bedroom.
Is your kitchen big enough to make a small fort for them to play food? Six year old is probably ready to start some cooking and foot prep, maybe she just needs her own space to do it. Target has some really cute kid's cooking/baking sets.
Beyond that, I don't blame you... I don't allow food outside the kitchen either.
A dog solves that problem for us. He is not allowed in the kitchen or around the table when we are eating/cooking - so that is the safest place to eat without being bothered.
I don't know, I'm not a big stickler about food being kept to one area because it's never become that messy, with the exception of popcorn and between the dog and my obsessive need to vacuum that's not a big deal.
I would expect if that is one of your rules, that by age 6 it should be followed. I'm not big on punishments/consequences so I would probably just remind my kid and keep a close eye on him until the rule "stuck". I really like the idea of creating a fun, ok place to picnic and eat food. Maybe a corner in the kitchen or something, that sounds like fun.
Candace, Married to dh , Mom to ds (8) , Gavin (9/30/10 - 12/19/10) and cautiously expecting our 4-29-12
Mine still do it sometimes and it drives me nuts. The ants don't mind it though, nor does the dog. I finally had to get mean though, if I saw them wandering with food I took it. Even if it was a super delicious cookie. But most days I've got 9 or 10 kids under 17 in my house, if I'm not iron fisted about certain things I'd be living in a trash heap.
They have loads of places they can eat thoough, at the table, the bar, or the island in the kitchen, or any of the decks, or outside in the yard.
Mine need to ask if it's alright before they make a snack, so that cuts down on "surprise" messes. Anyone seen wandering with food either has it taken immediately or is given one reminder, depending on age. I have too hard a time controlling the bug issue in this house as it is, especially in the summer, that it's not something I'm apt to be very flexible about.
I'm nice about it but very firm. If the food is taken outside of the kitchen they are done with it/it gets put away. They have recently occassionally brought cups of water out and I remind them and they bring it right back, but in our house all children eat in the kitchen only.
Unfortunately, I think you do need to be a little closer to what is going on if your kids are unable to follow the regular house rules when you are not within eye-shot. Maybe just a short period of time where you are very very consistent would remind them and you'd be more free again.
my parents taught me to eat over the plate whether at the dinner table or at a picnic. teaching kids not to make a mess with their food just because it's good manners may be an option. i just didn't tolerate a big mess from my kids. i never saw the point of the mess after they could negotiate a spoon and fork properly. my kids ate at the table unless i fed them a snack like apple slices (which don't make a mess on the bedroom floor).
I agree with those who said to take the snack away if they wander outside the kitchen. I would also, put the food where they can't get into it. I don't think that's unreasonable at all.
Sarah, partner to J and mom to DD1 April 30th, 2002 and DD2 May 5th, 2012.