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We have a teeny toddler (23 pounds at almost 3 years old) and are working to get to the bottom of what may be even *more* food allergies. So that is important here.

But... that's not such a big issue that I don't want input from moms of kids without size issues!

We've gotten into a bad habit here-- snacks in bed after bedtime. DS is not necessarily a picky eater, but is definitely a distracted one, and while I do my best to make food available all day long, he asks for something to eat very frequently after lying down, even if he eats a "rib-sticking" snack before bed.

My question is how old you think a toddler has to be to understand "no, you may not have a snack, you should have eaten more dinner." Unconvinced that he understands that in a way that will cause him to eat more the next day, I have gotten into the habit of reminding him that unless he eats more [breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner] that he will be hungry at bedtime. But at 2 years 8 months can he really understand that what he does or doesn't do at 7 p.m. will cause him to feel uncomfortable an hour or two later?

For now, we comply, and take him sliced apples. As this behavior emerged, I tried saying no a couple of times, and invariably those were the nights he would wake at 2 a.m., crying that he was hungry. AND if I didn't give in at 2 a.m., I would hope that he would wake up ravenous... and it never worked. Desperate to get calories into him as we are, I now no longer beat around the bush. I figure that a good night's sleep and a few more calories trumps sleeping all night with a mouthful of fruit sugar... but not indefinitely.

Advice?
 

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hmm...not sure. Our kids frequently ask for something right before going up to do their teeth. (Bedtime routine is teeth, then usually a story from dh and a song from me, then lights out and sleep.) I'm fine with that, as I'd rather they eat than wake up hungry. We try to give them something like cheese or nuts that will fill them up.

But, I personally wouldn't do snacks in bed. We have a house rule that there is no food it the bedrooms. It applies to everyone, including me and dh. The only time I might make an exception (hasn't happened yet) is if someone was too sick to get up. Usually, if someone is really sick around here, they hobble down to the couch, and spend the day there.

So - I don't see a problem with eating right before bed, but I'm not onboard with eating in bed. Is this causing any specific problems?
 

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Storm bride, I'm right there with you on all points!

I would like to add, though, that around that age DD started utilizing a series of stall tactics. She knew that I'd cave in and give her food or water or whatever and that she could delay bedtime by asking for them. Unfortunately, it's hard to know when she was genuinly hungry so I started making bedtime snacks as boring as possible. She had eat her snack at the dining room table away from the distraction of other people and the TV. If she was hungry, she'd finish it off and sometimes even ask for more (which I got her). If she was just trying to stall, she'd suddenly "be full" after 2 bites. Either way, I wasn't denying her food but she pretty quickly learned that asking for food when she wasn't hungry certainly wasn't going to get her very far.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by crazydiamond View Post
Storm bride, I'm right there with you on all points!

I would like to add, though, that around that age DD started utilizing a series of stall tactics. She knew that I'd cave in and give her food or water or whatever and that she could delay bedtime by asking for them. Unfortunately, it's hard to know when she was genuinly hungry so I started making bedtime snacks as boring as possible. She had eat her snack at the dining room table away from the distraction of other people and the TV. If she was hungry, she'd finish it off and sometimes even ask for more (which I got her). If she was just trying to stall, she'd suddenly "be full" after 2 bites. Either way, I wasn't denying her food but she pretty quickly learned that asking for food when she wasn't hungry certainly wasn't going to get her very far.
Oh, yes - mine both do the stalling thing. Snacks are one item, chosen by me or dh (sometimes, we give two options, but it's not a "ask for whatever you want" thing), and have to be eaten at the dining table.

They do get a bit of water in bed some nights. I bring in the glass from the bathroom and they each get a few sips. I don't really have an issue with water in the bedrooms, though...it doesn't have the potential to attract bugs or rodents.
 

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A few thoughts- I think you're right that he's WAY too young to make that connection. My dd is 4.5 and really just now starting to get this idea.

We also don't allow food in bed. If I have to get up anyway, then the hungry kid is hauling bum down to the kitchen to eat with me. I don't deliver in the middle of the night


Now, if I think it's stalling, I am not above making the whole process a pain and ensuring that teeth are brushed again after


-Angela
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
They do get a bit of water in bed some nights. I bring in the glass from the bathroom and they each get a few sips. I don't really have an issue with water in the bedrooms, though...it doesn't have the potential to attract bugs or rodents.
Oh I do this too! It's funny how alike we are! I leave the glass on her dresser and she's free to get up and drink as much of it as she likes. Before I started doing this I'd get "I'm thirsty" a hundred times. . .now that she can get it without intervention, it's amazing how she's more likely to go to bed after a drink or two.
 

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I think it's a stall tactic as well. If he is genuinely wants the food and this has been happening often, then why not just make the snack a part of the night time routine before you get to the bed and in the spot where snacks/meals are usually eaten.
 

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I don't know...a bedtime snack is part of DD's routine, usually a very small bowl of cereal or just a glass of milk, though last night she requested avocado. And we do allow her to have it in bed (and we brush her teeth there).

She was also low on the weight chart (and a terribly slow eater/drinker) when she was younger so we were not in the habit of restricting the time/place of food and drink. She is now a champion eater, but the snack remains part of the routine. I never really thought of it as a problem.


I do understand, though, the desire to encourage eating regular meals...If DD does not want to eat dinner (if she is not hungry at the time or if she is just being, well, snotty), I just leave it out for her and tell her can have it when she is hungry, but no snacks in place of dinner. Most nights she does eat at least some of it on her own.
 

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We have a no food upstairs rule, so no snacks in bed. Lately, ds has been trying to stall bedtime with "I"m hungry", so now I give him a 30 minute warning before bedtime and let him know that this is the time to decide if he needs a snack (or drink other than water). Bedtime is too late to make that decision.
 

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I will be the dissenter - if only to offer a difference of opinion


I look at the issue a couple of ways...

1) If you woke up hungry at 2:00a, starving even - where is hurts, or were hungry just before you went to bed - you would most likely go down and get an apple or whatever. Its hard to sleep when you are hungry. Why should your child not have the some opportunity.

2) The human body functions better when sugar/protein/vitamin etc levels remain costant, or above a certain level. night time is very hard for little bodies that are just learning to regulate themselves - his body may be needing something to keep his levels up, so that he is able to function (yes, even in sleep our bodies have to keep up)

3) I suspect my dd will eventually be like yours (at 19.5months she weights 18lbs). I have the benefit of my husband...he has a ridiculously fast metabolism, his body just burns through food quicker than anyone I have seen. I suspect dd is like this. She eats throughout the day, all day. She isnt always starving, but she is always hungry...I feel it would be wrong of me to not give her food when she is hungry - her body is telling her that she is, its not my right to ignore it (IMO)

thats why I think you should give him food...

suggestions..

1) Id leave a healthy snack beside his bed, or if the issue truly is you dont want him eating *in* bed, leave it in a safe place outside of his bedroom. If he is hungry, he can get it.

2) I suspect, that if it is a stalling tactic, once he realizes that it doesnt stall bedtime b/c the snack is always available then he will either eat it because he is hungry, or not and go to bed all the same.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by poiyt View Post
I will be the dissenter - if only to offer a difference of opinion


I look at the issue a couple of ways...

1) If you woke up hungry at 2:00a, starving even - where is hurts, or were hungry just before you went to bed - you would most likely go down and get an apple or whatever. Its hard to sleep when you are hungry. Why should your child not have the some opportunity.

2) The human body functions better when sugar/protein/vitamin etc levels remain costant, or above a certain level. night time is very hard for little bodies that are just learning to regulate themselves - his body may be needing something to keep his levels up, so that he is able to function (yes, even in sleep our bodies have to keep up)

thats why I think you should give him food...

Yes to this. I am much happier when my daughter eats a good dinner and a good bedtime snack and sleeps through the night, but that's a rare occasion. She just gets too distracted to eat sometimes. Let me tell you, when I was pregnant, I often woke up around 3 am hungry for a snack. I would have been furious if my DH had said "Well, you should have eaten more at dinner, so go back to sleep". Our rule is that a middle of the night snack is acceptable (we make it TLC crackers which are low on crumble factor, and not too exciting and a sippy of water).

I would probably institute a bedtime snack at your house before teeth brushing as a routine. I'm not sure 3 year olds are ready for only 4 meals/snacks a day. Up until 5 years or so, I think that 3 snacks and 3 meals is pretty standard. In kindergarten, they still have morning and afternoon snack in addition to lunch.

P.S. Apples are high in xylitol, so a mouth full of fruit sugar might not be so bad. If it really bothers you, cheddar cheese is wonderful at raising the pH in the mouth if you want an after-brushing snack.

Good luck!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by alegna View Post
Sadly, around here they don't.


-Angela
That is completely bogus. As a 2nd grader, my mom still packed me a string cheese and raisin snack for mid-morning, and I needed it (I was a grade ahead, so age 6, but still).

Here, they collect boxes of crackers/fruit snacks/granola bars from the parents of the room, and they distribute those and milk every morning! We have full day kindergarten here, so I don't know if they leave PM snack for after school....
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pandora665 View Post
That is completely bogus. As a 2nd grader, my mom still packed me a string cheese and raisin snack for mid-morning, and I needed it (I was a grade ahead, so age 6, but still).

Here, they collect boxes of crackers/fruit snacks/granola bars from the parents of the room, and they distribute those and milk every morning! We have full day kindergarten here, so I don't know if they leave PM snack for after school....
We have full day K here too. Most elementary schools here don't have any snack times at all. Once in a blue moon you'll find one that allows a morning snack.

-Angela
 

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I would just give him cheese as a bed time snack. I wouldn't worry about the discipline factor when you're trying to get him to gain weight. If you're worried about his teeth, you can wipe them down with xylitol (like Spiffies) after his snack. But if his body is telling him to eat, then that's what he needs. It also depends on YOUR need for order...if you're afraid of crumbs in bed, then give him something that won't make a mess. I personally don't think food has to be in a specific place or at a specific time...I think it'd be a lot healthier if we listened more to our bodies for hunger clues than external sources such as time or other people. Just my opinion
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by poiyt View Post
1) If you woke up hungry at 2:00a, starving even - where is hurts, or were hungry just before you went to bed - you would most likely go down and get an apple or whatever. Its hard to sleep when you are hungry. Why should your child not have the some opportunity.
I agree. My DD doesn't always eat well at dinner but I make sure she has a snack before bed, and sometimes that snack is a PB&J sandwich or sometimes it's Goldfish or dry cereal, but she gets something. I'd hate for her to go to bed hungry and she wouldn't tell me if she was hungry. I'm the type of person that absolutely can not get to sleep if I'm hungry.
 

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I wouldn't give him food in bed. When My dd asked for some I denied since the beginning. If she insisted, I'd make her get up, dress, eat, brush her teeth and go to bed. I remember she getting very upset and didn't ask me again.
 

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How long before bedtime was his dinner? Kids need to 'graze' a lot. It's very possible that he DID eat until he was full at dinnertime, and is now hungry again, so it's not necessarily fair to just tell him he needed to eat more earlier.

Of course, most adults would be healthier if we 'grazed' more as well. There's lots of evidence that numerous small meals are better for us than fewer large ones. So I'm all for letting him have a dinner then an evening snack later.

I ALWAYS had a bedtime snack when I was growing up. I probably did use it as a stalling tactic once in awhile, but 99% of the time I really did feel that I needed it. It was part of our household routine just as much as any meal.

My son's bedtime routine (he's almost 11) includes a bedtime snack. I confess that until recently, I was in the camp of "you should have eaten more at dinner!!!" assuming that he was stalling. Of course, he's older than yours and better able to understand. I was so sick of him getting into bed and THEN saying "but I'm HUNGRYYYY I'm going to DIE !!!!"

But then we implemented a new bedtime routine (we didn't really have one at all previously) which includes a snack... I remembered how I had always had one myself and realized it really wasn't fair to deny it to him... and there are NO more problems. His routine starts with a winding-down period where there's no more video games, etc. He does a few minutes of room tidying then has a healthy snack. Then quiet time (reading, drawing, whatever) for about 20 minutes. Then brush teeth and into pajamas and bed. I read to him for 15 minutes or so, and it's lights out.

Sometimes he still doesn't eat a BIG supper, and I wonder if he's just distracted or what, or maybe he's honestly just not very hungry that time of day. But it's okay, because he has something healthy later. It all works out. IMO food should be pretty far removed from "discipline" -- sure, keep food out of bedrooms if that's important for your household, but don't turn eating into a battle or anything like that. If they're constantly asking for food, turn it into part of the routine. If it IS just a stalling tactic, then they won't eat much and they'll be forced to do something else to stall (which should make it more obvious that that's what it is). But if there's a chance that it's NOT... and that's a very good chance... then we should feed them!
 
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