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Author Topic: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?  (Read 15709 times)

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Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« on: December 23, 2012, 01:23:31 PM »
When friends visit me recently, it turns out their kids (age 8 and 13) are not allowed to help themselves to food or drink from the kitchen at home. They ask permission for what they want from parents. I found out because I had snacks out and sodas and the kids asked parent if they could ask me for some then asked me if they could eat, and my friend said this is what they do everyhwere (my friend didn't want her kids have soda so I got them water) when I said that there wasn't a need to ask permission in my house as guests are welcome to have any of what I have put out for them.

I was suprised by that as never when I was a kid do I remember having to ask permission for eating snacks or getting a drink either at home or at parents friends houses. I suppose that my friends parents had some same rule so that is why they did with their kids, but to me it seems kinda strange for me.

Do you let your kids help themselves for food and drink at home or guest's houses? Would you consider friends children who help themselves to food without asking at event you are hosting rude?


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 01:43:29 PM »
My girls(ages 4 and 6) can always get water or fruit, but they ask permission if they want other snacks like chips or cookies so I can portion out a serving to them.  If left to their own devices, they will open five different types of snacks and waste most of them.  I imagine (hope!) when they get older this will be a non-issue.

We try to teach them that it is fine to accept food at someone else's home if it is offered, but they are not to ask for anything (other than a drink of water) and they are not allowed to help themselves to someone's pantry.  The host will offer if they want them to have something.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 02:26:43 PM by yokozbornak »


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 01:43:36 PM »
I don't think it's rude, but I don't let my DD help herself at other people's homes. I would prefer that she ask permission first, because I've had some of her friends come to our home and just help themselves to my pantry - they just walk right in there and pick out food and I think that's really rude.

If I had set the food out, that's different - they can help themselves, but I don't want them rummaging through my pantry or fridge.

I think it's just better to ask for permission first.
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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 02:02:04 PM »
Everyone needs to ask first if something hasn't been offered for a long time and we are kind of desperate for water.

Kids need to ask their parents if they can have something so they can be monitered on their eating, even in their own homes. "Mom, may I have 3 cookies?" "Not right now, but there are carrots and apples. You may have those."


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2012, 02:23:35 PM »
I can't stand thinking that kids could be hungry, genuinely hungry, and not allowed to eat. I can distinctly remember times as a kid when I was hungry, felt very hollow, and refused a snack because "dinner was in an hour". Given a certian portion, still felt hungry, no leftovers or seconds.

My kids have a certain cupboard with selected snacks they can get food from anytime. The crisper is also open, though I prefer being told they are getting something so I don't search in vain for the last tomato. They ask for other foods such as cookies or candies.

My kids are allowed food at other people's houses but only if the food is offered. If it is on a table where we are gathered, it is free game to them, but they can only take what they will eat and not too much. Surprisingly neither one has a natural problem with overeating or food wasting. If they did I might change my plans.
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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 02:25:03 PM »
I never had such a rule either.  I knew not to eat the entire box of fruit roll-ups in one sitting and that three other people would like some of the pop, too.  It also seems strange to me to have to ask in your own home, but it makes sense to ask in someone else's home because you don't know what their rules are.  They may also not have known the food was specifically for them, so I think it was great for them to ask the first time.  Not asking at least once, I think, is rude if you don't know the food is specifically for you.


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2012, 02:54:29 PM »
I have 2 boys, 11 & 8.  Neither one would ever take a snack without asking first.   It's weird because I never made this a rule, it's just  what they do.   I am always taken back when one of their friends goes into my fridge or cabinet and helps themselves without asking first. 


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 02:59:35 PM »
Much better to err on the side of asking than to help yourself to something your host didn't intend to offer.  I keep an "open pantry" (i.e. Babybartfast is welcome to anything she can reach, which is basically the two bottom shelves) BUT I still like her to ask me first.  Sometimes we're about to sit down to eat or she's had too much of one thing in her diet recently, but more often I just need to keep tabs on what she's eating and when.  It's nice to know if she's refusing dinner because she's sick or because she just ate a double handful of peanuts and raisins.


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2012, 03:17:06 PM »
I was taught never to take anything that wasn't offered, not even at a relative's home.


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2012, 03:42:44 PM »
Growing up at home, we had to ask for snacks. An after school snack was always freely given, but that was about it.

Outside home,we were not even allowed to ask. If food was placed out, we had to ask before partaking.


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2012, 03:55:11 PM »
Don't have kids myself, but my brother's kids will ask first. They'll ask for graham crackers and they might get them, or they might be told they need to have a piece of fruit first. But they aren't denied food if they are hungry; their parents are just trying to monitor what they eat so they get enough fruit and vegetables. They get plenty of snacks, just not a lot of sugary or salty snacks. I think it started when they were too little to get their own snacks and it has just continued. Their parents don't make a fuss about it. When I'm there, I might be told to make sure to give them a piece of fruit or some carrot sticks the first time they ask, but that's about it.

When I was a kid, I just got a snack if I wanted one. We always had fruit and crackers. No soda in the house, but generic KoolAid type drinks or water. We all knew what was allowed for snacking and what wasn't--those cookies Mom baked that afternoon were probably dessert for dinner and we knew that we were not to touch them. The big note in the cookie tin that said: Do NOT eat! These are for dinner! may have cued us in.

At big family get-togethers, I've noticed young cousins and such asking their parents if they can have specific foods or drinks. Everything will be out for the taking, but they'll ask if they can have a soda or some chips, but not ask if they can have veggies and dip or potato salad.
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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2012, 03:57:13 PM »
I tried for a while having some veggie/fruit prepped and parceled out in little bags that the girls could freely get from the fridge without asking, but it ended up being too hard to keep on top of.  Generally now they ask if they can have a snack, and I'll tell them they can have some fruit and remind them what we have, but leave it to them to get it out, wash or peel it, or whatever.  Unless it's something they can't do without help.  If I'm busy, they basically know that they can get fruit when they're hungry.  Other food they need to ask for, because otherwise they would eat a ridiculous amount of cheese or yogurt, or they'd eat "treat" snacks all day.  Mine are young, though.  I'd imagine when they're older, I'd give them a bit more leeway in terms of what they could get without asking (my oldest is 5).
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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2012, 05:41:15 PM »
My kids are 9, 10 and 12 and they have to ask for anything other than a snack of fruit or veggie. Even then, they will tell me "Mom, I'm having an apple, okay?" and that's fine. They can have water whenever they want and don't ask/tell me. If I set out snacks they are allowed to help themselves and that would go for snacks set out at a friend or relative's house, too. If a meal was planned and I was worried they'd fill up I'd tell them to stop snacking an hour or so before mealtime.


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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2012, 05:46:53 PM »
I used to not require them to ask until they started going through food at an alarming rate and two days after I'd go grocery shopping, I'd find myself out of something I needed to make dinner, like shredded cheese or something, or fruit I was saving for dessert or something, or some recipe. 

Now many times I will say okay but I want them to ask so that I can say "That's being saved for x" or "It's too close to dinner".
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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2012, 06:30:52 PM »
I don't remember much before I was 10 or so, I guess we were ok with taking a piece of fruit or of bread, I don't even remember if we had stuff like cookies or anything "out". When I was older my mom just trusted us I guess, we had free reign on the pantry/fridge, we never went overboard with soda or sugar.But, as teenager (and I still do it) we surely cried out "I'm hunnnggrrryyy" mostly to I don't know, let her know? We didn't expect my mom to make us anything.
But outside of home I would always ask, actually I would most likely go hungry and wait to go home (I was quite a shy child).

My aunt had a smart thing when my cousins where young and not eating enough fruits, she would cut up apples and proactively put them near the kids who were watching TV or doing their homework, they munched absentmindedly. I could see doing that with somethings like carrots or other non-messy fruits/greens. That's like a double win, fruits and no junk food.