Author Topic: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?  (Read 4927 times)

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lisat

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2012, 07:40:50 PM »
My kids, when they were young, didn't ask for snacks. I did have dedicated shelves for them that had healthy snacks and cut up vegtables etc in the frig. Now when they became teenagers and could empty out the refig in two days I had to put my foot down. Their friends were welcome to help themselves but the girls would "monitor" the intake because it was their own food. If they visited other homes they would always ask before taking. Taking food from somebody elses home without asking is to me a big no no and rude.

2littlemonkeys

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2012, 07:59:23 PM »
I like my kids (5 and 7) to ask for many of the reasons some PPs have posted: to avoid waste and/or shortages of something I need.  They can have water/juice/milk whenever they want to but if they want something else, they ask.  I've been recently letting them help themselves once they get permission and they're rarely denied (unless supper is moments away.  If it were an hour away, I'll let them have something healthy)

At another person's house, I would never just help myself to their food but if it were laid out for a gathering, my kids can pick out what they want.  I usually help them manage the plate so they don't spill all over though.  My older one is becoming independent in that aspect.

blarg314

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2012, 01:04:39 AM »

As a kid, at home we knew what snacks we were allowed (two cookies after getting home from school, for example) but we were not allowed to randomly snack on stuff, and we were specifically not allowed to eat the hour before a meal. Water and milk were available for drinking, but sugary drinks required permission, and pop was not a weekday drink. I remember asking and getting permission quite frequently - a popsicle on a summer afternoon, a snack at night if I was still hungry, so we certainly weren't being deprived. The food wasn't hidden or locked away.

As a guest, we would be allowed to help ourselves from offered food (a plate of cookies passed around, etc), within reason, but not beyond that. Getting a drink from the fridge, or looking for a snack that wasn't out on offer would have been absolutely forbidden, and I remember my parents' less than complimentary comments when the child of guests tried rooting around in the fridge for something.

I can see why parents would want to control/monitor their kids' snacking. My nephew is five, and if he were given free range of the snack cupboard, he would eat nothing but junk food. Even with healthy snacks, he'd randomly eat snacks and then have no interest in meal times.


snowdragon

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2012, 01:18:55 AM »
When we were kids we were given a snack when we got home from school, if we were hungry after that we had to wait till dinner. If we wanted something between meals we had to ask.

  My brothers still ask when they visit. We would ask for a glass of water if we were a guest and got thirsty on occasion, but more often we would wait til something was offered. 
  I've had one guest "root" through the cupboard but he was diabetic, needed to eat and I was at work ( he and his wife were staying two weeks, it was understood that I would be working during this time).  There was food left for lunch but his blood sugar was low and he needed something that would digest quickly. I felt if I can trust him in my house for two weeks, I can trust him in my pantry.

Thipu1

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2012, 09:40:41 AM »
I think a lot depends on the age of the child and the situation. 

If it's a party at someone else's home and snacks are put out for general consumption, I'd let a 13 year-old serve himself but make sure he took an appropriate amount. I'd expect the 8 year-old to ask permission and I'd help the child at the table because younger children tend to waste a lot.

On the rare occasions when we have guests, we tell them what beverages are available and serve the first drink.  We let them know where the drinks are and, from then on, they're on their own.

  We recently had relatives with two small children (ages 4 and 6). The family is also vegan so I showed what we had to their parents and let them decide what the kids could have.  We also had a bowl of fresh fruit available. 

  The parents also allowed the children to have some ginger candy and a piece of chocolate or two.
We were all going out to lunch so we didn't put out very much.

hobish

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2012, 09:57:33 AM »
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.

As kids we had to ask permission for snacks at home, and definitely at somoene else's house. It did not mean that we were ever genuinely hungry and not allowed to eat. It was just how we did things, for a variety of reasons mentioned above. Something might be for an occasion, or a meal, or what have you; the rule was not designed or ever used to keep kids hungry.
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2012, 11:02:02 AM »
I don't have kids, but as a child, I was taught never to ask for anything to eat or drink, if not offered. the only exception was at my grandmothers, but i still had to ask my mom or grandmother, nad then they would decide what was ok for a snack, or if it was too close to dinner, then no.

i think its the polite thing to do; i have a cousin, who is my age (late 40's) and whenever she stays with me, or my mom, she will just root around in the kitchen and help herself to whatever looks good. she's also a grazer, and will think nothing of opening a bag of chips, and munching down on most of it. So we've gotten to the point if we want to "keep" certain food items we have to hide them when she's here. sad, but necessary. I got a lovely box of truffles for Christmas, which i brought down to share with mom. we hid those as she would have eaten half the box, given the opporutunity.

Jones

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2012, 12:00:59 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.

As kids we had to ask permission for snacks at home, and definitely at somoene else's house. It did not mean that we were ever genuinely hungry and not allowed to eat. It was just how we did things, for a variety of reasons mentioned above. Something might be for an occasion, or a meal, or what have you; the rule was not designed or ever used to keep kids hungry.
Oh, I don't think my parents meant me to be hungry; I do think that they underestimated how much their kids needed to eat, and I do remember being hungry quite a bit as a kid. Hence why I have "free for all" food and have been teaching my kids to police their own hunger, rather than me doing so. How am I supposed to know how "hungry" they actually are when one day they eat like birds, and the next they try to shovel down Dad-sized portions? DD knows the rule to ask first when at other people's homes, or take what's offered. DS isn't at that point yet but I'm laying down the basics for him.

cheyne

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2012, 12:24:07 PM »
I have a "thing" about food.  One of my points of pride is being able to provide plenty of food for my children, their friends and any guests we may have.  DH and I have never limited the amount of food our kids ate  If we didn't want them to eat certain foods, we either didn't buy them or put them up high in the cupboard (if they were for a certain dish or entertaining).

I know most people aren't this way, so my children were taught never to ask for refreshments at someone's home.  However, when they were toddlers/young kids I always had some snacks with me if they became hungry while visiting and no food was offered.

We had an elderly neighbor that my kids called "Grandma".  She was like a grandmother to them and a mother figure to me.  One day I was complaining to her about the amount of food my DS was eating (he was a teenager at the time).  She looked me in the eye and said, "Food is cheaper than medicine."  I took that to heart and believe it is true.  Neither of my children is overweight.

TootsNYC

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2012, 02:10:28 PM »
I would feel that if the food is set out for serving, then the child should ask his parent, but not me the host. If I put it out, then I want you to eat or drink it, and if your arrangement w/ your parents is that you need permission, that's between you.

I wouldn't expect most guests to ask for anything other than that, unless it was water, or if they had a specific reason like allergies or something.

My kids ask at home often. Not always, but often.

kareng57

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2012, 09:13:14 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.


Exactly the same here.  Growing up, neither me nor Dh ever expected to take food/drinks out of the fridge or cupboards without asking first.  And we never had to teach our kids this, somehow they just understood.  But I also would never have denied a small snack to a kid who did seem to be genuinely hungry.

It did drive me crazy when a few of their friends (even as young as 4 or 5) figured they could just open the fridge and help themselves.  And my trying-to-be-polite messages of "in this house we do/don't do..." just didn't seem to take, for the most part.

kherbert05

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #26 on: December 25, 2012, 10:38:33 AM »
We had snacks in a section of the pantry. Fruit, veg, and cheese was freely available. Sis would cut cucumbers in half and scoop out the middle. I would cut them and put them in vinegar.


We knew that near certain holidays we didn't touch certain food because it was for making special holiday meals.


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WillyNilly

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2012, 09:59:52 AM »
I'm in my late 30's.  I still would never consider helping myself to anything in anyone's home but my own, not even my parent's homes.  A glass of water maybe, but I certainly would never help myself to any other beverage or any food (a plate or bowl of obvious 'help yourself its a party this is party food' on the coffee table being the only exception).  At a house party if a host tells me "oh here's all the wine and soda, please help yourself" and its on a specific counter or table clearly put out for the party, ok I can help myself, but I would never go into a fridge or cabinet even told I'm welcome to.

I would absolutely expect a child to ask their parent and/or host for specific permission to eat or drink anything not directly and personally offered to them (and sometimes even then).

clio917

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2012, 12:30:48 PM »
I don't remember ever having to ask my parents for a snack or a drink. (Once I could pour/prepare the food for myself) I had free range of the fridge and the pantry. My mom might tell me not to eat any of a certain item because it was going to be used for dinner and I would get reminders not to ruin my appetite for dinner, but my food was never restricted. I also knew that I couldn't rummage around other people's pantries without permission.

dietcokeofevil

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Re: Kids and food. Letting them help themselves?
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2012, 01:00:06 PM »
DD is 11.  She fixes herself after school snacks without asking, although she will call if she wants something that requires cooking.  Most other times she asks.  DS is 5 and he asked most of the time as well.  It's not really a rule that we've enforced, just something they do.  The only times they get told no is when I'm within 15 minutes of putting the meal on the table, or they wait until bedtime to ask.