When Snackers Take Over Your House

children parenting snacking May 02, 2019

Do you have any cookie monsters living in your house? You know, those little ones who like to snack, snack, snack all day long. It seems like they've taken over your kitchen and your food! 

I know of one mom who struggles with constant snackers:

  • You're eating a late breakfast because you've been busy all morning. The kids have already eaten but, of course, they see that you're eating and now they want a snack. 
  • It's a Saturday and the kids have been stuck in the house all day. They are bored. It's time for a snack. Oh, it's time for another snack... and another snack.
  • Lunch is in ten minutes but the kids are STARVING! I guess it's snack time. 
  • The kids took a few bites of food from their dinner plate. They say they are done. They say that they don't want any more. Fifteen minutes later, they want a cookie. 

I'm sure a lot of you can relate to having those "cookie monsters" roaming your pantry, and I'm sure a lot of you would LOVE a solution to this problem. The solution may be easier than you think! 

It’s healthy for children to have boundaries in the kitchen surrounding food. Truthfully, boundaries and rules set us FREE, they aren't meant to punish us or live a miserable life. Having rules for snack time and food is a GREAT thing for your children. They may not see it that way but it's true.

While we all run snack time and meal-time differently, I think we can all agree that it’s best for children to not have unlimited access and choices in the kitchen. If kids are allowed to rule the kitchen, they may eat junk food all day, get sick, and have tons of cavities.

Good food habits and snack time boundaries are important for every child. To help establish those boundaries, here are five easy-to-use tips that will help bring some sanity back into your kitchen:

1. Provide snack choices

During snack time, provide two choices to your child. Providing choices will help your child actually choose a snack and will keep you in control of what your child is eating. It's a win-win! 

2. Schedule snack time and stick to it

Designate when snack time will be so your child has an expectation. You can be as specific (e.g., at 9:30 AM) or as lenient (e.g., sometime in between lunch and dinner) as you want. The goal here is for your child to follow a set routine so that your child can't freely roam the cabinets. 

3. Set a timer

Now that you've established the snack time schedule, use a timer to indicate when snack time will be. If your children constantly ask you when the next snack is, a timer can easily help decrease those pestering statements.

4. Set limitations

For those children who tend to not eat dinner and then want to eat snacks 20 minutes later, break that habit by having them eat a certain number of bites of their food before being done with dinner. You can also set a family rule that there are no snacks after dinner. This way, if children are hungry, they will learn that they need to eat their food because they don't get to eat again until breakfast the next morning. 

5. Designate a specific snack spot

Allow your children to have a specific area in the kitchen where their snacks are held. When it’s snack time, they can go pick out a snack on their own. This really helps establish that independence and keeps with the consistency of snack time rules. As a bonus, you get the fill that snack basket with healthy treats! 

Establishing good food and snacking habits can be important for your children and for you! Use these five tips to help manage your children who want to snack all day long and bring some structure back into your kitchen.

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