How to handle 2 year old helping herself to food out the fridge

Discussion in 'Toddler & Pre-School' started by little_lady, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. little_lady

    little_lady Mum of two

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    Isabelle keeps helping herself to food out of our fridge when my back is turned... Cheese strings, yogurts, cake slices etc. She has been known to get a whole hunk of cheese and nibble at it. Someone suggested putting a lock on it but not sure I want to go down that route as I'd prefer her to know she can eat when she's hungry. The issue is that I'm not sure when she's hungry or just bored and also sometimes she does it before I have a meal planned.

    She has a fast metabolism like me and is slim and small for her age so I definitely don't want to restrict food or make her 'wait' if she's hungry... But then I lose the structure of mealtimes as she doesn't eat much at proper meals. I do give her snacks, obviously, this is on top of what she has normally. I feel like she'd graze all day, given the chance.

    Not sure what to do really, suggestions?
     
  2. suzib76

    suzib76 Well-Known Member

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    Close the kitchen door?

    Mine at 2 never had unsupervised access to the kitchen
     
  3. Rachel_C

    Rachel_C Well-Known Member

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    Would it be a real problem if she grazed all day? I've always thought it's more natural and healthier to eat little and often rather than 'proper meals'. I'd just offer meals at the normal times but if she doesn't want them keep them for later or let her have a bit and save the rest for when she's hungry. Perhaps allocate her a cupboard, fruit bowl or snack box of her own that you keep filled with things you're happy for her to eat and ask her to let you know she's hungry before she actually eats, so you can let her know if a meal is nearly ready and ask her to wait.

    My two both have unsupervised access to the kitchen (at 2 and 4 and they pretty much always have done, and they can open doors anyway, plus I'm not in the habit of simply shutting them out of places - if they can't go in there, we teach them why!) as there is nothing they can really do wrong in there other than pull food out of the cupboards! They can't get into the fridge but they do often bring me things from the cupboards to open for them, I don't mind at all. I think it's good they know when they're hungry and what they want.
     
  4. hattiehippo

    hattiehippo Well-Known Member

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    I personally would put a lock on the fridge or shut the kitchen door and I also have a very slim child who would snack all day.

    I prefer Tom to ask me if he's hungry rather than help himself so he does actually eat more at meal times and I can make sure he's not just eating lots of the same thing.
     
  5. x__amour

    x__amour Mommy.

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    I personally would lock the fridge. :flow:
     
  6. SarahP13

    SarahP13 Mummy to a princess :-)

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    Is it possible to rearrange the fridge so she can only get to things she wouldn't want to snack on? Like salad, butter, eggs etc.

    Or could you put the things she really likes in a Tupperware box that she can't open?

    Not sure what else to suggest! My two year old has access to the kitchen but our fridge is tall and anything tempting is on the higher shelves, although she's never tried to get anything- I expect she'd just try and climb the shelves!!
     
  7. freckleonear

    freckleonear Crunchy mummy

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    I would set aside a shelf in the fridge for her snacks and explain that she can help herself from there whenever she likes but not the rest of the fridge. You could also set aside a low cupboard shelf for non-chilled snacks and things like cups and plates for her to use. My children have been helping themselves from the fridge since about 18 months.
     
  8. Laucu

    Laucu Well-Known Member

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    I would personally lock the fridge...but then if my two graze then they don't eat their meals, I do have strict times for snacks otherwise dinner goes on the floor followed by the bin!
     
  9. special_kala

    special_kala love my bugs

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    id lock the fridge, we have cupboard locks so i dont see it as being much different.
     
  10. Pearls18

    Pearls18 Well-Known Member

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    We have a fridge lock, I don't want DS helping himself to snacks at 3, if he could he would eat apples all day sounds great but would be horrendous for his teeth! He eats well at meal times and he can ask me if he wants a snack and I'll decide what's appropriate.
     
  11. Boomerslady

    Boomerslady Well-Known Member

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    I used to have a fridge lock when he was that age, my foat is so small theres no door on my kitcheb!! Because he didn't speak until 3 I was never fully sure if he understood me so it made my life easier. Once he was a bit older I took it off and explained he had to ask me for a snack if he's hungry, to be honest though he can't reach much anymore but now he only goes in if I've said it's ok.
     
  12. jenny82

    jenny82 Well-Known Member

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  13. new_to_ttc

    new_to_ttc fidget is a baby boy!

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    I dont think I would lock the fridge, but I guess it would depend whether or not it was effecting my LOs diet and meals! George cant reach the fridge, but he will stand by it and knock on it until I open it and he likes to chose a snack.

    The boys have their own section in the fridge for snacks, and a low cupboard for non chilled foods. George has always been a grazer so would rather he had little and often when it suited him than 3 set meals.... he just appears over faced by a meal and even without snacks he eats very little of it and will just go without :shrug: Whereas Joshua will eat a proper meal every hour if I let him :dohh: I do refuse them snacks if a meal is almost ready (obviously) but like tonight, the old knock on the fridge an hour before tea and the boys wanted yoghurt, they ate them and then both ate tea an hour or solater - george ate as much as he would with or without the yoghurt and Joshua polished it off and asked 'whats for pudding' :dohh: lol

    Think you just have to go with the flow and if your LO understands maybe encourage her to ask first so you know what she is getting and can make sure its appropriate, and maybe separate her stuff so she knows what she can and cant attack in the fridge xxx
     
  14. JoHio

    JoHio Well-Known Member

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    Definitely let your little one help herself! It is lovely to encourage their independence and allow them to make choices. Great for development and confidence.
    The idea of locking a fridge seems extreme to me. Maybe this is because I work with people with eating disorders and being denied food, or having good hidden or severely restricted during childhood seems to be one of the common reasons for disordered eating as an adult.
    THIS SAID, of course a child cannot be trusted to choose what is balanced and best for them - that's why you're there. :) I totally agree with the mothers who have suggested having a place in the fridge or the cupboard with snacks/drinks that are just for your child. They get to choose what they want, and can freely eat, but the choices are limited. So they get choice, and you get peace of mind. This is what I do with my kids and it works beautifully. I love things like raisins, celery and rice crackers. They can eat, but none of these foods will really fill them up. In addition to their food space, I offer regular, more hearty snacks (like apples and peanut butter or hummus and carrot sticks) between meals.
    Please be aware I am NOT saying you will cause an eating disorder by locking a fridge or cupboards - I am simply saying restricting eating by making food seem controlled or forbidden isn't always the best option.
    Also, please be aware I am talking about locking up food, not putting locks on cupboards and drawers with chemicals, knives, etc.
    One more disclaimer, I'm also not saying ANYONE here is a bad mom! :) In the end, we all do what works for us and our sweet ones.
     
  15. Pearls18

    Pearls18 Well-Known Member

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    I don't ban DS from food, he can ask me for food and tell me what he'd like and I can decide if it's a good time to eat and what he should eat because I am the adult, but he doesn't understand the concept of dinner being soon so he shouldn't eat a snack right before dinner. Plus what if he got food out of the fridge and I didn't know he was eating because I was upstairs doing the laundry and then he choked, ok extreme but I don't think he needs to help himself to food yet. When he's a bit older of course he can, I could as a child and I don't have any food issues, I'm healthy and have never dieted but I am certain my mum wouldn't have let me help myself to snacks as a toddler. Not meaning to sound defensive, although I am lol, but just putting my opinion across, I don't just lock it for my own ease, although it was because he kept opening and spilling the milk argh lol, I still let him try and pour it out himself but I'd rather he got me to get it out the fridge so I can supervise him doing it lol.
     
  16. suzib76

    suzib76 Well-Known Member

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    I don't ban them from food, Leah has grown up able to help herself to anything from the kitchen and at 12 years old she can take what she pleases, but I didn't let her go in the kitchen alone at 2

    Now I actually have a lock on my kitchen door as my autistic son has huge issues with food and is not allowed to help himself, but Leah can open it whenever she please and Lana will be allowed to as well when she is a little older, but she is 3 and so I provide her meals, snacks etc and if she does want anything in between she will ask
     
  17. JoHio

    JoHio Well-Known Member

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    I didn't think you sounded defensive at all! I totally understand what you are saying, especially about choking hazards. I'm all about leaving age appropriate snacks available. I have a 3 year old and a 21 month old, but I didn't leave the celery or raisins around when my 21 month old didn't have her molars. I'd leave fruit sauce squeezers and rice crackers that are designed to melt in your mouth.

    As I said though, I hardly think anyone is starving their child. Being hungry, actually, is an important thing to feel! On the other end of the eating disorder spectrum, many people who overeat are actually afraid to feel hungry, and it is important to learn it is OK to be hungry for a bit - you will not perish from being hungry for an hour or two. Of course, here I am talking about adults. Children don't always grasp that now is not forever, so that is why giving children some form of control over their life (and by extension eating) is so important. For instance, my son HATED brushing his teeth until I let him choose his toothbrush. :happydance:

    As I also said, you do have to do what is in your comfort zone. If your child has a history of choking, or a disability, or does not respect the boundaries you've set out, other measures have to be explored. We all do our best, right? :)
     
  18. Pearls18

    Pearls18 Well-Known Member

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    It's just funny (and interesting) to hear how people do things differently, I assumed what I did was the norm but it's funny when you come across a thread and then a "debate" (in the healthy sense!) arises from a topic you hadn't thought about in a different way if you know what I mean? It's interesting to see how other people do things, and the logic behind it, I do understand it from what you say, I think it sounds like one of those things where we're all hoping for the same outcome eventually but plan to get there in different ways.
     
  19. JoHio

    JoHio Well-Known Member

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    Amen, sister! And you are a wonderful, open, honest and respectful person to discuss it with! It is super hard not to get touchy when we talk about our kids and how we raise them, and you really have been lovely to banter with. :)
     
  20. little_lady

    little_lady Mum of two

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    Interesting responses ladies.

    I think I might try the shelf idea before I start locking anything. We don't have a kitchen door anyway so can't lock that and I don't actually lock anything else apart from the cupboard with bleach etc in.
     

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