I am loving the idea of summer, but the thought of playing cruise director, chauffeur, and concession stand vendor all summer will probably put me over the edge. I had a light bulb moment this week. My kids are probably old enough to fend for themselves, kind of. If I got them organized, they could be responsible for their own snacks this summer. They’re only 5 and 2, but they loved the idea.
Hey, if the kids aren’t working for you, they’re working against you.
Kid Snacks On Call
I pulled out the mom-approved snacks from the pantry, and repackaged what needed it. I gave KittyCat (long-time readers know this is not a feline, but my oldest daughter) a tour of the snacks and where they were. Animal crackers, dried peaches, baby marshmallows, oyster crackers, and Snapea Crisps from Trader Joes (Have you tried them????).
And here are the ones in the fridge: yogurt, apples, bananas, along with their cup for the day.
Day one, KittyCat loved the idea. She got her own snack cup from the kid drawer and went right for the baby marshmallows, and ate the entire jar. She apparently didn’t even realize they were quite stale. I explained that jar will not be refilled for some time. I explained that a tummy full of snacks wasn’t going to want dinner. I explained that the way to stay healthy was to eat good food. She nodded, and then ploughed through the oyster crackers. Then polished off most of the dried peaches.
As predicted, she did not eat dinner than night. But there are worse things. Like me going insane from saying, “Would you like that on a plate?” all summer.
My pantry shelves are hung really high, so unfortunately the kitchen drawer I just reclaimed from the baby toys I used to keep in the kitchen was re-allocated to the kid snacks. Sigh. She’s still working on the strength to open the jars. We might have to switch to zipper plastic bags in a few days.
It turns out I unknowingly hit a mom milestone, just about right on time. My kids are growing up, and this is something they can and should do for themselves.
At what age did you/will you let your kids get their own snacks?
Please leave a comment if this has hit a nerve. When I asked my blogging friends at what age they gave their kids snacking freedom, here’s what they shared.
Barbara Bradley Hoyer I keep apples in the fridge and bananas on the counter. The snack cabinet occasionally has stuff which all of them are able to get out and put in a bowl without a big mess, like goldfish or crackers. There’s also cheese and applesauce in the fridge. My kids have water bottles. We don’t do juice. Even the 4 year old knows how to fill his water bottle up from the fridge’s water dispenser. http://alifeinbalance.net
Hillary Hoch Chybinski Several years ago when Big was around 5, I put out the “Snack Bowl.” I put a few baggies of “mom-approved” snacks, raisins, granola bars, etc. They can get something from the bowl when they ask, “Can I have a snack?” and I say yes. If they want something else, they may have to wait. I also keep portable yogurt and fruit in the fridge. http://www.hacscrap.com
Stephanie Glover E and B both have bins in the pantry. E has granola bars, cereal bars, goldfish, fruit snacks and raisins. B still has baby food in his. In the fridge, we turned one of the fruit drawers into E’s drawer. There are fruit cups, yogurt, pudding, and juice boxes in there. http://agrandelife.net/
Nichole Ann I never limit fresh fruit and always have bananas within easy reach on the counter. My kid has been helping himself to bananas since he could reach them at 2. Cheese and yogurt are also within easy reach in the fridge. Though I learned the hard way not to keep too much yogurt within reach of my 3 year old, otherwise my yogurt monster will open them all! Fruit snacks, cookies, and on-the-go type snacks are way out of reach. Candy is always OUT OF SIGHT and out of reach! http://www.nicholeann.com/
Heather McCurdy I started around 5-6 years old with the boys. They have to ask for a snack and I will tell them what they can get but they are then able to go get it. We do baby carrots and I am going to try cutting up peppers and celery ahead of time now. Also, grapes, fruit is in the fruit bowl, granola bars, and crackers/goldfish. I also currently have those yogurt sticks. If they ask for a snack I say you can have XX. I do limit food because they would eat me out of house and home otherwise. But I am more likely to let them have extra fruit and veggies. 6 year old knows I will almost never say no if he asks for a vegetable. I need to pull out the kids water bottles. We just drink water too so we pull a cup out for each for the day. Usually my 8 year pulls them. Keeping it Real: The Kitchen and Beyond www.heatherlm4.wordpress.com
Stephanie Anderson Our snacks consist of fruit (apples, grapes, etc.), part-skim string cheese, goldfish crackers. This is for maybe 6-8 months and up. My 16 month old and my almost 4-year old eat these as snacks. Since my kids are so young, I usually get it for them myself. The 4 year old is getting to the point where she can get most things herself. I keep crackers and cereal on the bottom shelf of the pantry so she can grab it. Apples are in the drawers of the fridge – which is just her height. http://www.moderndaydonnareed.com/.
Patricia Carrington-Adkins We have a snack basket filled with acceptable snacks. They still have to ask; though. In the summer we often make enormous batches of fruit salad which I keep in the fridge in portioned containers. I also love making snack or trail mix that includes air popped popcorn and dried fruit. And finally, we are fans of homemade fruit leather. Yum. http://2yoke.blogspot.com/
Andrea Ervin Howard My oldest will grab carrots and cheese in the fridge. She will also grab Pirate Booty and crackers from dry goods. She tries to get milk, but we discourage that. http://www.parentise.com/
Jessica Lane Mudrick We have lots of fruit in a bowl on the table which they (son-4, daughter-8) can grab, wash & eat at any point and there are always carrot sticks, strawberries & apple sauce in the fridge. Mostly they drink water or milk which they can usually get for themselves. I let both my kids get their own snacks & try not to keep foods in the house I don’t want them to eat, so it makes it just a little easier! www.delcopamoms.com
Jennifer Oxenford I’m struggling with this myself feeling like when I’m home I spend all day serving up food (including snacks). I’ve been wanting to re-organize my kitchen to make certain cabinets accessible to both girls (…ages 4 and 2) but I’m really reluctant to let them go in the fridge themselves. My fridge is a side by side so all condiments, etc. are on the low shelves. I need to move A LOT to make this work right. For snacks, we do goldfish, yogurt, apples, strawberries, cheese (sticks, slabs and shredded), carrots. Occasionally raisins, popcorn, animal cookies, cream cheese crackers, but I don’t want these to be readily available for them. I really like the idea of the “snack basket” and if the kids ask they can get snacks from there. I do not let my girls get their own water or juice for the same reasons re: the fridge. I only give juice watered down in the a.m. usually. Water the rest of the day. And definitely no flavored milk. www.phillyfun4kids.com
Jennifer Pohlhaus Early on we put non-breakable plates and cups in a low drawer in the kitchen so the kids could get their own glasses and plates when they wanted a snack or glass of water. This was huge to us and gave them a sense of independence. Also we keep snack/cereal on a low shelf in the pantry so that they have easy access to them. My kids are 9 and 7 now but we’ve been doing this since my oldest was about 4. http://harmonicmama.com/
Stephanie Connors Friel I get almost everything for the boys (4 and 2), but I’m allowing my 4 year old to start helping me. If I let him get the snacks, he would eat only goldfish and the entire container of it! Mostly, the boys eat cheese, apples, grapes, bananas…, blackberries, strawberries and melons. They love crackers of all kinds, so I usually try to limit how much we have in the house. Usually it’s goldfish or pretzel sticks. They gave up on yogurt recently, but I’m hoping that comes back into the mix again. I’m toying with the ideas of making more muffins with veggies mixed in them because my boys are such picky eaters with everything other than snacks, but I’m not sure about hiding food in food. As for drinks, my boys always had a mix of juice and water, but it’s about 1 oz. juice to 8 oz. water. Trying to totally get away from the juice completely, especially the summer heat! http://www.mammabearsworld.com/