Like most parents I know, I am always trying to find magical solutions to problems with my kids and their behavior. Although, I haven’t come up with ways to stop nose picking, arguing with one another and potty talk, I think I may be on to something!
It seems like “I’m hungry,” is the most used phrase in this house. Whether it is the first thing in the morning or 20 minutes after lunch, “I’m hungry” seems to fly out of my kids mouths. Since there are 3 of them, I might as well pull up a chair and spend my days in the pantry.
The other day I came up with a plan and so far, (knock on wood) I think it is working. First, I got out a piece of paper and pen and had Chase write “kitchens open” on one side of the paper and “kitchens closed” on the other side. We got a piece of tape and I then explained to all 3 kids that the kitchen would only be “open” during certain hours of the day.
The “Kitchen is Open” first thing in the morning for breakfast. I give them their beverage of choice along with their healthy meal. I ask them if they would like a second helping and when they answer no, I send them upstairs to brush their teeth, then change the sign to “Kitchen is Closed.”
The “Kitchen is Open” for lunch around 11 or 12 and I follow the same routine. I give them a few sandwich/bagel options, a fruit and another item if they choose, along with a drink of choice, (their choices are milk or watered down juice).
When Chase gets home from school at 3:30 pm the kitchen re-opens for a snack, but I set the timer for 5 min and they have to tell me what they want in that 5 minute period before the buzzer goes off. I have a menu in the playroom with their snack choices. They do not have to finish their food in that 5 minutes but I will not get them anything else after the timer goes off, until dinner time.
At dinner the family sits down together and everyone must tell me if they need anything else BEFORE I sit down. If they need seconds, I will oblige as long as they have eaten the other items on their plate.
We stopped doing dessert every night. I cringed at the fact that they expected dessert and looked forward to unhealthy foods at the end of each day. Now they can have dessert a few times a week and it is usually air popped popcorn with nothing on it, strawberries dipped in brown sugar and sour cream (I know it sounds weird but it is delicious), or we do a family trip to the yogurt shop up the street. However, they earn trips to the yogurt shop by getting points for staying in their bedrooms until 6:30 am in the morning. 1 pt per morning and when they get 5 points they earn a trip to the yogurt shop.
I may not have found the cure for cancer or solved any economic crisis, but this stay at home mom is pretty proud of herself this week. My kids aren’t walking around the house with food in their mouths at all times and I have managed to stay out of the kitchen for more than 10 minute intervals. I would say that is a huge success, in my book!