I’ve mentioned before on this blog how important it is to allow children to develop independence, so I thought I’d share one of things we do to foster that development.
In the very first post, I showed a picture of our dishes, down at the bottom of our kitchen cabinets, in easy reach of the children. We also keep snacks for them down at the bottom of the pantry. I’ve experimented with different ways to do this, but what I’ve decided works best for us is to have a little bag with about 10 snacks for each of them. (I love the Subway kid’s meal bags for this.) The snacks include fresh fruit, Crisps, mandarine orange cups, Goldfish, Cheerios, Wheat Thins, etc. I also include little cards (like my calendar cards) of snacks that are on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator: yogurt, applesauce, grapes, cheese sticks, hummus (for spreading on crackers), etc. They still frequently need help with opening lids and packages, but at least they are able to choose their snack and take it to the table independently.
Drama Queen and Mr. BANG know that they can have a snack at some point between breakast and lunch and at some point between nap and dinner, but they also know to ask permission first, even though it is all within reach. I usually say yes, but if it’s just before a meal or something, I’ll say no. When my response is “yes”, I also let them know if they can have one or two snacks, again usually depending on how long until the next meal.
For candy that they get from birthdays parties or holidays or whatever, I keep a little Rubbermaid container in the upper area of the cabinet where they cannot reach. (Yes, a “little” container works perfectly fine. I send most of that stuff to the office with the The Brain – neither the kids nor I need all that!) If it’s in the house, they certainly do ask for candy everyday, but I’ve kind of set up a pattern of every other day. When they are allowed to eat a piece, it’s only for afternoon snack, and it’s limited to one piece of candy along with one regular snack. I personally get that down for them, then put it right back in its place. That has worked well for us so far.