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Would you let him stay up and have a snack?

Getting my near-6-year-old to eat at all has always been a fight. Lately he's started asking for a snack before bed, he usually wants a bowl of oatmeal or granola bar. We eat dinner at 6, he goes to bed at 8. He rarely eats all of his dinner and he's always the last one done. When I do give a before-bed snack he always eats it all but he drags it out and talks and plays while he's doing it. I don't know if he's doing it because he's ACTUALLY hungry or if it's just another stall tactic in his arsenal of many.

So, if you were me...would you let him stay up a little later and just be happy he's eating or would you put an end to the stalling and send him to bed?


Asked by Slinkee at 8:36 AM on Mar. 31, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (32)
  • What I would do is at 7:30 tell him "Bedtime is in 30 minutes so if you want a snack, now is your time. If you choose not to get one now, you do not get one later and you will go to bed hungery."

    Answer by aydansmomma04 at 11:10 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • i let my son have 1 snack after dinner only if he eats all of his dinner.

    Answer by shay1130 at 8:40 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • Nope. Not if he doesn't eat dinner.

    Answer by mommymeg03 at 8:42 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • nope, no snack if they don't eat dinner

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 8:43 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • Pick your battles,if its a nutritious snack,I say what the hey,let him have it.As long as he's not lethargic in the morning,who cares?

    Answer by TMJ121099 at 8:47 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • I tell my kids they can have a snack before bed, but must be finished by bedtime - they know the rule. They are 8 and 10 but this has been the rule since they started school. They go to bed at 8:30 starting this year, but it was 8 until now.

    Answer by missanc at 8:51 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • My DD does this too. She's 3 and a half. We give her a snack in a little bowl. We do her bedtime routine, no stalling allowed, and then leave her with her snack and water. Sometimes she goes right to sleep and sometimes she eats her snack and then goes to sleep. I don't want to send her to bed hungry, but I don't want her to turn a snack time into a fun playtime just before bed. At your son's age, I'd make a rule that if he doesn't eat any dinner at all then he gets no bedtime snack. But I don't ever agree with forcing a child to eat all of their food. That can teach kids to over eat instead of listening to their body's full response. It can also turn meal times into struggles and lead to kids getting nervous tummy aches at meal times, which would make them lose their appetite.


    Answer by ThrivingMom at 8:52 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • I don't make my kids clean their plates, but they do have to eat the majority of their dinner to get a snack, say 90%. Or at least enough that I know that they really ate, you know? Then, if I allow a snack, I would allow enough time to eat it before bedtime. Say they're having a granola bar, I'd allow 15 minutes to eat that, it's more than enough time. So, if bedtime is 8, he gets his snack at 7:45, he's not going to bed hungry, and he's not getting to stay up late. If he complains about that, then you know he's only doing it to be able to stay up late.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 8:55 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • I have the exact same problem here. It irritates me when I think my DS is just stalling, and I know he is manipulating me. Sending him to bed hungry would just break my heart and at 4yo, I'm sure he's figured that out! I’m pretty sure that most nights he is just stalling for time, but like your son, he actually eats whatever I give him.

    I’m trying to remember to ask him at least a half hour before bedtime if he wants a snack. If he passes on that snack time, I try to make him go to bed AT bedtime with letting him run back to the kitchen! If I forgot to ask, then he usually gets a snack when he reminds me that he is “too hungry to sleep”. I also feel a little guilty if I sneak into the kitchen for a late night snack after I’ve sent him to bed “hungry”

    Answer by VeronicaLee at 8:59 AM on Mar. 31, 2010

  • My daughter is the same way, I save the dinner and tell her if your hungry eat your dinner. Usually if she is really hungry, she will eat her dinnner or most of it, then ask for a light snack-and she gets it. If she really don't like what I have made, she gets a sandwich or pizza. :)


    Answer by KFree907 at 9:10 AM on Mar. 31, 2010