Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Am I being too hard on my kids or is this reasonable?

I'm I being too hard on my kids to ask them not to play with their food? I give them a snack of raisins and pretzels and they are stabbing the raisins with their pretzels, but this causes them to fall off onto the floor. They also make pictures with the pretzels. I admit it is creative and kind of cute, but it is playing with food and I don't want it to become a bad habit. So what do you think?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 12:57 PM on May. 29, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (13)
  • My kids can play within reason with the promise and understanding that if something hits the floor or files off the plate, the meal is done. If it's an obviously accident during eating and not playing this does not apply of course.


    Answer by hibbingmom at 12:59 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • I don't think it is unreasonable to ask your kids to EAT their food and to PLAY with their toys! As long as they have other creative outlets, it is perfectly okay to make sure they understand the distinction.

    Answer by mom2joblrb at 1:01 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • If they are playing with their food they must not be hungry. I would take the food away, Then  tell them they most not be hungry.


    Answer by louise2 at 1:01 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • I try and give them interactive foods as much as possible, which cuts down on them screwing around. For example at lunch today I'll be serving a variety of veggies with 2 different dips and a few days ago they had a dinner w/ a stack of pepperoni's (I get Turkey ones, less salt) and a glob of cream cheese (whipped, healthier and MUCH easier to spread) I then hand them their gerber cutlery knives from when they were toddlers (ages 4 and 5 now) and they pick up piece after piece of pepperoni and smear the cream cheese on it..... feels like playing but it's real world appropriate.

    Works w/ anything, toast & peanut butter, etc etc etc

    Consider investing in an easel if u don't already have one. They can glue old/stale/broken pretzels to paper as a fun project

    Answer by hibbingmom at 1:03 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • I am assuming from the OP they do eventually eat the mentioned food.... they simply like it to look pretty and "their way" before hand

    Answer by hibbingmom at 1:04 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • Just make them clean up their own mess. Playing with food is part of being a little kid. I'm ok with it. I'm babysitting my 10 yr old grandson and we've been playing with food this weekend. It shows creativity plus he is ADHD and I don't want to fight with him so I just join him as long as it's within reason. He was creating a "road" in his mashed potatoes and driving the "car" (green bean) down the road before the road monster came down and ate the car! His mom just said make him eat his vegetables so that's all I care about!

    Answer by admckenzie at 1:16 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • I think it is fine during a snack, which it sounds like that is what you are serving.
    There is no playing at mealtime, or the main table, but for snack time, or eating at the kid table, I am more relaxed.

    Answer by squish at 1:25 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • If they are creative and are still eating....... perhaps a happy medium can be found.

    They may only play while sitting at the patio table and only with snack....... or what ever works for you. That way they dont associate playing with the food with sitting at the dinner table. Allow a little bit of fun and creativity... but only when it is appropriate.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:45 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • I've always encouraged creativity within reason. I think it's okay to play with your food as long as it's not ending up on the walls or ceiling. My girls would play with thier food when they were young. I of course gave them food and promoted them to play with it such as edible playdough. However if a mess was made the girls cleaned it up. We made a game of it.

    Answer by luvmygrlz at 2:38 PM on May. 29, 2010

  • I also agree that you should find a happy medium. I think it's important to find enjoyment in food -- not just the food but the eating experience. Making pictures with raisins doesn't seem like such a crime, as long as they're eating them, too. If things get messy, game over. That's how we do it here. My girls are 3 and 20 months, and I am trying to teach them good table manners and how not to get themselves or their eating space messy, but I want our time at the table together to be enjoyable.

    Answer by EmilySusan at 3:49 PM on May. 29, 2010

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.