Food Fight – With Kids

Catha’s blog (Flockmother) is probably my favorite blog of all time. It’s better than every parenting book or article I’ve ever read about parenting (except maybe Siblings Without Rivalry).

Seriously, if you’re a parent you should go back to her first post and read it start to finish. It’s a great “in the trenches” story that really sums up many of my philosophies about the job of parents.

The job of a parent is to make sure that when kids are 18 they’re equipped with the skills they need to leave home. So a 9-year-old should have about half of those skills, right? They should be able to manage money and suffer consequences if they screw up. They need to be able to manage their own sleep and food and understand the consequences. They need to deal with bullies. They need to recognize when they’re being bullies. They should be able to get a job.

The list goes on.

Catha’s latest post was about how she lets her kids pick their own food, without nagging. As you know the other week Max had a sleepover, and because this summer we had no rules on sugar, food or sleep for the kids Ian had a chance to learn how to manage all these things himself. So at Max’s party we just let Ian (6) do whatever he wanted. No rules or nagging at all. We just set out food and let ALL the kids do WHATEVER they want.

You know what?

He at some sugar, but like many of the 10-year olds at the party his eyes were bigger than his stomach when it came to ice cream. He also went to bed some time. I don’t even know when. It might have been 10 or 12 or 2. But he handled it better than many of the 10 year olds.

But it’s safe to say he went to bed when he was tired.

He woke up when he wanted to the next morning (Saturday), and he got enough sleep that he joined us for an awesome show at the Fine Arts Center (Parsons Dance). He stayed awake through the entire ballet (which ended around 10) and really enjoyed the second act.

Basically he handed control of his life (food, sleep, etc.) better than about half of the 10 year olds at the party.

Good life lessons, right?


2 thoughts on “Food Fight – With Kids

  1. We have done something similar with Reid this school year. He wanted his bedtime to be 10:30 on a school night, and he pretty much did that for several months. My rule was that he had to get to school on time, and he did for the most part. Last week he decided that he didn’t like being so tired at school so he changed his bedtime during the week to 9:00 pm. Now he is getting up earlier and having time to eat breakfast, which he had pretty much dropped. I know he is older (12) but I am still impressed with the way he self regulated himself. And it was a bedtime he came up with on his own. He knows if he stays up too late, he will feel crappy at school, and school is hard enough to get psyched for when you don’t like going, but even worse when you are exhausted.


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