five + two =

Getting their own food whenever they want

Friday, November 18th, 2011 7:29 pm | By Stephanie Woo

At 11-months, Brooke and Mackenzie’s favorite snack is the organic version of Cheerios. I keep it in the bottom drawer of the kitchen cabinet in an open ziploc bag. I did a demonstration for them one day: how to open the drawer, where the cereal is, etc.

Two weeks ago, one day, while I was cleaning the bedroom, I came out to find Mackenzie sitting here with the drawer opened, eating Cheerios out of the ziploc bag!

Apparently the cheerios in the ziploc bag did not keep her interest, because the next day, I found her here, ziploc bag intact, eating directly out of the cereal box! Since then, when I am cooking their meal in the kitchen, they will come for a little pre-dinner snack whenever they want. Even if it spoils their appetite a little bit, I think the freedom and confidence that comes from being able to get your own food whenever you want is much more important!

Update on Friday, November 25, 2011 at 11:51AM by Stephanie Woo

Two days later, we found Mackenzie eating a chocolate cookie she had found at the back of the drawer and wrangled out of the packaging we thought we had sealed tightly. She even gave one to Brooke. Note to self: Move all cookies and sweet cereal OUT of the bottom drawer!

Reader Comments (4)

  1. Children are inquisitive explorers by nature. And you have created a safe, age appropriate environment for your children to explore. You are allowing them to develop more than just independence by offering this place in the kitchen in which they can get food for themselves. You are also creating an opportunity for them to creatively problem solve, confidence in their own abilities, and a sense of accomplishment which all builds self esteem.

    Saturday, November 19th, 2011 3:12 pm | Daisy Shah
  2. Thank you, Daisy! It does take some creativity for them to figure out how to get the cheerios out of the bag. They've even tried to bite through the bag. Luckily they figured out that the cheerios will fall out if they shake the bag around 🙂

    Monday, November 21st, 2011 12:19 pm | Stephanie Woo
  3. Hi Stephanie, I've never posted before, but I love your blog. I had a question about this post. Is there a concern about eating too much snack food? Our 11 month old daughter just recently started to really enjoying snacks, and whenever I give her a snack container of cheerios, she pretty much eats the whole thing. I want to giver her the freedom to satisfy her hunger, but just a little worried she's eating too much of the wrong stuff or could be spoiling her appetite for a healthier meal. I'd love to hear your take on this. Thanks!

    Monday, January 23rd, 2012 12:08 pm | Jenny
  4. Hi Jenny, I would worry that she's eating too much snack as well. I usually give them about 10 cheerios in one sitting. I let them get their own food as a way to give them independence, but I limit how much they can get by themselves. It's important to keep everything in balance – it's great to give them freedom, but you also need to balance it with nutritious meals at set times. From your message, it seems you already knew this! For me, I never give them more than 1 cookie, half a banana or 10 raisins – their snacks are usually limited to those things. Am I a grinch?! But I'm sure that's why they are starving at meals and eat A LOT of veges, protein and grains! Best, Stephanie

    Saturday, February 25th, 2012 5:07 pm | Stephanie Woo

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