3yo insists she's hungry at bedtime

Liz - posted on 01/11/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )

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Lately my 3 yo has been insisting that she is hungry at bedtime. Some days at dinner she will eat a lot some days not so much. But, every night about / hour before bedtime we go next door to her great grandmas house and she usually has cookies and milk and what ever else she may want (fruit, cheese). So I doubt that she is hungry. But I feel bad that maybe she is actually hungry. She will cry and scream until she gets something to eat, usually a piece of cheese or bread. Should I just let her cry? I know its not good to give her food in bed. Any one else going through this? Advice.

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Odette - posted on 01/12/2009

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I went through this with my son Nickolas (now 5). I just ignored him. If he didn't eat at dinner then he wouldn't get anything until breakfast. If he ate at dinner he would get a snack before bedtime. It was hard to put my foot down like this, but it worked. I knew he wasn't starving when he was crying, so it made it a little easier to take the control back that he was attempting to take from me.



Good luck!

Robin - posted on 01/11/2009

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Don't give in.  If you are sure she's had appropriate amounts of food for meals, plus an after dinner evening snack, then she really doesn't need anything at bed time.  Remind her that breakfast is only a little while away, and tell her that it will get here even faster once she's asleep.  She has gotten used to comforting herself with a bedtime snack, so breaking the habit will be difficult.  You can replace the food with you: an extra story or cuddle before getting tucked into bed work wonders.  Just make sure you stick with the plan once you start.  Kids are really good at figuring out which buttons to push.  It sounds really cold, but you know more than she does, and you can help her discover what she really needs, not just what she wants. 

Jenna - posted on 01/12/2009

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wow never did i even think anyone els had that prob my son is the same but he dont like to eat much dinner he will eat all day loves his fruit but all he will eat at dinner is meat and we put him in bed and he will wait a bit then start yelling out and saying his hungry even if he has had alot

Julie - posted on 01/11/2009

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Our three year old does the same thing.  As soon as we announce bedtime, suddenly he has to potty, he is thirsty, he is hungry etc. and he acts like he has not had anything in days.  We have just been firm with him that it is bed time and he can not have anything.  Some nights go smoother than others.  Some night he lays in his bed and yells for his daddy for an hour. Just be firm and invest in some good ear plugs.=) haha  Hang in there.....

Heather - posted on 01/12/2009

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My 3 yo used to pull the same thing. I could never tell if she really was hungry or if she was trying to stay up a few more minutes. I realized, either way, it doesn't hurt the child to go to bed a little hungry once in a while. And, its not good to start a habit of eating right before bed. We have a regular evening snack/dessert a little after dinner and that's it. Nothing to eat before bed. She screamed and whined a lot the first few times--but now she knows the drill. If she's hungry--she better eat her dinner ;-)

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Diane - posted on 04/23/2013

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My son is 3 1/2 years old and lately he is hungry before bed. He even wake up at 4 am sometimes crying that he is hungry. I just feed him. A bowl of cereal, pasta or even just a granola bar. I would never deny my son food and I just can't send him to bed hungry. I figure he is growing and his body is calling for food for a reason.

Amy - posted on 01/12/2009

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Did you consider having her screened for diabetes?  Excessive hunger and thirst are two warning signs for this disease; also, frequent urination is common.

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