Do you make your kids finish their plates? why or why not?
This conversation has been closed to further comments
Join Circle of Moms
Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.Join Circle of Moms
Daisy - posted on 06/24/2011
No I figure if he's hungry he will eat and if not then not. My little man gets 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and always very healthy so if he forgoes a meal I don't worry to much. I don't however provide him with other options at meal time. Breakfast is never an issue in my house but snacks and other meals can be a problem. I will make a morning snack and if he doesn't eat it I save if for the afternoon snack. For lunch if he decides not to eat it I will save it for the following days lunch (I do this because I hate throwing away food and because he almost always eats it the next day haha, also I will go on the record as saying if his food is not finished the next day then I will toss it kind of gross beyond a day) as for dinner I'm a stickler for trying food, I tell him he doesn't have to eat it but he does have to try it and that this is whats for dinner so if he passes it up then he can wait till breakfast.
Ultimately I don't make him finish his plate it will make meal time more of a battle plus they are their own people sure they need lots and lots of guidance but I don't always finish my food so I can't expect him to finish all of his. Also for me learning to stop eating when full is a very valuable lesson...
Everyone has their own way but that's mine:)
Sarah - posted on 06/24/2011
I don't think u should make them finish my mother forced me and it took a long time for me not to feel guilty about leaving food if I was full and I have suffered terribly with bowel trouble because I believed I had to clean the plate
Savannah - posted on 06/24/2011
Also, I've noticed the times they don't eat another bite or two, 20 minutes later they act like they haven't eaten in days & then are ready to eat the leftovers. It's just a pain reheating & cleaning up food messes twice. Now that they normally have a bite or two more we don't run into this problem as often. Sometimes just telling them to take a bite reminds them at the task at hand.
TRACY - posted on 06/24/2011
I do not make my son eat everything off his plate....The reason is cause i wasn't raised like that..plus there stomach r so small if u have to much food on there...i feel it's not fare to him...he eats tell he's says he's full....
Savannah - posted on 06/24/2011
No. My toddlers go through phases where all they do is eat & other days eats virtually nothing. We try to eat the same time everyday & if they have hardly touched their food I'll encourage them to take another bite or two. The majority of the time they get distracted by each other & aren't interested in eating. I try to get them to eat a variety on their plate instead of just all of one thing. There's no reason to force them to eat when they're not hungry.
I couldn't agree with Babay more!
Theresia - posted on 06/24/2011
With my step son, his father and I made him eat everything on his plate. There were huge struggles to the point of sitting there for hours, making him go to bed and eat it for his next meal etc. None of that worked, nor was it good for our relationships. We only got him every other weekend and we were the only enforcing parents in his life. When we had our first child together, I had to tell my husband that I didn't want to try the same tactics. We put kid friendly amounts and we let him try everything we eat. When he is done, all we require is that he has eaten enough to get his nutrition. If he hasn't eaten enough, we tell him to eat more and he usually complies. If he has eaten enough, we don't force the issue with the rest. If he's full, he's full. I think this approach will be healthier mentally and because diabetes runs strongly on my side, it will not promote overeating just because we 'say so'. I'd rather waste food than have my child struggle with this disease.
Kristal - posted on 06/24/2011
No. Instead, if they made the plate themselves or I know it's what they would normally finish, I remind them that there are no treats until they've finished their plate. I put it in the frig and if they say they're hungry later, they can finish it before having snacks/treats. If kids are hungry they will eat.
Nancy - posted on 06/24/2011
I do not make my children finish their plates. I have four. To reduce the amount of dishes, I do not put dinner on the table, family style. Each child gets to choose what they would like on their plate, and how much. They know they have to choose one of everything that is being served. ( don't like peas, but have to eat a few). We are lenient when it comes to new foods. We only ask that they try it. We actually let them spit it out, discreetly, into a napkin if they don't like it. The rule is that if they don't finish the meal they asked for, they will get nothing later, regardless of the plans. Finish breakfast, have a snack. Finish lunch, have a snack, at the pool or an afternoon treat. Finish dinner have dessert. This has worked well. It only takes a few times to deny them ( and yes, a few times throughout the family, even if they see a sibling miss out) they get it, they understand and it works well for us and them.
Dora - posted on 06/24/2011
My children are adults now, but this is a timeless problem. I, personally don't like to waste, and kids don't like to be stuffed. I gave them a small amount of each thing and tried to get them to eat it. A little left on the plate was no great problem. If they wanted seconds they could have them. We didn't waste much and the kids didn't get stuffed (I hope).
Michelle - posted on 06/24/2011
Nope. I actually took a nutrition class in college. They said if you force your kid to "clean" the plate, you are setting your child up for obesity. They know when thet are full. But dont feed them other than scheduled meal times and snacks. We should all eat something every two. Just to keep our metabolisms going
Sue - posted on 06/24/2011
Never ever ever do I make them finish their plates. WE eat when we are hungry and stop when we are full. My children do not have any weight issues eating this way, and they eat whatever they like. They do not overeat either. I think, having been raised the other way (clean your plate!) that this way is best for weight control. They haven't unplugged their natural controls to stop when they are full because they never push past it to clean their plates! :)
Shiela - posted on 06/24/2011
To Shy Rodriguez:
I agree with you. Though when it comes to eggs and bacon, or things like that I will wrap it and put it in the fridge and then when they say they are hungry again I reheat it and let them eat that before I give them a snack. However I will only reheat it once because anything more then that can actually breed bacteria that can make them sick. Also like I said before, I give them age appropriate serving sizes; i.e. my 7 yr old daughter gets way smaller portions then my 14 yr old son and my son gets smaller portions then my husband and I. Also, when I fix my kids plates I let them tell me how much they want and always tell them they can always come back for seconds. Another thing I do is after they finish their first plate if they want more I make them drink a big glass of water and wait at least 15 minutes because it takes your brain that long to realize your tummy is full. That is why a lot of people over eat because they don't give their bodies time to realize that they are full.
Shy - posted on 06/24/2011
I don't mean to come off as judgemently or harsh, but don't you see a problem with that? I literally teared up when I read that ... you really give them soggy or cold left overs just to prove a point? What kind of long-term damage do you think that will cause? In all honesty ...?
Something similar happened to someone I know as a child where he did not finish his oatmeal. So his mother served him that SAME plate for days ... for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That's just a crying shame ...
Keri - posted on 06/24/2011
How old are they? We encourage our 4 year old son to eat as much as he can. Don't you get a little mad when someone tries to tell you to finish all the food, even when it's apparent you are full? Kids' tummies are smaller than ours, and adults' stomachs only hold 3 pounds of food. So if your kid says "I'm full" halfway through dinner, I say let him or her go.
Rae - posted on 06/24/2011
It depends...I'm trying to instill the notion of taking smaller portions (then if he wants more, he can have it), so he should be able to finish everything. Sometimes it depends on what we're having. If he says he's full, I make sure he's really full and not just wanting dessert! If he just wants dessert (or junk), I at least make him finish his veggies. I don't push him to finish things like potatoes, bread, pasta (especially those with heavy, creamy, cheesy sauces), rice, etc...I also don't want him to overeat just so he can have dessert (on those occasions when we actually have dessert). I always try to have something sweet on hand (he has a huge sweet tooth) like fruit or even sugar free jello.
He also takes medicine that supresses his appetite, so I sometimes have to force him to eat a little bit (veggies and fruit usually) just to help keep his weight up...I do worry that this will make it hard for him to self regulate his food intake when he is not taking the medicine any longer.
Brittany - posted on 06/24/2011
I don't. I do however inforce the at least one bite of everything on the plate, although that is mainly to get them to try new things. I've only had to do it once though. I actually have been teaching my daughter that you can be done without cleaning your plate. She's starting to get it, but she's only 19 months, so she has a ways to go.
Janet - posted on 06/24/2011
I never make my children finish everything on there plate. As our pediatrcian said "kids know when they have had enough to eat, if you make them eat everything you are just teaching them to overeat." As a family we rarely have dessert after dinner and my children are fine with that. I believe everything in moderation. Why offer dessert everynight? You are just showing your children to eat sweets everyday after dinner they expect it, kids are smart they catch on fast. I have a 9yr old and a 4yr old some days they eat a ton and some days they barely eat they know there bodies don't teach them to overeat. That is the problem in America today obesity.
Shiela - posted on 06/24/2011
I actually feel both ways; it depends on the situation. I feel that if you give them an appropriate amount for their age there should be no problem with them eating it all. Plus if you have a child like mine that is underweight it may be medically important for them to eat it all. However I feel that if you are out to eat at a restaurant or someone else's house and it is something new or a larger portion you shoul use your best judgement. Also, on holidays like thanksgiving and Christmas when there is a mass of different foods they should not be required to eat everything because usually everyone is snacking all day and plates are notoriously piled high. However, I do feel (and do this with my own children) there should be a "one bite rule". For my family it goes like this: You have to try at least one bite of everything because you do not know if you will like it unless you try it. We have done this with our kids ever since they were little and there are very few things they don't like to eat. The only thing i have never made my kids try, because I refuse to eat it myself, is liver and onions.
Shy - posted on 06/24/2011
This is such an interesting question to me because at the moment I am staying with family members who literally do not believe in throwing out food, no matter how big or small the amount is. They claim that it is a sin. I HATE having to force my kids to finish their food!! I've always served them a little bit at a time but since they were able to hold a spoon by themselves (they are 4 and 2) they've always gone through times when they eat and times that they don't. I feel so guilty forcing food on them. To eat when not hungry? ... gluttony is the true sin here. (to me)
Kelsey - posted on 06/24/2011
I do not make her finish her plate at breakfast or lunch. if she is not hungry then she is not hungry but I also don't cave and feed her snacks (like yogurt, she LOVES yogurt) right after she hasn't eaten her food. I will not put her to bed without dinner because she is only 16 months old and I don't think she is old enough to grasp going to bed hungry and I don't want to be up with her while she is hungry all night. that being said I also don't feed her snack foods if she won't eat dinner, usually jut like cereal or something to help fill her up. I don't believe in forcing them to eat because as some of the other mums have said, they are better at regulating how hungry/full they are then we are. I don't want to teach her to over eat. there is always fruit available for her to eat through the day if she is hungry. I like her to eat a little bit of each thing on her plate but hey, if she doesnt want her meat one night I'm not going to worry about it, she gets plenty of protein in her diet and it won't kill her to not eat it for one night :)
Lisa - posted on 06/24/2011
When he gets a bit older he'll be able to tell me what type of foods he's reay feeling like each day as for now I pay attention and give him a bit of everything. But if he asks for something like a granola bar or some banana I expect him to finish it before asking me for something else. As well as like I said with dinner or lunch, if he doesn't finish he can't just ask for other things like snacks. If you can't eat what you're given then you really aren't that hungry.
Johnny - posted on 06/24/2011
Well, we only have dessert after dinner for special occasions. Like birthdays or dinner parties. Personally, I allow my daughter to have birthday cake at a party even if she hasn't finished a meal. But in her case, if she stopped eating because she was full, she usually actually will say no to the cake too. We have treats at random occasions. I don't like making it forbidden fruit, but a special fun treat for once in a while. Mostly cookies. I do bake them once in a while and cupcakes too.
I think the "no dessert after dinner" rule in our house is more about snacking on stuff around meal time. If you don't want to eat what is served, then you can't really be that hungry. If you didn't eat your pasta, why are you asking for bread & homous an hour later? We don't keep junk food in the house, like chips or candy, so it's not something she knows about eating. I do not buy the argument about it causing obesity, because for most obese people, binge eating and eating for emotions is a learned behavior in their household.
Lisa - posted on 06/24/2011
Everything in moderation for sure! My child doesn't get much in the way of sweets as there's much healthier things for him to be snacking on. I also bake my own goodies so I know what's in them (preservatives wise etc.) at his toddlers program they have snack time and there's always an array of things ie cheese crackers fruit etc and usually always 1 type of treat and he always gets a bit of everything. Sometimes he doesn't even want the sweets he eats up all his crackers fruit etc and leaves the little cupcke etc or sometimes he leaves his raisins let's say and eats everything else, either way I don't get upset with him, he knows and is learning what he likes and doesn't like and his taste buds, just as ours, change every day. Moderation and a good aray of different foods is good:)
Sarah - posted on 06/24/2011
For those of you who don't give your children dessert, do you not worry that when they are older, sweet foods will take on a "forbidden fruit" status, and they will end up bingeing on it when they get the chance? My approach is everything in moderation.
Johnny - posted on 06/24/2011
No, I do not. I try to serve a portion that is reasonable and if she doesn't finish it, it will go in the fridge for later. If she refuses to eat something because she is choosing to be picky (not for foods that she's trying for the first time & hating), I will not offer other foods. You don't want to eat this, you do not want to eat all that badly. I can always count on my hubby, the human garbage disposal to eat what she doesn't. That way, she learns that it's not good to waste, and that if you do not take what is offered to there might not be anything else.
As a kid, my parents forced me to finish what was on my plate. I was not that picky, but I had a very small appetite and for some reason I had a very difficult time swallowing dry foods like potatoes or pork chops and the like. This lead to long battles at the dinner table, me being left there for hours, and lots of tears. I was only in my mid-teens when my parents realized that it was the wrong way to approach things and apologized to me. I have real issues with eating to this day. I know that forcing me to finish what was on my plate is one of their biggest parenting regrets, so it is certainly not something I would repeat. My only rules are that you try something at least once, that you remain politely in your seat and participate in the table conversation, and that you don't ask for snacks before or after. If you can't eat your dinner, you obviously don't have room for dessert.
Olivia - posted on 06/24/2011
No, never would i make my child finish his plate. i remember my grandparents always made me finish my plate and i would be truly full and would end up sick because i was forced to finish my food. Also i believe that this old school concept of finishing your food is part of the reason we have issues with obesity in america. By forcing them to eat all of there food it will eventualy lead them to not stop eating when they are full, this is the cause of a lot of peoples obesity, its not just lack of exercise and bad diet. Also if you dont feel like they have had enought wrap the plate up and put it in the fridge and if they come back saying they are hungry heat it back up and tell them they have to finish their dinner before they can have anything else. i understand that people are starving all over the world so for that dont put to much on there plate start with less than what they normally eat and then if they want second only give them a little more, so on and so fourth.
Janaye - posted on 06/24/2011
At our house, we fix our kids plates with kid sized portions. If they aren't hungry enough to finish, then the left overs get put into the fridge. If they get hungry later, we heat it up and they can finish. Our rule is everything from the dinner plate (or lunch plate) has to be eaten before any other snacks can be taken. That way we ensure their nutrition and eliminate the picky eater mentality that is allowed in some homes.
Tina - posted on 06/24/2011
I operate a home daycare and have 2 children of my own and I have never forced a child to eat. They get a 'dessert' if they eat all of their food but if they are not very hungry and don't want to eat it all that is fine but then they don't get dessert. Not hungry for lunch or dinner means not hungry for treats.
Rachel - posted on 06/24/2011
No. They have to at least eat their vegetables, try everything. But I was forced to finish my plate as a child and I believe my eating disorder has something to do with that, if someone isn't hungry, you shouldn't force them to eat.
Lisa - posted on 06/24/2011
Yes I do for the most part. If I know my child has eaten more than usual that day or something closer to dinner time (ie a snack or later lunch) I adjust his portions to compensate.:) once in a blue moon you can tell he's more full sooner I save the leftovers and he gets it for lunch the next day. If he's full he's full, he doesn't get dessert (which we hardly ever have in our house anyway, if my fiancé and I want ice cream or something as a treat we eat it once he's gone to bed so as not to put it infront of his face as a tease or to start a 'dessert habit') if he eats all his dinner and wants something more after he may get a piece of fruit or if we have a "dessert" that night he gets a few bites/half a cookie/muffin etc. All kids are different,I believe in doing what works best for each child individually and what works best for each family:)
Shannintipton - posted on 06/24/2011
THAT'S WHAT NANA DOES. Once a week on Sunday we go up there and it always desert. She stuffs them so full of sweets. I must admit they do eat all their dinner. But when at home they ask for desert and we don't have any. They get all sad. I hate it.
Lady Heather - posted on 06/24/2011
I hope the whole "finish your dinner or you can't have dessert" isn't a regular thing for anyone on here. That's what made my cousin morbidly obese. Dessert became a sort of reward for finishing your meal, so he always over ate.
That's why we don't have dessert around here. If we have anything, it's fruit.
Mary Jane - posted on 06/24/2011
no i don't because if they have had enough and don't want no more food. I let them know that also means junk food as well.Then it up to them if they want to eat more or not. But at least they eat some of there food and a fruit of some kind
Karenda - posted on 06/24/2011
No - our rule at least one bite of everything on the plate and then my kids have to eat some of what they liked the best. If they are hungry later they can have fruits and vegetables. If they want a sweet treat later they need to eat a reasonable amount, but not all their food. Sometimes we have to remind my older daughter to stop eating and wait and see how her stomach feels in 20 minutes - she'll eat watermelon till she is sick :)
Kelly - posted on 06/24/2011
We serve dinner family style (food on platters/bowls), so that everyone can take what they like. We try to stick to the rule: if you take it, you eat it. My kids usually start out with a small amount and take a bit more if they are still hungry. This also cuts down on waste.
Nora - posted on 06/24/2011
NO, there are foods that I don't like. Try to get them to sample the food and if they just can't
learn to like it . There is plenty of things that one can serve where a child will get the correct
amount of foods for a healthy body
Jenn - posted on 06/24/2011
No, I do not. I never want food to become a negative issue with my daughters. They are grazers so they have a shelf in the pantry and fridge stocked with healthy snacks, nothing junk. I also make sure their plates always include foods they love (apples, cheese, broccoli, etc) along with whatever main meal I have cooked. So far this plan has worked well. My kids eat very well and are willing to try new foods. Growing what we can in the garden also makes mealtime more fun for them and they appreciate the taste of nature as opposed to processed!
Vicki - posted on 06/24/2011
I don't make my son finish his plate but if he is hungry later, he gets his dinner, not alternative foods. Some evenings he will tell me he's hungry and will finish his dinner, others it never even comes up and he goes to bed fine. If it's a food I know he doesn't care much for, we usually try a bite or two but don't push the issue. I don't think he's ever gone to bed "hungry". This works very well in our house!