My grandson was an expert refrigerator raider. How did I know? Well, he wasn't such an expert at hiding it. It started with a spilled sugar bowl, quickly advanced to sticky fingerprints on the refrigerator door and culminated in open jars and hand prints left in leftovers. Yuck! Someone could have framed him, of course. Still, I'm pretty sure that was him I found hiding in the closet with the jelly jar. So what do you do to stop kids from raiding the fridge at night?
Talk to kids about raiding the refrigerator. Ask them why they do it. Are they hungry? Are they bored? What are they looking for in there? Talk to them about the dangers of putting dirty hands in other food, too. Have the germ talk. Sometimes just knowing you are aware of their midnight snacking is enough to curb the problem.
Feed them well. Of course you make sure they are eating well enough. You love them more than anyone in the world. Still, you have to remember, kids are growing and constantly on the move. Unless your kids are couch potatoes, they burn a lot of calories in the course of a day. You should also see that they are getting what they need for optimum growth and development. Those midnight cravings might be a sign they are missing some essential nutrient. It's also easy to mistake thirsty for hungry. See that they stay off the sugary drinks and on the H20.
Turn out the lights. You don't want to scare your kids. Still, it's less likely they'll raid the fridge at night if they have to encounter darkened rooms. Make bedtime lights-out time. Even if they're not afraid of the dark, leaving lights off makes midnight snacking a challenge. Do have a night light in the bathroom for safety? A night light in the kitchen is completely unnecessary.
Set "alarms." Once we discovered my grandson was raiding the fridge at night, we set up some alarms. We put bells on the kitchen door and on the fridge and cupboard. I was a divorced mom of three for many years. I had to be on the alert, even at night. I'm a pretty light sleeper. The bells woke me up whenever the doors were opened. Having grandma catch you a few times is a great reason for not raiding the fridge.
Make favorite items hard to reach. Don't make it so easy for your kids. Raiding the fridge should be more of a challenge. If they can't find what they want, they may just give up and go back to bed. Either that or they'll make so much noise looking that you'll catch them in the act. So put their favorites at the back of the fridge or under or behind something they don't like. Keep sweets and treats on the top shelf in the cupboard. You'll hear that chair scraping the floor every time.
Leave them something good. If you can't keep kids from raiding the fridge, leave them something nutritious. Stock the fridge with healthy fruits and veggies. Keep snacks to a minimum. Keep things in there you won't mind them eating. That way, if kids do look for a midnight snack, at least it will be a healthy one.
Don't lock it up. Why do I say this? Kids are naturally more attracted to things you forbid. They're rebels at heart. At least my kids always were. Don't turn food into forbidden fruit. Parents who reward with food or give food inflated value are more likely to have kids who overeat. Kids raiding the fridge? Work to develop healthy attitudes toward food.
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