My friend Shannon has three children. She makes parenting look easy, as she is rarely flustered, and she has the patience of a saint. I could go on and on about Shannon, but suffice it to say, she’s a good mom with lots of good ideas.
One idea that Shannon shared with me is her “kitchen rules.” Frustrated by her childrens' tendency to snack a lot and eat little at meals, she came up with a list of rules for the kitchen to help her manage the eating habits of her kids without having to nag.
Quite simply, the kitchen rules are how Shannon runs her kitchen: try everything on your plate, eat as best you can at meal time, and don’t expect constant snacks. For Shannon, this means allowing snacks only at scheduled snack time. In addition, the kitchen “opens” and “closes” during the day, as to prevent Shannon from having to make breakfast and lunch several times a day.
Her schedule looks something like this:
Breakfast 7 – 8
Otherwise, the kitchen is closed.
At first I thought these rules a bit stringent, but then I realized she has three different children on three different school and activity schedules. If she didn’t keep narrow windows open for meals and snacks, she might never leave the kitchen.
Shannon’s been parenting a few more years than I, and I think she is on to something. For now, I can keep pretty good order without any rules. But I can see the day coming when I will have to get creative with breakfast. My boys have two very different morning personalities…one wakes up chipper, the other a bit groggy. Already I sometimes am feeding the second breakfast after the first has already completed his meal. This works okay for now, but perhaps I may have to come up with my own set of rules here soon…just maybe call them “kitchen hours” instead of “rules,” as I am all about the softening of the word “rule.”