Is your Kid Sneaking Sweets? Here are 5 Things You can do Today
As a parent, it's never easy to find out that your kid is sneaking sweets or other food. You might feel a range of emotions - angry, confused, and concerned, to name a few. Your first instinct may be to discipline your child and set even tighter restrictions around sweets and snacks. But is this really the best course of action or will it perpetuate the issue and lead to more sneaking and dishonesty?
In this blog post, we'll explore what to do if your kid is sneaking food, and offer some tips on how to handle the situation in a way that promotes a positive relationship with food and builds trust between you and your child.
It's important to understand that it's not uncommon for kids to sneak a cookie or have a small treat when you're not looking. These sneaky moments are a part of childhood and there's typically no need to worry. However, if you start to notice that your child is constantly sneaking food, it may be time to take action.
Here are 5 things you can do if your child is sneaking food:
Avoid reacting negatively or shaming them
Approaching your child with kindness and curiosity is key when you've caught them sneaking food. It can be tempting to react with anger or frustration, but this will likely only make your child feel threatened and defensive. Instead, try to make it clear that you're not mad and that you want to have an open and honest conversation. You could say something like, "Hey honey, I noticed some candy wrappers in your closet. I'm not mad, but I wanted to talk to you about it and figure out what's going on. Can you tell me more about why you felt the need to sneak the candy?" By taking a non-judgmental approach, you're more likely to get your child to open up and share their feelings with you.
Understand the reason behind the sneaking
The next step is to really listen to what your child has to say. Ask your child to explain why they felt the need to sneak the food, and really listen to their answer without interrupting or judging.
Possible reasons could be that your child:
Isn’t getting enough food at mealtimes
Is going through a growth spurt and needs more energy
May be eating out of boredom
Was feeling stressed and turned to food for comfort
May be feeling restricted of certain sweets or snacks
Feels ashamed of asking for more food
Is seeing foods on the counter which is triggering temptation
By understanding the reason behind the sneaking, you can work together to find a solution that addresses the underlying issue.
Notice if you’re being too restrictive on sweets
It's important to remember that restricting your child's intake of sweets can actually backfire and make the problem worse. When children feel like food is restricted or scarce, they often become more obsessed with those exact foods. This is known as the "scarcity effect," and it applies to both children and adults. In fact, you may have experienced this yourself when you've gone on a diet or tried to cut out a certain food: as soon as you feel restricted, you start to crave it even more! So, while it may be tempting to limit your child's access to sweets or other snacks, it's important to do so in a way that doesn't create a sense of scarcity or deprivation.
Honor their hunger
One of the best ways to address consistent sneaking of food is to honor your child's hunger. If your child admits to sneaking food because they're not getting enough to eat, it's important to listen to their needs and add more food to their daily intake. This may mean increasing the size of their meals, adding more snacks throughout the day, or adjusting the types of foods they're eating. By honoring their hunger a