The Kitchen is Closed
Have you ever told your child that the kitchen is closed?
In my sessions with parents and their children, I help them set boundaries around food and eating because it is an authoritative style of feeding and considered a positive feeding practice.
I teach them phrases to use that help support healthy changes around feeding and eating. One of the phrases that’s been particularly handy for parents is “the kitchen is closed.”
Is your kitchen always open, always a mess, always in production? Ever wonder if this is healthy? Sustainable? Or the makings for a crazy momma-lady and an out of control eater?
While some parents may believe that closing the kitchen is a cruel act toward children, I find it to be a healthy way to set limits.
When the kitchen is closed, it:
- allows for space between meals and snacks so that children can build up an appetite for meals
- encourages predictability around the timing of meals and snacks
- supports the foundation of structure and rhythm for daily meals and snacks
- diverts children to other activities that have nothing todo with food
If the kitchen is always open, then:
- No limits are set around food and eating
- Food is harder to monitor because food is available all the time
- Regular and rhythmic eating may change to impulsive eating and a lack of self-awareness of appetite
- Overeating becomes a strong possibility
“The kitchen is closed” is a particularly useful phrase when you’ve done a good job at providing meals and snacks to children in timely intervals.
You want to make sure you have regular times when “the kitchen is open…for breakfast, for snack, for lunch, etc.” Then, when your child comes to you an hour after eating dinner, wanting something else to eat, you can say “the kitchen is closed,” and set a clear boundary.
If this is initially upsetting to your child, assure him that another meal or snack will be available soon. Encourage your child to eat at meals and snack times, when the kitchen is open. Soon, your child will learn to eat then, and learn to do other things in between.
Have you closed your kitchen?