Saturday, February 6, 2010

The kitchen is a distraction

Lately I have noticed a problem. It has gotten to the point that it is disrupting our school time, so I am trying to come up with a solution. Our issue involves food.

Just the other day I wrote about our small house and the limited space that we have. We have one big living space that is the living room, dining room and kitchen all in one. This is also where much of our schooling takes place. We sit at the table to do our math and writing. We sit on the couch to read books. And science experiments almost always happen on the kitchen counter. Because it is right there in front of us all day long, I think that the kitchen has really been distracting us from our studies.

Maybe I should blame this problem on Molly. It started when we brought her home or maybe it even started while she was still growing in my tummy. Since I was, and am still, often tired or dealing with the baby I have encouraged my children to be more self sufficient. Sophie has been making sandwiches for the crew. The boys have been getting their own bowls and pouring their own milk. They no longer have to ask me to get them food. They just get it themselves. This is a good thing. I am not up and down all day getting this or that or the other thing but now there doesn't ever seem to be a time when they aren't eating.

Half an hour after putting the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and just when we are ready to start our school day, Henry is back in the pantry getting another bowl of cereal or Ian is raiding the craisins. Sophie decides she needs her banana of the day or another cutie. I am not worried about what they are eating. There isn't really any bad choices to be made as far as food goes in our house. I just don't keep or buy junk, so my kids are forced to eat lots of fruits (fresh or dried) and whole grain items. What is the issue is that they seem to eat all the time.

While I am trying to read aloud to them, someone is in the fridge foraging for a snack. While Sophie is struggling through her math exercise at the kitchen table. Henry is over at the counter making himself a Nutella sandwich. Needless to say, this is a little distracting. I have tried to set a food schedule where we eat breakfast, have a snack at about 10:00 and then lunch at 12:00 and then another snack at about 2 or 3:00 and then finally dinner at 6:00. But I can't seem to hold the kids to it. The food is just too accessible. It is always around us, so the kids and I (I will include myself in this problem too) can't seem to ignore it. We seem to just snack all day long. It is hard to say the kitchen is closed when we are sitting in it. It is hard to ignore food when you have to wipe the table off quickly to get the crumbs off so we can do an art project.

This may seem like a little issue but it has been bugging me for awhile now and I can't seem to come up with a solution yet. Any ideas?

p.s. The picture is of Molly sampling my green smoothie. This has become one of her favorite foods. A whole bunch of spinach blended with some blueberries and bananas. YUM!


Bibliophile said...

Molly looks so funny! I didn't know that you were feeding her such good things so early! One suggestion: have you tried locking the cupboards and/or the refrigerator so that the food is less accessible?

Jen said...

Hmmm, its like a catch 22 having self sufficient kids.

Have you tried setting meal/snack times, they can eat, but once snack time is over its back to work.