How to Handle Snacks Before Bedtime
Your child tells you they are hungry a few minutes before bedtime, what do you do? This is an area a lot of parents are confused on! Because of this, we decided to reach out to WIC moms and ask what they did when running into this situation. Here's what they had to say:
What do you do when your child wants to eat at bedtime?
“I struggle with this with my 3 year old. He is ALWAYS hungry before bed. He goes to bed around 8PM. We do a bedtime snack around 7. I used to give in and feed him. But I was just creating bad habits. So now I am pretty firm and try to redirect with a book or quiet activity. Takes a little bit to redirect but he is finally getting it!”
“If my child is hungry at bedtime or anytime, he is able to pick a snack from his drawer. I have a spot in the fridge with fresh veggies, cut fruit, string cheese, and nuts almost always, that he can grab from when hungry. So far it has not been abused so I do not have to police it much.”
“Explain they can have their favorite meal tomorrow, that their body needs rest first.”
“Normally, a routine dinner is sufficient enough to keep children full, even into bedtime hours. However, if a snack is requested, offer a small cup of milk or yogurt. Nothing sugary or salty (i.e. no chocolates, ice cream, chips, junk food, sodas, etc.), and wait a few more moments for them to digest food before attempting bedtime again.”
“If/when my child wants to eat at bed we make a quick snack of something with protein and healthy fats like cheese, so their belly is full for bed.”
“I offer them water. If they insist, I give some milk unless I can tell it is a growth spurt, then I offer a sandwich. If I know they had plenty at dinner time, I know it's just to delay bedtime, so I tell them that I’ll give them a snack as soon as they wake up (before breakfast time).”
Here is another tip from wichealth.org:
Young kids have small stomachs and can't eat a lot at one time. They may need 3 meals a day plus 3 snacks to get the healthy foods they need to grow. You can offer a small healthy snack right before bedtime teeth brushing. Something simple like cereal or crackers and milk is fine.
What is your best advice when it comes to meals or snacks before bedtime? Let us know in the comments!