Holding the boundary
When following the Division of Responsibility (DOR), one of the main guidelines is for the parent(s) to determine the timing for meals, which usually means to schedule meals and to maintain a relative regular schedule so the child knows when to expect the next meal. This is often a challenge for parents with scheduling extra-curricular activities and work often make this difficult. Holidays can also be a challenge when determining mealtimes.
(c) Shalyn Yamanaka 2018
Recently we took a vacation with a 2 hour time difference from our “normal” time. One night at dinner, my little one had been wanting a lollipop for a few days and was really excited to have it with dinner. He enjoyed it at dinner and consumed very little besides it. He was reminded when he said he was done to make sure his tummy was full as we were not eating again until the morning.
A little later at bedtime, he said he was hungry. As is common for many children, sometimes hunger can be used as a delay tactic for bedtime. If we were at home, without a time change, I would not have given a second thought about holding the boundary. As we were on holiday and our time schedules had been shifted, I gave my little one the opportunity to finish his milk from dinner and then went through teeth brushing again with a reminder that he needed to make sure his tummy gets full during dinner.
Scheduling meals and snacktimes can be difficult for some families. My recommendation is typically to make sure you have food available for your child every 3-4 hours – it may be a little shorter if they are younger (under 2.5 years old). Ultimately, you will learn your child’s cues and what works best for your family.