Daily occurrence in my clinic: A toddler is brought in for evaluation. During the course of our visit any type whining, fussing, or protest triggers the appearance of the grazing canister from mom’s bag. Grazing canisters are those small, colorful plastic snack containers that are suited for the fast, easy delivery of refined carbohydrates anytime, anywhere. And then, hand-to-mouth, the fish-shaped crackers or bear-shaped graham crackers disappear as fast as they appeared.
This mindless move to preoccupy our children with food is perceived by most of us as innocent. Peace at any cost. And what harm does it do really? Perhaps more than we think.
It rewards marginal behavior.
It reinforces that we deal with boredom and other emotions with food.
Unless it is a designated snack time, it isn’t consistent with good feeding structure.
I don’t say this to pass judgment but find it to be a common practice with subtle consequences that few parents think about. It appears that our relationship with food begins a lot earlier than we think.