Bed Without Supper

Do any of you actually follow through on the threat to send your kid to bed without their supper?

Two nights ago, my youngest would not eat his soup.  He’s 4, and lately he has been “testing boundries”, which are code words for  “driving us insane.” He decided he didn’t like the soup (which we’ve had before) and would not eat it.  We even had Halloween candy as a desserty incentive. He cried when he didn’t get candy, but he still wouldn’t eat the soup. He had eaten 5 or 6 bites, and had been playing with it for 20-30 minutes when I finally took the bowl away.

It was time for bed, Amy wasn’t home, everyone else was done eating, and I just started the bedtime routine.  He definitely expressed being hungry a few times, but the soup option was always rejected. Eventually he went to bed jolly as ever and slept all night long.   At 6:15 he next morning he woke us up with his relentless chatter, which is only slightly tempered by his equally relentless cuteness.  But that’s the same time he always wakes us up.

So right now I’m feeling pretty good about standing my ground, but it’s the first time I’ve ever done that with any of our kids.  So I figured I’d ask around… see what others have experienced.

8 thoughts on “Bed Without Supper

  1. We do that with our kids all the time (ages 6, 5, 3 and 2) Even with our youngest, our rule is that if they don’t eat their food, there is nothing else until the next meal. They usually whine about it a bit, but it doesn’t hurt them. It seems to work for us.

    I really appreciate your posts about parenting. It’s always good to hear someone else’s thoughts and ideas.

    Thank you!


  2. Food fights {the verbal ones, in this case …} irritate to me to no end and always ruin the mood around here. So to keep them from happening we try to stand by these rules: Eat what we’ve put in front of you. The plate doesn’t have to be absolutely cleaned, but there has to be a real effort. If not, there’s nothing else for the rest of the night. If such a discussion happens at lunch, there’s no snacks between lunch and dinner. It’s helped to keep us parents from being pulled into {verbal} food fights with our kids, especially 4-year-old Cate who likes to negotiate.

  3. That’s our standard process with all our kids (5, 3, 1.5). It has never hurt them, and we make sure we emphasize that our goal is not just obedience (though that’s important) but loving thankfulness toward the person who labored to prepare the meal.

    Our recent challenge is that the 3-year-old is delighted to skip a meal, or even two, rather than eat something she doesn’t want. That changes the game!

  4. We’ve done it before, and more than once. Kind of the ‘law of natural consequences’ thing. You won’t eat what’s in front of you, so you don’t eat at all. We figure that if we offer anything else other than the ‘non-preferred’ food, we’re just encouraging the whining, and setting ourselves up for another (harder) battle next time. Going to bed without dinner once in a while isn’t going to hurt most children. We’ve never had a kid wake up the next morning looking an worse for the wear.

    Thanks for your parenting thoughts &n insights – I appreciate them!

  5. We do it. If you don’t eat your dinner (and it’s something we know you like), then you don’t get your nighttime snack. We’ll let them eat their dinner for their snack. But no dinner, no snack. It’s only had to happen a couple of times!

  6. We do it when necessary. Our kids are not deprived, and they have learned to eat a lot of healthy stuff that other kids their age won’t touch with a four-foot plastic light sabre.

  7. just kind of looking back at some of the previous posts I dind’t read before. Wow! I’ve definately sent my kids to bed without supper and then if it’s something I know they CAN eat and should eat, they eat it for lunch. I’m a strong breakfast food is for breakfast only kind of thing and you can’t eat supper for breakfast. (however you can eat breakfast for supper…weird? 🙂 )

    Anyways, my background is very different. My daughter spent the first three years of her life not eating anything but maybe a cracker or something else. We were lucky if she ate any kind of substantial thing in a day. it started at 7months old…a baby!! she’d drink her milk in the bottle and I’d make the bottle nipples bigger and pour a jar of babyfood in it..stage 2 because it’s still kinda runny). But that was the only way we could get any kind of nutrition in her. She wouldn’t be spoon fed or had anything to do with it. Then when she was just over one and off my milk, food was just a battle. Many tears, many doctors telling us that it was something we were doing wrong. Many people were just baffled at this young girl who didn’t even have a mark on a growth chart! for 3 years we battled with her…and finally one day, it just changed. Not great at first, but it did change. now at 7 she’s still a peanut, but she’s back on the chart at a whopping ‘low normal’ which to me is a huge blessing. Neither child of mine is a big eater, and they like their fruits. my daughter loves some veggies…but to make meal time easier, I’ll make them eat what I feel is reasonable and continue to offer foods to them and let them try it. They don’t have to like it. IF they simply do not like it, I won’t force it on them, but they’re 7 and 5. I kinda know what they like, textures they like, etc….and I try to make meal time as fun as I can. But it can be very stressfull when they don’t want to eat what you put in front of them. so there have been times when they have gone to bed without supper…but more so lately vs before.

    Sorry I rambled…

    1. oh and my daughter to this day…we learned is now lactose in tolerant. But she still loves Lactose free milk & soy milk…and toast. She loves bread, crackers, waffles….and milk. 🙂

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