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Sneaking food?

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by samson, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. samson

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    I caught my 5-year-old (not T1D) climbing up on a chair to sneak a bunch of muffins I had placed on a high shelf "out of reach." He and the 2-year-old (T1D) ate some of the muffins, though I can't tell exactly who ate what.

    How do I teach my 5-year-old that sneaking food is not just wrong but also dangerous to his little brother? Right now I told him that since he snuck the food, he can obviously see to his own food needs and I wont make him breakfast. Long-term this does not seem like a viable strategy because if he's hungry that will only spur him to sneak more food. But I'm very concerned because it's very dangerous for the littler one -- he cannot check his blood sugar, and a single muffin unbolused will send his blood sugar into the 600s. I don't know what else to do.


    Does anyone have any other suggestions? We need to get across how serious this is; we might deal with this differently if diabetes was not in play but it would still be a serious problem.
     
  2. DavidN

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    I wish I had a good answer for this but don't. Your parenting and discipline strategies will play a role, but in many instances children will do as they please. At this age he has little capacity for rationalization and thinking through longer-term consequences. As for your younger son's BG levels, stealth muffin eating is just one of many reasons why BG's may go high or low. You just have to stay vigilant. A bad pump site will also quickly send him sky high. Some day technology will get us to a point where hyper vigilance is not necessary, unfortunately, we are just not there. Good luck!
     
  3. Snowflake

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    Over five years of managing T1d + celiac with 3 little kids under foot, I think I've developed radar for movement in the kitchen. Instead of expecting the kids to come to me for permission, I'm in there if they are. We also keep the most tempting snacky foods in the highest cabinets, which take some Mission Impossible-style maneuvering and lots of grunting to reach, so I'm more apt to hear the shenanigans and get there before they do. I don't think I consciously came up with this strategy, but it's evolved over the years. Call it stealth vigilance. I don't want my T1 child to feel micromanaged about food, but of course I do need to know what she's eating.

    At age 7, she has just recently reached the point where she pretty well understands that she needs a bolus for anything other than a handful of free snacks, so this is quickly becoming less of a problem for us. I feel like we're nearing the other end of the tunnel where I can relax my grip on the wheel a little bit. We definitely had some fails along the way when she was younger. Good luck!
     
  4. Just Jen

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    I'd invest in a couple sets of magnetic cabinet locks and keep the magnetic keys in a hidden place. I'd also put a refrigerator lock on as well. Much easier at this age than it will be when they are older and you want them to be prepping food themselves. But the hope would be that by then, your T1D kid will understand the concepts better and be able to say no for himself.
     
  5. samson

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    This is a sensible idea. It's a pity that we will have to implement it though.



    We try to be in the kitchen whenever they are, but sometimes you have to do things like go to the bathroom, answer the door or get ready for work. :( And we did put these muffins up way on top of the fridge but these kids are just too fast. I was away from the kitchen for 3 minutes, which was enough time for the muffin heist.
     
  6. Snowflake

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    I know what you mean! You can't be everywhere at once, and there is no foolproof solution to this problem beyond putting your toddler on a leash. :) For little kids, it seems like the trick is to monitor/control food without making the kids feel restricted. Which I figure is a little bit impossible, but also worth aiming for.
     
  7. Ali

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    You can also have a stash of free food that works for both kids that they can snack on themselves, if you are comfortable with that. So a drawer and lower fridge space with containers marked with their names, of carrots, celery, string cheese or cut up cheese, meats etc, whatever you feel your two year old could snack on without a big impact on BG levels. It is tricky and of course when what they really want is the muffins or sugary stuff all you can keep saying is this your free food but you have to ask Mom and Dad for any other food and then make that enticing food as hard to get as possible, up high, and put away when they are not watching if possible. The phase will probably not last too long and giving the 5 year old a sense of control might help. Just a thought. Good luck. Try not to over react when it happens so the two of them do not start doing to get attention.Good luck.
     
  8. MomofSweetOne

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    Excellent idea! Do cheese, meats, and peanut butter affect BGs in little ones? They were our "free foods" for the first couple of years post dx, but now we see more highs from those than carbs because of the fat and protein content. These days cucumbers are the free food, and there are lots planted in my garden in hopes of keeping up with the demand this summer.

    With siblings, I would recommend feeding them together with the same food expectations. Use healthy foods for lows, and let your non-D snack as well.
     
  9. Snowflake

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    I totally agree that little kids should snack together. That's good policy and highly practical anyway, but I think it's even more important when one of the kids is food restricted.

    As for the free food stash: we have been able to point out no-permission snacks (that are both free and gf) now that our two older kids are 5 and 7 and they can both reach the fridge and identify the free foods like cheese and seaweed. It wasn't an option when our t1 was as young as Samson's. At that age, it was all about constant monitoring and moving snacks into ever-higher cabinets and fridge shelves.
     
  10. susanlindstrom16

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    I would personally get rid of the vocabulary about "sneaking" and instead drill it into them the importance of letting you know when they want a snack. I think i may be a little more lax than most on this but i just feel like keeping food under lock and key just makes them fixate on it more if they know its there. I would tell the 5 year old that his little brother can't eat anything without mom or dad knowing and that if he sees him eating something its very important for him to tell you right away because he needs his insulin.

    I think having a stash of healthy stuff very accessible is a great idea, not only for the kids (non d and d), but also for the adults! We used to keep a bowl of cut up veggies ready to go when you open the fridge, thanks for inspiring me to get that started again!
     
  11. samson

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    We emphasize that taking food without permission is wrong because younger brother needs insulin for everything he eats and that he always needs to let us know. Unfortunately that has not sunk in. He always seems sad when he realizes that his brother could get really sick, but it doesn't stop the behavior. Either he forgets or he think it can't be that bad because he doesn't see or feel the results.

    A free food stash will be great when they're older. At this age I don't trust them not to spill milk all over the fridge, lick the hummus, accidentally break dishes, or leave bites in the cucumbers and put them back. Also, it's not a matter of hunger; he is stealing foods he prefers (honey, muffins, candy) while leaving his breakfast untouched on a plate. So free foods won't deflect his hankering for sweets.
     
  12. Snowflake

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    I feel for you. My 5 yr old non-T1 has only the barest grasp of diabetes. It's not willful; he is just not old enough to understand what a pancreas is, much less that we have to count invisible carbs in order to determine insulin requirements. I can tell when we try to explain even the most basic facts that he has no clue what we are saying. I'm glad hes the younger sibling - That would be hard if he was the older!

    The good news is that there is a huge cognitive leap between 5 and 7, so I hope that things get easier for you soon. And I hope that at least some of these suggestions help!
     

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