Are You a Snack Time Tyrant with Your Kids?

Two little boys and one girl eating chocolate

How many times have you pleaded with your kid to finish her snack? Your effort to make sure your child is eating enough has good intentions, but a new study says it could be causing more harm than good. Researchers have found that when it comes to snack time, bossy moms may end up with chubbier kids.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, observed 1,200 moms and their toddlers during snack time. Many parents struggle to maintain healthy nutrition with ever picky toddlers, often plying and pleading with toddlers to eat “just one more.” Previous research has shown a connection between parents’ controlling mealtime behavior and obesity, and this study revealed the same.

Parents who were intrusive during snack time – for example, saying “You know you like it, take another bite” – tended to have heavier children.

The weight differences between kids who were pushed to eat, versus those who weren’t, was small. However researchers did find that if mom was pushy during snack time her child would move up on the body mass index (BMI) scale, a difference akin to moving up from the 50th to the 57th percentile, according to study author Julie Lumeng. 

Ultimately researchers say it’s safe to trust your tot’s appetite and learn to control their appetite. Your little one knows when she’s full, and she won’t let herself starve.