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Your policy of feeding neighborhood kids?

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MichelleCarmen

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Curious here for those who have school age children. . .

When your kids have friends show up to play to do you feed them if they say they're hungry or do you send them home?

My thought is if a child has been invited over by me, I'll ask them if the kid is hungry and if so give him/her a snack. If the child shows up wanting to play, I feel it's rude if he/she start asking for me to feed him/her.

Once a girl showed up after playing down the street all day. I happened to be making lunch (just simple ground turkey) and she commented on how good it smelled and told me she hadn't eaten all day. I felt obligated to feed her rather than send her home.

Now that my kids are older, rather than offical playdates, they have more of the kids just showing up situation and they always ask for food.

My friend has teenage kids and she said it's become really bad because both her boys will have a group of kids show up and they basically raid and empty her fridge. I'm kind of worried that will happen with us!
 

MonkeyPie

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As a teenager (or even younger), I never did this at anyone''s house nor did any of my friends do it to my mom, but if I brought a friend over I would be the one making us something to snack on. I never begged food off mom or dad.
But when my brother was little (before I came along), my mom used to call our house The Kool-Aid house because all of his little friends would come over for juice before going out to play after school hehe.

If a kid came over to my house and asked to be fed, I would make something small and snacky, but I wouldn''t feed them a meal or anything unless I or my child did the inviting. Unless, of course, I knew that this particular child didn''t have much food at home, or his/her parents were not home much. Not on a regular basis, by any means, but I would never deny a hungry child food. I think the biggest thing is just to make sure it doesn''t become something they do every day.
 

Maisie

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I don''t feed meals to the kids'' friends but I will offer snacks. I used to babysit one of my son''s friends for around 4 years. He is like one of the family and is treated as such. He eats here and spends a lot of time playing round outside. I don''t encourage that with Sam''s other friends as they will never go away if I do!
 

elrohwen

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I think this happens a lot with teenage boys - so you might have to be prepared for your fridge to be raided
As a girl, I don''t ever remember doing this - we might have a snack, but a couple girls won''t be able to eat you out of house and home in a few hours the way boys can.

I would offer the kids a snack, but wouldn''t make them a whole meal. For all you know, their moms expect them to come home for dinner with the family so you shouldn''t be giving them a meal anyway. And if their parents are hoping other people feed their kids for them, then that''s just sad
 

fieryred33143

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Growing up, my brothers had friends come over all the time from the neighborhood. If it was lunchtime, my mom would make everyone sandwiches because she knew that if my brothers were in one of their houses and it was lunchtime, the mother would give them something to eat.

It helped strengthen the community where we lived. All of the parents looked out for each other''s children and no one thought anything of it.

The kids never stayed for dinner though. By that time, the sun had gone down and my mom would send everyone home.
 

Mrs Mitchell

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Not sure. I didn't grow up in an area where people dropped in univited, or we ate at friend's houses (unless it was pre-arranged). If it was a mealtime or we were hungry, we went home.

If it was a child I knew well and whose parents I knew well, I'd probably give them whatever I gave my daughter. I'd hesitate to give food to a child I didn't know well. Too much stuff to think about! Do they have any severe allergies? Are there things their parents don't allow them to eat / drink? If you give them stuff with sugar in it, do you brush teeth?! Do they keep Kosher or Halal? Vegetarian? Vegan? And so on. I would be none to happy to find out that my kid had been eating stuff I prefer to avoid.

I'm talking about young kids, though, rather than teenagers, who are an entirely different animal (species?) lol. I think a padlock on the fridge is your best bet there.
 

asscherisme

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Date: 1/24/2010 3:01:15 PM
Author:MC
Curious here for those who have school age children. . .

When your kids have friends show up to play to do you feed them if they say they''re hungry or do you send them home?

My thought is if a child has been invited over by me, I''ll ask them if the kid is hungry and if so give him/her a snack. If the child shows up wanting to play, I feel it''s rude if he/she start asking for me to feed him/her.

Once a girl showed up after playing down the street all day. I happened to be making lunch (just simple ground turkey) and she commented on how good it smelled and told me she hadn''t eaten all day. I felt obligated to feed her rather than send her home.

Now that my kids are older, rather than offical playdates, they have more of the kids just showing up situation and they always ask for food.

My friend has teenage kids and she said it''s become really bad because both her boys will have a group of kids show up and they basically raid and empty her fridge. I''m kind of worried that will happen with us!
I will offer a snack if we iinvited the child. But kids have learned I don''t appreciate uninvited guests! Call first is what I prefer! I have a reputation among my kids friends as being kind but firm and I like that. Their friends like me but know not to mess with me :)
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 1/24/2010 4:43:32 PM
Author: Mrs Mitchell
Not sure. I didn''t grow up in an area where people dropped in univited, or we ate at friend''s houses (unless it was pre-arranged). If it was a mealtime or we were hungry, we went home.

If it was a child I knew well and whose parents I knew well, I''d probably give them whatever I gave my daughter. I''d hesitate to give food to a child I didn''t know well. Too much stuff to think about! Do they have any severe allergies? Are there things their parents don''t allow them to eat / drink? If you give them stuff with sugar in it, do you brush teeth?! Do they keep Kosher or Halal? Vegetarian? Vegan? And so on. I would be none to happy to find out that my kid had been eating stuff I prefer to avoid.

I''m talking about young kids, though, rather than teenagers, who are an entirely different animal (species?) lol. I think a padlock on the fridge is your best bet there.
I didn''t think of the vegetarian aspect. . .I always ask if the child has allergies and usually the kid will know. The girl who was fed the turkey has responsible parents who feed her and that wasn''t a concern. I think she was just house jumping because she had the okay from her mom and I was the first who had food out and being prepared.


Fiery - I can see why your mom gave out food since the other parents did too. There have been specific times when my kids have been invited over for lunch. . .however, other than that, none of the parents ever feed my kids and so I''ve found I''d like to set boundries. . .There was one odd incident where a mom offered to take my son after school for four hours while we were moving. He ended up staying there for six hours, rather than four, before the mom brought him home (she offered to bring him back and I had no idea why she was so much later). As soon as she left, my son began crying saying he was so hungry. I felt horrible for him. I''ve taught them never to ask for food and he followed my directions. I was shocked about what happened because my son had lunch at 11:00 am and didn''t come home till six. . .so actually 7 hours without any food! So, I kind of feel like it''s difficult to know where to draw the line (why I posted!)
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 1/24/2010 5:00:43 PM
Author: asscherisme
I will offer a snack if we iinvited the child. But kids have learned I don''t appreciate uninvited guests! Call first is what I prefer! I have a reputation among my kids friends as being kind but firm and I like that. Their friends like me but know not to mess with me :)
I''m not a fan of uninvited guests, either. Before we moved to our current home, we *always* scheduled playdates even with the kids who were 2 minutes away (or just called to make sure it was okay before the kids went over or met at the park, etc.). It wasn''t until moving that kids began dropping by. Once day in the fall, before I knew it there was something like nine kids in my back yard! We had invited one or two and other kids heard those kids and came up to the gate and asked to play.

I was stuck babysitting them.
 

Tacori E-ring

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That''s a tough one. I really don''t think most kids KNOW they are being rude by asking for food. Our neighbor has a 5 year old who often asks for a drink or snack when he is over playing with DD. Never bothers me *but* I could see where it could get out of control if kids started gathering around dinnertime expecting to dine with you. Not sure what the age is when children learn those boundaries. I''ll be curious of other posters advice b/c this is a delicate (IMHO) issue.
 

phoenixgirl

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I''ll have to think more about this issue as Claire gets older, I''m sure. But for now I wanted to add my own version of this story -- in elementary school, my friend used to come over on Yom Kippur when she was supposed to be fasting and eat our food (we are not Jewish). From my memory, we just helped ourselves to snacks; we didn''t have my mom get them for us.

It''s a whole different moral dilemma if the child is supposed to observing a religious holiday and fasting. But I don''t think I was supposed to be aware of that as a fellow child!
 

gailrmv

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As a parent of a very young child, I'm curious to read the other responses. I don't think I would mind feeding other kids or having them hang out at my house as long as the kid was well behaved, they respected our house rules, and that the invite was reciprocated for my son to play at their house. I would not want to feel like I was being taken advantage of for childcare. To answer your question, I think if another kid was playing at my house, I would expect to offer a snack. Not sure about meals, seems like that would need to be pre arranged with the other parent, especially dinner.

I think things were a lot more laid back when I was a kid in the 80s. I just remember us neighbor kids in and out of eachother's houses and playing outside a lot. I remember a couple times being with another family at mealtime and a couple times them being at my house but usually we all went home for meals. I think we did have snacks at each other's houses though.


I think that if there are any dietary restrictions, be it allergies, religion, anything, it is up to the kid and/or their parents to explain to the host.
 

honey22

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I don''t have kids yet, so I am totally not qualified to answer this question, but I IMAGINE that if I had an organised playdate with another parent, and knew quite clearly if the child wasn''t allergic etc, then I would happily feed them. I would however, send a child home that just dropped in. In this day and age with allergies, diet choices etc, it''s just a bit too risky.
 

somethingshiny

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I pass out snacks to the neighborhood.

JT has "friends" that live next door. The youngest is 3 yrs older than JT. He and his siblings come over on nice days and play. They'll play on the slip-n-slide, swingset, sandbox, snowbank, etc. When they come over, I offer them a snack. JT still eats relatively frequently. I won't offer a snack to my child and not the others. Friends of the friends have started coming over too. So, now I'm handing out snacks to kids that I don't even know their last name! I'm actually a bit concerned that the parents haven't even met me and have no problem with their children at my house (only outside.)

I think I'm becoming the neighborhood mom.




eta~ ALL of the kids who come to our house obey all of my rules. We don't fight or argue, sharing and taking turns is a must, being polite and using kind language is a must, etc. One of the first times I handed out popsicles, they started in with the "I want this color!!" So, I started with the youngest and let him pick and worked my way up. The older kids got what was left. They didn't complain, and now they know to wait patiently and politely. That's why it's easy to just hand out the snacks.
 

neatfreak

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I will have no problem feeding my neighbor''s kids snacks when I am giving them to my own children as long as I don''t feel like I am being taken advantage of. If all the kids ONLY came to my house to play or if the other parents never reciprocated then I probably would start sending the kids home for snacks.
 

Haven

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This is an interesting situation, especially now that it seems like one out of every ten kids has some serious food allergy. My only concern about feeding other people''s children (if it wasn''t prearranged) would be food allergies, nowadays.

That being said, when I was younger there were probably more ten or fifteen kids in my little neighborhood who bounced around from house to house after school every day. All of the parents always gave us snacks, but they all knew each other (and us) pretty well, so it was probably different. We definitely didn''t ask for food, though, I would have been too embarrassed to do that.

Get ready for the teenage years though, MC! Teenage boys can clean out a pantry in no time. I taught these two students who were best friends and they were obsessed with Jack''s frozen pizzas. They ate three of them after school together EVERY DAY! Their moms told me that they each had a freezer in the garage to house the boys'' pizzas.

When I used to come home after field hockey practice (with some teammates) my mom would call us The Hoovers.
 

Kaleigh

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I had no problem handing out juice boxes and some snacks. I never felt like they came and invaded the fridge, it was an equal thing, they came here, and my kids went to their houses. My kids never really ate at the neighbors houses, they would come home for a snack. It wasn''t a problem for us. Maybe my kids liked the snacks here better?? I dunno.

But thinking back on it, they were soooo busy playing, food wasn''t a big thing.

They played after school. I think they need fuel once they get home from school, for sure. Perhaps you make it a rule that your kids come home after school, have a snack at home and then they can play with their friends??

I know I wouldn''t want to give a kid something right before dinner...

But maybe you should talk to the Mom''s just to make sure you''re on the same page?? And a great question to ask, any allergies I should be aware of?

If that''s not comfortable, then go back to having your kids come home straight away, fuel them and then send them out to play.

In Nantucket before we had our house, we rented in a huge neighborhood. My house was kid central. I was happy my kids had so many friends, but didn''t know all of the parents. Knew some, and were on the same page. One Mom was a single Mom, her kids loved being at our house. I felt like they were always hungry so fed them, as I had more than enough.

I wasn''t taken advantage of. And the Mom thanked me over and over. But I could no more be cooking when their little faces were outside playing with my kids, and I knew their Mom wouldn''t be home for quite a bit.

It taught my kids a lesson too.


I don''t think there is an easy answer to this MC. You''ll have to do as you see what works for you and go from there....

Good luck!!

My kids are 21 and 19. You''d think it ends then??? No way.. That''s when they bring even more friends, and they stay for days!!!

I am OK with it, because I love their friends and know them well!!!
 

soocool

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DD is 17 and her friends sometimes come home from school with her to study, work on projects, etc. I am always prepared and have healthy snacks on hand. One of her friends just looks through the fridge to pick something out and let her know that I prefer she ask me before she decides to pull something out.

Many times I will ask if they would like to stay for dinner. I usually make extra so that is not a problem. In fact, there have been a couple of times when the mothers of these kids actually brought a pizza or Chinese takeout for the kids while they were studying saying that I have fed their kids enough and now they wanted to reciprocate (BTW, the takeout was also for DH and me!)

The parents who work are always grateful that I will let their kids come here (I am SAHM), because they know their kids will be supervised while they are "supposedly" studying. I keep them on track.
 

tlh

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I''m not in that stage yet- but I guess my concern would just be if they were allergic to something I gave them.. that would be awful!

I know growing up, my mom always just stocked up on food. If we had an earthquake or tornado... there would be food to eat. Ha! Well I remember my brother had a friend who constantly raided our cubbord. Boys will be boys, but he was a middle child in a house with about 10+ other brothers and sisters, and his parents were very poor as a result... we invited him over for dinner often, and my mom just stocked up on ramen, campbells soups, chef boyardi, spagettios, etc - that way they had "food" instead of just chips to snack on. If she sent him home hungry- he would have STAYED hungry. It was survival of the fittest over there - and was quite sad - really.
 

packrat

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I never thought about the allergies, so that''s a good point that''s been made.

We lived in the country, so there were no neighborhood kids dropping by, ever. If we had a friend over and we wanted a snack, we''d ask, and if it was too close to supper, mom would tell us to wait. I was a shy kid, so if I was at someone''s house, I''d never ask for myself, unless the friend I was visiting asked if I wanted something. When I was older and a friend was over, or I was at someone''s house, it was never like, eating a weeks worth of groceries in an hour-just a small bowl of chips and a can of pop or something. Even when my brother was older and had started lifting weights and could eat like a horse-if he was at someone''s house, he''d sooner chew off his arm than demolish someone else''s groceries.

My mom would''ve had a cow if we lived in town and kids dropped by whenever. We DO live in town, however, but there aren''t many kids in the area-funny, for only being 1 1/2 blocks from the school. We''ll figure it out when the kids are older, but I would guess that if some random friend of theirs wandered in and wanted something, I''d call the mom and ask if it was ok, if it''s close to a meal time, or about allergies.
 

So_In_Love

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I was born in Eastern Europe, and its customary for us to feed everybody who comes to our house. In fact, nearly the first question you ask when someone walks in the door is "do you want something to eat"? and it would be quite rude for the guest to refuse.

When we were children, we would eat at each other''s house all the time; not just snacks, but seat down meals. It wouldnt be a large group of friends or anything, just my best friend and I. One day it would be her house, the other day it would be my house (of course, we never kept track) so (hopefully!) it wasnt a burden for our families.
 

tsavvy

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Interesting range of responses
We have a 13-year old son (my step son, but he''s with us most of the time and always during the school week). When he was younger (2nd/3rd grade), his playtimes were more scheduled as we didn''t live in an area with tons of kids so feeding other people''s kids was never an issue as they were always invited over for a specific time period. However, I moved when he was in the 5th grade and, when he and DH (then FI) were at my place, his friends began showing up more spontaneously and, in turn, he would go wander the neighborhood to see who was home and wanted to play -- it is a very safe area.

I''m glad to provide snacks to him and his friends, or give them a small amount of cash for snacks at the neighborhood market. At meal times, if there is just one child over they are almost always welcome to eat with us. If there are multiple kids over, I''ll let them know when we (without them) plan to have dinner and that they are welcome to return when we are finished eating. Our son may only play with his friends after dinner if all of his homework is finished. DH and I both work from home, so during the summer I noticed that there was one kid with working parents who was regularly at our house at lunchtime -- I just began figuring him into our meal plans :) Eventually, our son will get to the age where it isn''t cool to hang out with us (I''ve seen a glimmer of this from time to time) -- DH and I both want to encourage the kids to play at our house on a regular basis so that: 1) we know our son''s friends, and 2) we know what the kids are up to
Also, our son is the kid who does not hesitate to invite himself to eat or spend the night at his friend''s homes -- I figure it is only fair that we reciprocate!
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 1/24/2010 8:42:23 PM
Author: phoenixgirl
I''ll have to think more about this issue as Claire gets older, I''m sure. But for now I wanted to add my own version of this story -- in elementary school, my friend used to come over on Yom Kippur when she was supposed to be fasting and eat our food (we are not Jewish). From my memory, we just helped ourselves to snacks; we didn''t have my mom get them for us.

It''s a whole different moral dilemma if the child is supposed to observing a religious holiday and fasting. But I don''t think I was supposed to be aware of that as a fellow child!
lol about the fasting child eating!!!


Thanks everyone. You gave me a lot to think about, mainly the allergies. With scheduled playdates, that topic always comes up, but when kids simply end up in our back yard, it''s a bit more challenging.

One day last summer I was pulling weeds in my front yard when a group of kids showed up. All of the kids except for one went to the back. The girl who didn''t, plopped down next to me and informed me that she was hungry. I did give her one thing and told her that was it. Maybe I''m stingy? lol None of the other families give my kids snacks. No reciprocation except for Otter Pops.
 

Mrs Mitchell

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LOL, maybe I sounded really mean in my last post.

To clarify, for me, it wouldn't be about stinginess at all - happy to feed kids, I like them and I like to feed people generally. And pre-arranged or kids I knew well (and knew what they could eat) would be no problem.

What would worry me is the child I don't know well, whose parents I don't know, wanting food. Allergies, religious observation, parental preferences etc. Children can bend reality to suit their needs in a situation - "no, I don't have allergies, pecan pie is something mommy likes me to eat..." and so on.


ETA, I wouldn't like people to give food to my child, unless prearranged or someone who knows us well.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 1/25/2010 3:15:38 PM
Author: Mrs Mitchell
LOL, maybe I sounded really mean in my last post.
You didn''t sound mean at all and I didn''t take it that way! lol I was just thinking that I kind of don''t want to be stuck feeding 7 or 8 kids at once and I''m not sure if I''m stingy or possibly don''t want to be the one the kids expect to feed them.

And, I''m one of those moms that the kids like. It''s not like I''m glaring at them through the kitchen window thinking of ways to scare them away from my pantry! lol It so depends on the situation and I *REALLY* prefer to have playdates arranged because with the ages my kids are at, they do need supervision, and having kids just show up obligates me to babysit them. Having a kid from 1-3 or whatever designates my responsibility over the child.
 

canuk-gal

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HI:

Always fed the kids--asked if they had allergies first, of course..... My sister is always feeding the masses she tells me; I know she is a great cook and her place is "popular" for that reason....

cheers--Sharon
 

rhbgirl24

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I made sure I always ate at home during my teenage years. I always thought it was rude to assume your friends parents would feed you. lol

However when my sisters were teenagers (middle sister is 8 years older than me) I swear my mom fed the whole town! There was always someone there and they were always eating. I dont think my mom minded too much though.
 

House Cat

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I feed them.

When they get older, you WANT your house to be the place they come to. It's the best way to keep your eye on them.
It's also the best way to get to know who your kids are spending their time with.


My dad did this with my youngest brother. The house was set up for quite a bit of fun, swimming pool, basketball court, ping pong room, video games, and a ton of snacks. Guess where all of the neighborhood boys were? Guess who knew the neighborhood boys inside and out?

I'm not suggesting that you turn your home into a playhouse. I certainly don't. But I do make sure my home is comfortable for the teens. I want to know these kids. I feel it's part of being an involved parent.
 

MichelleCarmen

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Date: 1/26/2010 10:55:09 AM
Author: House Cat
I feed them.

When they get older, you WANT your house to be the place they come to. It''s the best way to keep your eye on them.
It''s also the best way to get to know who your kids are spending their time with.


My dad did this with my youngest brother. The house was set up for quite a bit of fun, swimming pool, basketball court, ping pong room, video games, and a ton of snacks. Guess where all of the neighborhood boys were? Guess who knew the neighborhood boys inside and out?

I''m not suggesting that you turn your home into a playhouse. I certainly don''t. But I do make sure my home is comfortable for the teens. I want to know these kids. I feel it''s part of being an involved parent.
Thanks for your input, House Cat and I see the logic behind your post.

Guess I should renew my Costco card! lol We live in an area where teens are constantly walking around. I would be nice to know what my kids are up to. Their friends seem nice. When the boys have playdates, since their rooms are next to my computer room, I just sit in here and play online and can hear their conversations! lol

I''ll be a SAHM till the boys go off to college and hopefully that permits me to have a good idea of what all is going on! I think teens need just as much afterschool parental attention as younger kids do.
 

mrssalvo

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i always feed any kids that our at our house snacks and agree with who ever said that I want my house to be the house kids come and play at. I want them here when their teenagers so I''m starting process now.

MC-if you''re getting 7-8 kids there at a time, maybe stock up on some inexpensive snacks for those occasions. Popcorn and Kool-aid, granola bars or things along that line.
 
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