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What age do children understand to ask before eating an item?

(3 Posts)

This came up in a conversation today, DD is 2.3yr and she knows she eats different food sometimes and drinks different milk to others. DD is intolerant to dairy and soya, they make her sick and trigger eczema, but nothing life threatening.

However when we eat at friends house their children often try to share their food and so we ensure they always all eat in front of us, it seems a bit mean and so I just wonder when your children started to understand that they have to check with an adult before they eat something which they haven't been given directly.

Thank you

greenbananas Wed 17-Oct-12 08:30:00

DS did understand this at 2.3 years old - but his allergies are life-threatening so we did lay it on pretty thick!

However, I didn't actually trust DS to make this sort of decision for himself at that age - and I still don't completely trust him even though he is now 4 years old and has always been really good about this (e.g. he refuses all food offered to him by anybody else, even trusted adults, says "I have allergies" and then fetches me or DH to check ingredients for him). Even a small amount of an allergen could result in a major reaction, and it's too much responsibility for a very small child to take completely on himself, so although I do let him deal with it himself as far as possible and praise him lots for being sensible, I still also keep a very close eye on him, and I probably will for a long time yet.

freefrommum Wed 17-Oct-12 09:01:42

Ditto what greenbananas said. My DS also has life threatening allergies so we have always laid it on pretty thick about not accepting food from anyone else without checking with mummy/daddy first. He's now 5 and very aware of his allergies but thankfully not anxious about them. It's a very difficult balance, trying to make sure they understand how important it is without scaring them so much they end up constantly anxious & terrified of food. I think it's important to also explain it to your child's friends and their parents as much as possible too so that they begin to understand that they can't share food and why it's important. I do still keep a close eye on my DS, even though he's very careful, because in the end he's still a child and it only takes one mistake.

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