Why Are Children So Naughty

By: Christine Hersom

(3 min. read)

I have operated an in-home daycare for decades and have noticed a change in the children’s behavior. I was talking with Lisa, who is one of the parents. When the kids arrive, they are great, but within the next hour or two, they become whiny, naughty, and cranky.

She is an occupational therapist, and she said, “They are getting ‘hangry’ as the morning goes on.” She has been following a healthy eating and living plan herself. As a result, she has lost over fifty pounds and feels more alive. It decreased her brain fog and her responses to environmental stress.

She pointed out that stable blood sugar can solve many problems in both children and adults. That made sense to me.  When I eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of three larger meals, I feel less full, and it decreases hunger pangs throughout the day. When I have starvation feelings, I want to snack. When I say snack, I do not mean carrot sticks. I start to crave sugar, chips, dip…

According to the Barbados Diabetes Foundation, “Controlling our blood sugar all day has many benefits other than decreasing our risk of complications to our health in the long run. The benefits to our everyday life include:

– Less hunger and fewer cravings

– Well-balanced hormones

– More stable mood and energy

– Better body composition

– Fewer sleep disturbances

– Less risk of disease.”

At some point in our youth, we convert from small meals eaten every two to four hours to three larger meals daily. Some people eat only twice a day. Why does that happen? Why does our eating pattern shift as we age?  If babies are happier and healthier eating every two to four hours, why aren’t we following suit as adults?

In nature, animals, regardless of age, eat when they are hungry. However, they do not follow a meal clock for the day. Where did the clock come from, and why has it been created? Was it to align with school and work schedules?

People have often advised me to eat smaller meals four to five times daily. I have followed their suggestions several times, but soon the family meal time clock takes over, and I am back to the three regular meals.

I was providing the kids with two snacks and three main meals. Could switching up their eating schedule be such a quick and simple fix?

For the last month, I have been experimenting. I now feed the children every few hours. When they arrive, they eat breakfast. Then, they eat a healthy snack within two to two and a half hours. I continue this eating schedule throughout the day. They receive the last “meal” in the late afternoon to hold them over until they have dinner at home.

The schedule change has significantly improved the children’s behavior and attitudes. There is less whining, crankiness, and naughty behavior. If I have noticed I am less cranky, have more energy, sleep better, and don’t crave sweets, how did I miss it with the children? I have been in this business for over twenty years. I am an intelligent person. Yet, I dropped the ball with this one.

I am curious. What caused us to switch from eating when we are hungry to eating three meals per day? I grew up on a dairy farm. We started our day before sunrise with a small breakfast. When chores were done, we had a large breakfast. At school, we had two snacks and lunch. When we arrived home from school, we had a snack, did chores again, and then had dinner. Before we went to bed, we had another snack. We were all happy, well-behaved children.

Have we become so busy that we aren’t making time to eat? Again, I’ll ask…why did we change how we fed our babies to the schedule we keep as adults?


Christine Marshall Hersom
All Things Wellness, LLC

The information provided is the author’s opinion and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. The author and the business, All Things Wellness, LLC, and its owner Peggy Willms are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this website. We assume no responsibility for tangible and intangible damages such as physical harm caused by using a product, loss of profits or loss of data, and defamatory comments.