Some parents teach their kids self-control. Other parents watch their kids like a hawk. Some children are sweet little never-do-naughtiness angels. I have succeeded at none of the above.
I have attempted to teach my kids not to steal and not to open the refrigerator but the catch-22 of having kids so close in age as mine, is that sometimes they are semi-friendly playmates but other times they are partners in crime. My two boys often end up being partners in crime at a disproportionate rate in comparison to their semi-friendly playmate moments. Oh, it is noteworthy to mention that they are both quite capable of getting into mischief single-handedly as well. They don't need a partner to come up with a plan which is why their collaborative efforts are so devious. At least, that is my speculation.
When my oldest discovered opening doors, I bought locks. When the boys figured out how to unlock those "child-proof" locks...we endured many messes. The worst food-related messes of all time have been a toss up between ketchup smeared all over our couch and Hershey's syrup poured all over their toy kitchen and dripping all over the carpet. Our abused couch was discarded when we made our last move. The toy kitchen took a shower and drip dried on the porch. I'm going to come out with it and say that the chocolate syrup mess probably makes it to the worst mess of all time for us since we are renters and the syrup will NOT come out of the carpet even with the use of gag-inducing, heavy-duty carpet cleaning chemicals.
Out of sheer desperation to save my sanity (and our food supply...and our belongings/home), I was at the grocery store and decided to buy a package of twine rope and a padlock. Thus far, this system has worked quite nicely. Its not the most convenient for instances such as when you need a drink in the middle of the night, but it has prevented the two monkeys by the names of Sean and Logan from reeking havoc on our home...at least when it comes to food-related messes.
When they are older and hopefully more capable of controlling themselves, I plan to set down some ground rules and allow them more freedom with choosing and preparing their own snacks. However, right now, they have not displayed the ability to make wise food choices or to practice portion control (yes, apples and baby carrots are healthy but I can't afford to feed them at the rate of two apples EACH a day...). Practical parenting is where you do what is necessary, not what your own mother did or what your friend does or what is common practice even. It means, be practical with yourself about what you can do and what does work. If you can't watch your kids every second of the day and they tend to leap into action to help themselves to food the instant you step foot into the bathroom (or onto the computer or into the laundry room...anywhere where I can't see them), then attempt a new approach. My approach = prevention. All our food (the ONLY exception is my spices - for now...) is locked away to prevent it from becoming a wasteful entertainment toy. And, if you are one of those people with the sweet angel child that never gets into trouble... be very thankful and don't rub it in! ☺