Cereal Without Milk

Updated on February 24, 2012
K.B. asks from Detroit, MI
20 answers

Just curious - how many of you have your kids eat cereal with milk in the bowl, and how many just let your kids eat it straight?

I grew up with the habit of always having milk in my bowl of cereal - there just wasn't any other option, it was how my mom fixed it for us before we could do it on our own. My stepsons, on the other hand, grew up with the habit of eating it dry - they would just pour it into a bowl and eat with their fingers, no milk and no spoon. It started because they would get up early and want to watch TV until we got up and they were capable of helpng themselves to the cereal but not pouring the milk in (they were 5 and 6). Later they took to snacking straight out of the box. They had their own cereal so it wasn't like they were sticking their hands and fingers into what I was eating, but I have to admit, I really hated it - it just grossed me out. However, it was what their mother allowed at her home (where they primarily lived) and Dad figured when they were at our house he didn't want to make waves (he would tell them to at least pour it into a bowl though). And I figured it wasn't worth making a big deal about.

Fast-forward 10 years and now I have my daughter. And when I gave her cereal, I always put milk in it, but then Dad just lets her eat it dry from a bowl, so now she's decided she doesn't like milk in her cereal either. She is 4, and she drinks plenty of milk otherwise, but she tells me she just doesn't like milk in her cereal. As I type this, I realize that the whole thing is really quite silly and not a hill worth dying on, but it still makes me a little nutty that she insists on eating it dry and this was something my stepsons did that in my mind was going to be different when I had kids of my own. I realize that I set the rules, and I could very well just make the rule that cereal is eaten with milk, period. But again, I know you have to pick and choose your battles and this, to me, is just not a battle worth fighting. It's not a matter of life or death, and it's not about instilling good morals or healthy habits or respect for authority. I try not to have too many rules, honestly, but I must admit, the whole eating-cereal-wihout-milk irks me.

So JFF - is there anything you insist on that probably isn't really that big a deal, but you just have to enforce for yourself? Things that you thought were important that you've decided to let go because it wasn't worth fighting over? I've given up on the milk-in-the-cereal, but I still won't allow socks with sandals. Either you wear socks with your sneakers, or you wear the sandals without socks. :)

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So What Happened?

@S.B. - I hate that too! And I hate when game pieces and puzzle pieces get scattered or get lost all over! But then you can't play the game or do the puzzle correctly! Just anal I guess! :)
@Czechma - YES! I can't wear my Crocs outside our house either. And I hate the whole wearing-pajamas-out-in-public thing too. The only way I would be in sweats or pajamas outside the house would be if was 3 a.m. and I am in the ER.
@Charliesmom - Yes, I hate the TV in the dark thing too...I always insist on there at least being a small lamp on if not the overhead lights. My daughter has her ceiling light in her bedroom as well as a little table lamp and I like having just the table lamp on for reading bedtime stories just so it's a little darker in her room and and helps get her more settled down for sleep. DD, for whatever reason, wants both lights on - and I just have to tell her no. :)

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answers from Dallas on

On the rare occasion I can get them to eat it, my kids don't like milk in their cereal either. And although I don't say anything, it drives me batty too!

The other one that drives me insane, but I don't fight because it's definitely NOT worth it, is mixing play dough colors. I just have to look away. ;)

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answers from Milwaukee on

My son only eats cereal dry. He won't even consider milk and cereal together.

I used to snack on dry cereal at work. My co-workers thought it was weird until I lost 50 pounds. MUCH better than the stuff out of the vending machines.

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answers from Washington DC on

My DD is not a big milk drinker. Ever since she was tiny, I've made "mixed up cereal" in a snack cup, bowl or baggie and she has her cereal without milk.

I would also ask myself WHY it made me nutty because sometimes addressing the underlying feelings makes it easier to really let go vs turn a blind eye.

I would only insist that your DD pour it into a container vs eating out of the box. Beyond that, I feel like it doesn't matter if my DD drinks from a cup or bowl and at least she's not wasting milk she doesn't drink from the bottom of the bowl like Bro and Sis (*my* peeve).

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answers from Houston on

For me it depends on whether it's a snack or a meal. As I've gotten older, I tend to always eat it with milk, but when I was younger, I'd snack on it A LOT without milk.

My daughter gets it without milk, mainly because I think she'd make a huge mess if there was anything liquid in her bowl. Though, I supposed I could pour a tiny bit in to her her used to it. We normally put it in a baggie and let her carry it around in the mornings or as a snack in the afternoons.

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answers from Atlanta on

I hated milk on my cereal when I was a kid -still not a big fan today. I think, if it's not dangerous or hurting anyone, kids should be free to make up their own minds about stuff like this. I will offer my input -but if they like it -hey -they aren't me! I hate oatmeal, yogurt and raisins -but my kids love them. I don't think most clothing and food choices are worth a big to-do.

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answers from Kansas City on

My 5 year old goes through phases. Sometimes he want's milk, other time's he doesn't. That doesn't bother me so much.

However, when my step children insist on watching tv in the dark, it drives me NUTS! I made a house rule that if there is a television on, there is a lamp on, but I only manage to enforce it with my son and myself. Hubby doesn't think it's that big a deal, but he will enforce it with the older children if I ask him to. I find it funny that as soon as I go to bed, all the lights in the house go off, except for the tv's. SMH

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answers from Kansas City on

totally agree with SB! the play dough thing drives my husband CRAZY - he feels like our son isn't "taking care of his things" - he's even threatened to take it away - i let go of that battle long ago. (it makes me cringe too - but i have to remind myself those little cans of play dough are a DOLLAR - it'll be okay! lol)

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answers from Cincinnati on

As for the cereal and milk thing... It all depends. There are certain cereals that I do not like to eat with milk. Also, if I am eating the cereal for breakfast, I usually put milk in. However, If I am eating cereal as a snack, I usually eat it dry.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I just let them eat it how they ask for it. Every time they will say with milk or no milk. My daughter has recently started having milk with hers, but it was always dry cereal before that. Good job, that you're picking your battles and have decided this isn't one you wanna fight :)

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answers from Washington DC on

We don't allow sweats in public. So if I ask one of them of they want to go to the store with me, my 16 yo will say, I'm in clothes I can't wear in public, let me put jeans on.
No socks with sandals
Crocs are beachwear, I actually hate the look of crocs. I am wearing a pair right now, but I would never wear them out in public. These are my morning-let the dogs out-get the paper shoes.
Slippers are house-wear
It's OK to eat pancakes for dinner and meatloaf for breakfast.

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answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter eats it both ways. I, however, hate having milk in my cereal. I did as a kid and still do as an adult. Mushy cereal is not cool. :)

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answers from Minneapolis on

My kids hate it when the cereal gets soggy. So I've given up trying to have them put the cereal in the bowl. I give them cereal and then a glass of milk and a spoon. My kids are 7 & nearly 5. I figure as long as they eat it (cereal with a spoon, not fingers and the glass of milk) what does it matter if it's together or not. Not worth it, there are worse things they could do.

LOL on the sandals with socks. I hate that too. My kids love being barefoot, even in winter. They would never dream of putting socks on with sandals.

ETA: Getting dressed even if we're staying home all day. I don't like everyone being in the pjs all day. Even if all we're changing into is sweats/yoga pants and t-shirts. We must get dressed!

As for a fight not worth fighting I think it would have to be clothes. The only thing I enforce is weather appropriate clothing, other than that they get to pick out what they want to wear even if I think it totally clashes.

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answers from New York on

I never progressed to having milk in my cereal. Soggy cereal? Eeeewww. Why would you fight over it? It doesn't benefit them to drown their cereal in milk rather than drink a glass of milk on the side. My 16 year old usually puts milk in her cereal, my 12 year old prefers it crunchy like me. Having cereal without milk in the bowl is no different than preferring your pancakes without syrup. I would never be offended that my kids didn't like something that I did or that I grew up with.

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answers from Champaign on

Both my boys insisted on feeding themselves, even as early as 9 months, so they ate a lot of dry cereal. If they couldn't work the spoon, I needed to find ways for them to eat that did not require a spoon. My oldest loves his with milk now, but my youngest is still working on it.

My 5 year old has really learned how to behave properly at the table (including eating correctly with a spoon), but my 3 year old is still working on it. I figure that's normal for those preschool years. Hey, they have to learn sometime.

My guess is, this is very normal and you're not the only mom who feels this way.

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answers from Dallas on

My 10 year old son and I were just having this debate this morning. He has tried milk in cereal a couple of times and ate it all both times but says that he just would rather have it without milk. He drinks milk while he's eating the dry cereal...I just don't get it but oh well! I guess as long as he is eating it and getting his milk the world won't end! lol.

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answers from Chicago on

I saw your post "Cereal without Milk"
By the way, my sister-in-law hates me forever. She stayed with my brother at our house before they were married. And as my brother happily slurped the rest of his milk out of the bowl she said "I will not have that when I am married, that is disgusting." to which I replied "Brother (okay I am not saying his name here haha) Brother, tell her this is how we were raised and that you like to do that."
They now do not speak to me. Just kidding, They do, but that really happened. And I don't know who won. Afraid to ask.

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answers from Detroit on

If they want to watch tv in the living room while eating their breakfast cereal then they eat it dry, if they want milk in it they MUST sit at the kitchen table.

The one thing I stand my ground on is you MUST wear socks with shoes (sandals aren't shoes) I don't care if you are running to the corner to get your brother from his friend's house, your feet will sweat and your shoes will stink.

As for what drives me crazy but I have decided it isn't worth the fight would be how they play video games. Yes I know I'm weird but if I watch them play my mind is trying to control they character as if I was playing soooooooooo I have learned that I can't watch them play without having a nervous breakdown. While I don't allow pjs in public I do on New Years Eve (though now that my daughter is 10 I no longer make her change into pjs at our friend's party). Pajama days to me are mental health days, though at some point during the day you MUST shower and change your pjs.


answers from Phoenix on

My kids will eat it either way. And if they are eating it dry, they are drinking milk...go figure. And if they haven't finished it and its time for school, I pour the dry cereal they didn't finish out of the bowl and into a zip baggie and they eat it while they walk to school. I've become very good about "not sweating the small stuff" and "picking my battles" so very little bugs me now. =)


answers from Dover on

When I want cereal as breakfast, I use milk. When I just want a snack, I eat it dry. My kids will eat it both ways too. If we have time, my daughter will eat with milk. If she waits and wants to eat on the road, dry it is. What I hate about milk in the cereal is when it gets soggy...YUCK!

Another difference is I grew up with just putting butter on my waffles (no syrup) and I could pick it up and eat it like toast. My husband has to have syrup. I can eat it either way (as can both my kids). We let them have it however they want. I still eat it both ways.



answers from Detroit on

For my son, it all started with a bowl of Cheerios while watching TV... Now it doesn't matter what is in the bowl, there is no milk in it. My family pokes at me about it, but I don't care. That is his choice for eating cereal.

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