Mom Installs In-Home Vending Machine To Stop Her 4 Kids from Snacking 24/7

Sarah Balsdon

Sarah Balsdon
Sarah Balsdon

If there's one thing we're all struggling with while being home all the time, it's making sure our kids are keeping healthy. Mom Sarah Balsdon of Northumberland in the UK started to worry when she noticed her kids were snacking more than usual. So she came up with a creative plan to keep their snacking at bay: an in-home vending machine. 

  • Balsdon tells CafeMom that because of social distancing and homeschooling, she noticed her kids were asking for candies more than usual.

    Sarah Balsdon
    Sarah Balsdon

    And can we really blame them? A global global health crisis is stressful! But Balsdon didn't want her kids; Shannon, 9, Lucy, 8, Jack, 5, and Elijah, 2, to develop unhealthy habits.

    "They also started sneaking them upstairs without me knowing," she says.

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  • She tried packing them lunches for the day "and once it was gone, it was gone." 

    Sarah Balsdon
    Sarah Balsdon

    But unfortunately the trick didn't work. Her kids still managed to sneak the sweets. 

  • So she came up with a brilliant idea.

    Sarah Balsdon
    Sarah Balsdon

    Balsdon tells us that the idea came to her randomly, but once she thought of it she knew it was great: a vending machine.

    Of course, most of us have never seen a vending machine outside of a public space, so where in the world did she find one? 

    It was actually pretty easy, "got it from Facebook Marketplace," she says. And then she went out and loaded it up with her family's favorite snacks.

  • All of the snacks were priced low, but still her kids would have to pay to get to them.

    Sarah Balsdon
    Sarah Balsdon

    And so far, the trick is working "really well."

  • But things went to a whole new level after Balsdon shared a photo of her hack online.

    Balsdon says she didn't plan for her post to go viral, but of course it was such a crazy-smart idea that hundreds of people started to pass it around.

    "Let's see if they can sneak sweets and treats now!" she wrote in the post on May 24. "So sick of the arguments about unhealthy snacks (esp with lockdown) so I have bought a vending machine!"

    And it was a good way to get her kids to help out around the house.

    "If they want sweets they can do things (chores, school work etc) to earn money for them," she added.

  • Balsdon says the reaction has mostly been positive.

    Sarah Balsdon
    Sarah Balsdon

    She says that people also really latched onto the idea that she was teaching her kids about working hard.

    "I think people are understanding that the kids are learning about money," she says. And now they have to "work for things, which was a big part of it too."

    So while quarantine is for sure stressful, Balsdon wants parents to keep one thing in mind:

    "There are always fun ways to keep control of parenting during challenging times like lockdown," she says. 

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