How Do You Reward Your Kids?

I read a great blog last week on Weighty Matters by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. It was about non-junk food rewards for teachers. Since last week’s blog was about candy given out at the Christmas parade, why not keep the topic going by talking about candy given out as rewards.

Now, I don’t hate candy (between you and me, my daughter’s Halloween stash seems to be disappearing…even though she hasn’t been eating very much), but I don’t like how much my child gets at community activities, events and school. Another way candy is used too often, is as a reward.

Do you use candy as a reward…at home or at school? When I say reward, I mean giving candy or a treat for things such as cleaning up, going potty, completing routine tasks, achieving academic accomplishments or showing good behavior. I believe when this is done, intentions are well-meaning. But it teaches kids that instead of enjoying food for its nourishment, they should expect it as a reward for doing everything, big or small.

If you like using the reward system for acknowledging good behavior, grades and chores, try looking for non-food rewards. Dr. Freedhoff gave a great list for teachers to use at school:

1. An extra period of recess;
2. An in-class dance party;
3. Dress up (or down) days (PJs, costumes, fancy clothes, whatever);
4. Class put in charge of school PA system for the day;
5. Painting a hallway or classroom mural;
6. Stickers or temporary tattoos;
7. Sit wherever you want for a period (teacher’s chair, floor, under desk);
8. Get out of one night of homework free card;
9. Phone a kid’s parents to tell them how terrific their kid is; or
10. Scrabble/boggle/other sort of educational game competition/hour.

I thought I would add to this list, and although you could use some of the above ideas at home, here are some more:

1. Choose the movie for a movie night at home;
2. Go to the movies;
3. Go to a local bookstore and choose a new book;
4. Have a friend sleepover;
5. Pick the game for family game night;
6. Pick the music during a long drive;
7. Plan an activity for the weekend;
8. Special time spent alone with mom or dad;
9. Stay up later on the weekend; or
10. (If they’re willing, depending on age) Extra cuddle time.

However you decide to encourage good behavior, try to do it without food. Leave the food for those great family dinners together!

If you have any nutrition topics you would like me to write about or have a question you would like answered, email me at [email protected]. I would really like to hear from you!