Archive for February, 2010

Rewarding with Food

Food is so ubiquitous in our culture, rarely is there a gathering of people where food is not offered, either for free or sold.  Because of this we must be mindful in how and when we offer food, especially fun foods.  We don’t want to turn fun foods into coveted foods.  Healthy eaters eat fun foods, but eat healthy foods most of the time.  Fun foods can become coveted foods when they are offered too infrequently or are used as a reward.

My son played well at his soccer game and his coach said, go out for an ice cream cone.  And we easily could have, it was a warm day, about snack time, and we were in no hurry to get home.  So do I reward th good playing?  Yes, absolutely.  I told my son he should be proud of himself for playing well throughout the game.  I told him I was impressed to see how he kept after the ball,  attempting to score 3 different times as he and the goalie struggled over possession of the ball.  I told about seeing him passing to his team mates and playing his position.  I told him I heard him calling out to his other team mates.  This is one very valuable way to reward your child, without food.  Let them know you saw and heard what they did by retelling the story.  Let them know why they should be proud of themselves for these actions.

Now, you could also go out for ice cream, or not.  But be mindful.  If you only go out for ice cream as a reward for impressive, or unusually good behavior you are using food as an incentive or reward.  If you go out for ice cream, or offer any other fun food, as part of other activities, then the food is not seen as a reward.  Then fun food is just that, food we eat for fun on some occasions, but not necessarily special occasions.