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FOOD AS A REWARD? Good or Bad idea?



Parenthood is a wild field and we sometimes do what we can to

cope. How many of us went down that road of giving snacks or sweets to our kids to reward them for their good behaviour, their efforts, their achievements etc.? Raise your hand! A lot of us of

course. Why that? Because first we still associate kids with sweets

and also giving them something to eat is cheaper than buying them a gift every time, they’ve done something great. It doesn’t seem to be something that would harm anybody, right?


The thing is, it does harm them in different ways: not only they learn

not to listen to their body cues so it interferes with kids natural ability to regulate their eating. It also encourages them to eat when they're not hungry to reward themselves. Plus, you’ll have to manage their tantrums or melt down when the sugar effect fades away, which does not help us as parents. What does that mean for their future? It means that we are giving

them the habit of eating even when they are not actually

hungry. Our bodies are magnificent engine and give us signs

when they need food. On the long run, they could probably

become the type of adult that “eat their feelings” as a

consolation prize or a soothing unhealthy habit instead of

dealing with their feelings and face those.


In clear, we are not helping them. We believe we’re doing

something nice but we are not. In fact, like I always say to my

clients is this: “The best reward you can give a child is spending

time with you.” That what they enjoy the most, more time with

their parents/careers. A moment where they have our full

attention and we are not being distracted by anything, just for

the joy to be with them.” It includes reading extra stories, a

singing session or playing instruments session, playing at the

park, playing boardgames, drawing or painting together, making

funny faces in front of the mirror, looking at old photos etc.

There are thousands and thousands of ways to have a nice

time together as a family and creating healthy habits. It’s not

because we were raised a certain way that we have to repeat

the same patterns with our kids, we can actually break the

cycle.

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