Almost all families use rewards to encourage good choices and behaviors. Food is an easy and motivating option for children, but can also create bad habits down the road.
When kids get food as a reward, they stop thinking of food as fuel for their body and more in terms of good and bad behavior. Kids start expecting food when they've done something well, which leads to poor nutrition, eating when not hungry, or emotional eating. Food rewards can also teach kids to treasure certain foods over others, such as candy over fruit and vegetables.
Non-food rewards are a great way for parents to help their child create a healthy relationship with food. Be creative in finding different ways to reward your child. Here are some helpful and cheap ideas:
- Playdates with friends
- Special time with parents and family
- Sitting at a special spot at the dinner table
- Special outing
Using non-food rewards is also important at school. Ask your child's teacher how they use non-food rewards!