I’ve been bothered a great deal recently by the perpetual encouragement of poor eating habits we are teaching our kids.
It started at Sunday school, when as a 3 yr old my darling daughter was rewarded for memorizing her bible verse with a couple of skittles. Not a big deal, right? Or is it?
Eating is necessary for life, right. WRONG! Nutrition is essential for life and eating doesn’t necessarily provide nutrition in our day and age.
Fast forward to Kindergarten… Again with the skittles, and now we add:
- store bought junk food for birthdays (approximately 15 days of the school year)
- again with the skittles for answering a question correctly
- junk food for making certain benchmarks throughout the school year
- a principle’s party complete with empty calorie foods
- one field day with junk food as a treat
- popsicles for reaching classroom benchmarks. (artificially flavored water with sugar)
With an obesity rate of 1 out of 3 students and adult obesity rapidly rising, shouldn’t we be able to find healthier ways to celebrate the little victories.
Then when the kids get home and have had an unusually bad day, many parents suggest they talk it out over Tostito pizza rolls or a bowl of ice cream.
Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to be a party pooper, but I really feel we are failing out kids through our constant reward/consoling system of using food.
Add to this the fact that many schools don’t have time to offer physical education on a regular basis, the fact that elementary recess time is a thing of the past, and our children must "be in their seats" for so many hours a day… No wonder we have kids who are squirmy, over excitable, and overweight.
What if… Instead of offering junk food to the kids who have excelled, we instead offer the opportunity to play a game, have time on the playground, time to mingle and talk to each other in an open atmosphere? Or we offered stickers, tickets to events sponsored by local businesses, or enter them into special raffles.
What if birthday parties consisted of fruit salad with homemade whipped cream instead of store bought nautical crackers or cupcakes and ice cream.
What if we taught our kids solid coping mechanisms and healthful celebration habits?
When I was a child, we had PE three times a week and recess twice a day. We had time to run and throw balls and hool-a- hoop. We had crab races, played dodge ball and kickball.
A special treat at school, during my youth, was an all school assembly where we got to watch Looney Toons cartoons and sit next to our friends. We didn’t have to have popcorn covered in artificial flavors, Kool-aid, or Popsicles. We just watched a movie and enjoyed laughing at the silliness.
In a world of advertising where our kids are bombarded with adds about why "quick" processed foods are "the way to go" shouldn’t we be cognizant of the habits we are instilling?
In a world where the bottom line is so important in the classroom, why not skip the expensive,"cheap" empty calories and instead provide our kids with some stimulation and free time. 🙂
For information on healthier options for snack time, recipes, or classes, please feel free to contact me.