Do you remember the last time you bribed your child with something Unhealthy? If it was yesterday or even last week, that’s a sign you need to stop with immediate effect!
Using food as a means to get your child to comply with your demands, is unacceptable! However, it might take us a bit of time and effort to break this, a tradition that has firmly ingrained itself in the minds of parents over the ages. All of us remember times when our parents might have given us those occasional ‘treats’ for being good. While they might indeed have been well-intentioned, there are many drawbacks to that ‘treating’ process.
In this article you will find how to stop using food as a reward, where it comes to bribing kids to get them to do the things we want. Ready to find out why those ‘special nibbles’ are not the perfect reward for your kids, and replace them with better alternatives? Let’s begin, with a look at the perils of Using Food as a Reward!
Using Food as a Reward: The Perils of Bribing Children With Food
There are very real dangers of bribing children, with foods that we really don’t want to be giving them in the first place!
- Emotional Eating
- The ‘Forbidden Fruit’ Effect
- It gets them to eat when they are not full
- They will steer away from New Foods
- An Overall-Unhealthy Diet
- It is by and large a Short-sighted Approach
Children who are constantly ‘bribed’ by their parents with things like Sodas and Chips, to do things they would otherwise not, run the real risk of Emotional Eating! This is because, eating foods like these releases Dopamine in their brains. Dopamine is a ‘feel-good’ chemical that wrongly gets your child to associate that ‘reward’ with ‘pleasure.’ Later on, your child is going to be prone to reaching out for foods of this kind, at times when they are feeling anxious or frustrated. All in all, it creates a most ‘unhealthy’ relationship with food, that you wish to avoid at all costs.
If you are constantly rewarding your kids with chocolate, they will come to believe that Chocolate is one of the most ‘important’ foods out there. Since they are only prone to getting it as a ‘reward’, they will start wanting it all the more, especially because it is ‘restricted.’
Note: The downside here is, that the foods that they really need to eat, like leafy greens and fruits, lose all sense of appeal for them. For instance, if you tell them that if they eat broccoli they will be able to have dessert, that makes broccoli all the more ‘boring’ for them.
Overeating is one of the worst things for all human beings, especially children. When they regularly eat more than they need, they are only setting themselves up for becoming obese. In all probability, those ‘treats’ are going to find their way to them when they are ‘already full.’
If you have been regularly bribing your kids with the wrong food, you’re not going to have much luck introducing healthy foods like ‘kale’ and ‘edamame’ in their diets!
Needless to say, consistently rewarding children with food will only ensure that their daily diet sees more and more of those unhealthy ‘treats’ being incorporated into it.
Exactly how long do you think you are going to be able to ‘bribe’ your way into your child’s life? In due course of time, they will grow up and start making eating choices of their own. Moreover, if you have gotten them accustomed to eating the wrong foods, it’s highly likely that this unhealthy diet will persist well into their future years.
Alternatives to Bribing Kids with Unhealthy Food
It’s clear by now, that Bribing Kids with the ‘wrong’ food, is not the solution. Instead, try the following alternatives.
- Allow them to have their friends over for a play date!
- Buying them the latest Craft Supplies
- Take them to the bookstore and spend money on some great reads
While you’d rather prefer your child going to their friend’s houses for playdates, sometimes hosting that playdate might be a great (and healthy) incentive.
Adults might like things like the latest ‘cars’, but kids are a lot simpler. Get them some of those cool craft supplies they have been craving for long.
Bonus: This will go a long way in boosting their Creativity, too!
Money spent on books, is never money wasted! If you encourage their love for learning early on, it will go a long way in not only sharpening their language skills, but fostering in them a lifelong sense of Wonder.
Note: It is important to not ‘bribe’ a child with ‘anything’ at all. Do not tell your children that they will be able to partake of the treats enlisted above, ‘only if’ they comply with your demands. Instead, the next time you find your little one on their best behaviour, you want to surprise them with the likes of the ‘healthy treats’ mentioned above.
Teaching Kids Healthy Eating Habits
When you stop bribing kids with the wrong food, you come to place a great amount of value, on the ‘right type’ of food. Here’s ways to help your kids eat better.
- Teach them about Healthy Foods!
- Give them Healthy Snacks over the course of the day
- Limit their eating Dessert
How will children know how important eating the right food is, unless you tell them all about it?
Part of the reason children eat the wrong food, is because they deprive themselves of food for long hours. Giving them healthy snacks like nuts and yoghurt over the course of the day, will help curb those ‘junk food’ cravings.
If you are giving children dessert every day as a reward, you are getting them to believe that it is the best possible food out there. Limiting their eating dessert to once or twice a week, will ensure those ‘sweet’ cravings are minimized.
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