Some parents and teachers use food to reward for ‘good’ behaviour. Unfortunately these rewards are often lollies or chocolate. Sweet foods are inexpensive, readily accessible - and children like them, but they are not good nutrition.
Giving children sweet treats in the classroom:
- undermines the school’s nutrition education programme
- encourages children to eat high fat or sugary foods
- teaches children to eat when they are not hungry.
No-cost rewards include:
- reading outdoors
- sitting with friends
- having extra free time
- having extra art activities
- playing educational computer games
- playing games or puzzles
- being “helpers”
- watching educational videos
- spending time in another classroom
- Low-cost rewards include:
- stickers, pencils or rubbers
- sets of flash cards, puzzles, or mazes, (printed off from the computer)
- earning points towards a larger prize such as a book, video store or movie voucher
- picking a lucky dip prize
- receiving a mystery pack prize
What you can do
- Speak to teachers about using rewards that do not compromise your child’s health.
- Give the above lists to the teacher.
- Write to the school principal urging the school to put a healthy rewards policy in place.