When we decided to take on the Real Food challenge, I had a frank discussion with both kids about how we were no longer having a “treat” after dinner every night. I was convinced that it wasn’t going to go well, especially in the case of my six and a half year old (who is obsessed with treats!).
In fact, he was a large impetus for us taking on the Real Food challenge; somewhere along the way he started fixating on a “treat” for eating a good dinner or lunch. I never restricted sweets, because I have seen what happens when you never allow them. I had this vision of my child going to a friend’s house and gorging himself on candy!
He would always ask: “Did I eat enough for a treat?” This would start about five minutes into dinner by the way. So I was pleasantly surprised when I sat him down and explained that we would be having treats only on Fridays from now on. After dinner on other days, he could have a “healthy treat.” I took a lot of care in selling the healthy treats and presenting them in an appealing fashion.
Guess what? It totally worked! The six-year-old wailed for a few minutes about the decision, but then he accepted it and moved on in the true fashion of a boy– no grudge held. Now one of the favorite healthy “treats” is plain yogurt with their choice of fruit, homemade granola, and a drizzle of honey. Check out tomorrow’s post to see what they look like! 🙂
If you would also like to stop using treats as rewards, here are some suggestions for non-treat rewards:
- Make a coupon book to give to your child with non-treat rewards like a movie date, sporting event, etc. Kids LOVE coupon books (my son got one from his kindergarten teacher last year, and it was all he talked about!). You can click HERE for a free printable booklet template.
- 1/2 Hour Extra Time Before Bed— This one can work wonders– for the small sacrifice of an extra half hour, your child will probably do whatever you ask! 😉
- Favorite Dinner— This one is fun if your child has a go-to dinner meal that they always love. Allowing them to make the meal choice is empowering for them and something fun for most ages!
- Extra computer/tablet time— This one isn’t my personal favorite, but I know it motivates A LOT of kids!
- Box of Magic or Mystery— My first grader’s teacher does this, and the kids are beside themselves for a chance at the box of mystery. He stocks the box with small non-sweet treats like pencils, stickers, key chains, etc. as prizes for the kids. They earn tickets they can redeem towards a pull from the box of mystery.
Do you use sweet treats as rewards? If not, what do you like to use as a reward item for your kids?